Abortion: Arguments For and Against

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 5
Words: 1463
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College


This paper provides arguments of two sides that propose and oppose abortion. Philosophers argue on the topic based on personhood, morality, and motherhood. The opposing side argues that abortion is wrong because it is immoral and makes a woman lose motherhood. On the other hand, the proposing side argues that abortion is a choice and that women should not be victimized for terminating the pregnancy. They also argue that abortion should be allowed because there are circumstances when pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. This paper analyzes fallacy, vague language, and rhetorical devices to identify weaknesses of the arguments.


A global change has made many people worldwide decrease their family sizes. The age at which people want to have a family has also increased, forcing many people to avoid unintended pregnancies. It is noted that approximately one to three individuals are avoiding such pregnancies. Statistics show that the rate of unintended pregnancy has decreased significantly with the increased access to contraceptives and other methods of preventing pregnancies. However, contraceptives do not work well, and some women engage in abortion, which is terminating the pregnancy. Consequently, abortion is not necessarily termination of unintended pregnancy as they are cases where pregnancy is complicated, which may result in loss of life of both the fetus and the mother. The debate has been about whether abortion is right or wrong, with every side coming up with their views.

Proposing Abortion

Certain conditions can force a parent to terminate the pregnancy, such as Down syndrome and cerebral epilepsy. Termination of this pregnancy follows the utilitarian bioethics rule that states that the Reproducers have the right to choose the children they should have. It is expected that the child should be in good condition or in good life form, which will not make the Producer have regrets about the decision made (Nuccetelli, 2017). This justifies the choice of abortion as the individual is responsible for the choice. However, when the pregnancy is not terminated, the outcome will be severe to the individual, family, and society (Nuccetelli, 2017). The utilitarian argument is concerned with pregnancy, resulting in harmful outcomes to the parent, unborn baby, and society. The quality of life is measured, which justifies the parent’s choice not to keep the pregnancy

It is unreasonable to justify abortion as wrong because of the argument that a fetus is a person. The claim is not denied, but abortion is a personal right and choice that one has to be granted (Laborde, 2018). Women have been subjected to various laws that dehumanize them, especially when they need a choice that will enable them to change their lives, such as abortion. Abortion should be an independent choice because they are the ones who have the right to decide their value of life. Laborde (2018) argues that it is unfair for the citizens’ to judge them based on their views, especially when they have reasons to reject them. Grouping the fetus into the same class is not a problem, but they are being subjected to fundamental rights such as the right to life while the other person’s life is being compromised.

The fetus has to take the chances that the mother has taken in fighting without compromising the other person’s life. The point of viability should exist without compromising the woman’s body integrity (Moore, 2019). Having the right to live should not make the other person suffer because of the forced regulation and views created by people and the government (Moore, 2019). This does not mean that the fetus is denied neonatal care, but having the right to live should not guarantee it more favors than others. This has made the world health organization and other non-governmental bodies join hands and fight for women’s rights regarding abortion. These bodies focus on women being given a chance to make their choices.

Opposing Abortion

On the side that argues that abortion is wrong, the debate is centered mainly on the argument of personhood. This is because most philosophers focus on morality regarding the fetus as a person (Hendricks, 2018). Hendricks (2018) used the concept of Fetus Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) to argue that abortion is immoral. The fetus deserves respect the same way an individual has to be respected, irrespective of the position one holds. Philosophers may not have distinguished between a person and a fetus, but they have argued on the fetus having personhood characteristics. The author argues that some women consume alcohol frequently when pregnant despite knowing the fetus may end up having FAS. This condition is immoral as the person knew that this would cause the fetus to have problems in the future that are fetal. Hendricks (2018) believes that abortion is the same as the person who makes a fetus have FAS which makes it wrong. This shows that the two parents are similar in that they cause harm to the fetus.

Mayans and Vaca (2018) use the fetus’s status argument to argue that abortion is wrong. The fetus has properties that are the same as that of a person, and it is unethical to kill a person. The fetus’s features include initial brain activity, human genotype, fair living chance without threat, and intrinsic functioning similar to a person (Mayans & Vaca, 2018). The author also used the paternalistic argument that shows that abortion is immoral and has to be prohibited and avoided. This argument is that abortion impedes a woman from the realization of motherhood. It affects psychological performance, especially their interests and wellbeing. According to Mayans and Vaca (2018), a woman may not have duties to the fetus, but the duties one has are in regard to the fetus. The duties have to be moral as this constitutes the nature of animals. According to Mason (2019), abortion is wrong, and it has never been safe for the mother and the unborn child.

Evaluation of Critical Thinking

The argument of abortion being necessary uses illustration as a rhetorical device to explain how abortion is right and not immoral. Nuccetelli (2017) illustrates how abortion is necessary, especially when the mother knows that the unborn baby will have complications that will affect the mother, the baby, and the community. However, the author’s argument has a bandwagon fallacy as just because abortion might be helpful in some instances, it does not mean that it is right for all situations.

The argument of the fetus not being a person has been illustrated by using a description as the rhetorical device. Moore (2019) argues that the fetus does not have the right to compromise the mother’s life. It is the choice of the mother to decide whether the unborn baby has to stay within her body or not as the fetus will not be denied the neonatal care that it deserves, although the mother has the right of choice. The argument has a bandwagon fallacy as just because many people believe that the fetus does not have personhood, it does not mean that it should be treated as something that uses the mother’s body. The argument has vague language as Moore (2019) argues that the right to life should not guarantee the fetus the opportunity to use the mother’s body.

The side opposing abortion uses illustration to address the issue. Hendricks (2018) argues based on the Fetus Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). The author uses FAS to illustrate how abortion is wrong and immoral by comparing the immorality of a mother who lets the unborn baby get FAS. Hendricks (2018) believes that this parent and the one who abort are both immoral. The argument has a bandwagon fallacy. It bases its assertion on the immorality of a mother who makes the unborn baby get FAS and uses it to conclude abortion is wrong.

The argument “fetus is a person” uses illustration as the rhetoric device. Mayans and Vaca (2018) illustrate how a fetus is a person by mentioning various features of normal human beings. These features include initial brain activity, human genotype, fair living chance without threat, and intrinsic functioning. The argument has a correlational fallacy where the argument correlates the fetus features to that of a person. The paternalistic argument has a straw man fallacy in that it over presents the idea of women being protectors of motherhood.


In conclusion, the arguments on abortion are strong, making it difficult for the two sides to conclude based on their views. However, despite the abortion topic, it has been proven that it is necessary to consider the two sides of the argument as it may be essential to have an abortion, depending on the circumstances. The opposing sides with the argument abortion is wrong have the most convincing points as abortion should only be allowed when the fetus compromises the mother’s life from a medical perspective.


Hendricks, P. (2018). Even if the fetus is not a person, abortion is immoral: The impairment argument. Bioethics, 33(2), 245-253. Web.

Laborde, C. (2018). Abortion, marriage and cognate problems. The American Journal of Jurisprudence, 63(1), 33-48. Web.

Mason, C. (2019). Opposing abortion to protect women: Transnational strategy since the 1990s. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44(3), 665-692. Web.

Mayans, I., & Vaca, M. (2018). The paternalistic argument against abortion. Hypatia, 33(1), 22-39. Web.

Moore, I. (2019). Indignity in unwanted pregnancy: denial of abortion as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The International Journal of Human Rights, 23(6), 1010-1027. Web.

Nuccetelli, S. (2017). Abortion for fetal defects: two current arguments. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 20(3), 447-450. Web.