Abortion is the name for a situation in which a pregnancy is terminated before the term has been completed, thus the fetus is terminated whilst it is still inside its mother’s womb. There are two different types of abortion they are natural abortion, this is otherwise known as a miscarriage, and a miscarriage is when a fetus is expelled from the uterus spontaneously. The second type of abortion is procured abortion; this is when the termination of the fetus occurs with outside help. (Beckwith, 2007)
Abortion is a contentious issue that has always existed but now as time has advanced it has become a major factor in everyday life as there are new scientific elements that can also prevent pregnancy. Roman Catholics and most Evangelical Protestants think that all forms of abortion are sinful and should not be allowed. As written in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”, this statement means that everyone has a destiny that is predestined by God so we as humans should not impede. (Kreeft, 2002)
These Christians anchor their views in four main teachings: the sanctity of life and the belief life is holy – as God had given it to you God is the only one who has the right to take it away, the belief life begins at the moment of conception, the belief that the unborn child is created in the image of God and is one for whom Jesus died on the Cross for and the belief that every human is unique and has the right of potential life. Abortion is acceptable in Judaism, Islam, and some Christian denominations in general if the mother is at risk. (Kreeft, 2002)
Conflict over the ethics
There are two main groups of people who are constantly in conflict over the ethics of abortion, they are Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. In my view both of these groups will never co-exist with mutual respect for one another as perfection or beliefs are subconscious, everyone on this planet has dissimilar thoughts and feelings. We all strive towards separate ideologies thus inducing the thought that humankind can under no circumstances exist in a utopian society.
Pro-Choice supporters believe that parents of a child have the right to have an abortion as the child is their “property” and in some cases, they believe in the ownership of the unborn child. Pro-Choice supporters believe that there is an inadequacy of a sharp boundary in which we realize that the fetus is alive. (McBride, 2007) They believe that to exclaim that there are sharp boundaries to state when abortions take place is arbitrary because a person is a loose concept and that the transition from a fertilized egg to a child can be better represented by a fairly steady upward curve rather than separate stages with abrupt transitions. They believe that life is as uncertain as death as we do not know exactly when we are born and when exactly we will die.
Views on when life begins
There are many views on when life begins. One view is that life begins at conception, this means that life begins as soon as the male sperm and female ovum combine. Another view is that life begins at some definite point during pregnancy. Thomas Aquinas, a medieval philosopher, argued that a fetus became a human when a soul has implanted this process is called ensoulment, some people believe ensoulment is when the mother feels the baby move for the first time in her womb. (Beckwith, 2007) A third view is that life does not start until birth as this is the first time people can view the child in all its glory.
Pro-Choice supporters also believe in women’s rights as if a woman does not want the child why should she let the child take control of her body as the child will survive for 9 months in the mother’s body. They also believe that a fetus is not a person and that the woman’s right over her body is more important than the life of the person in her womb. (Bachiochi, 2004) Pro-Choice supporters believe that if a mother’s life is threatened she has the right to terminate the pregnancy as her life is seen to be more important than the life of the child, her life takes priority. (McBride, 2007)
Pro-Life supporters are commonly called anti-abortionists. Pro-Life supporters believe in the sanctity of life, that each life is sacred and that each child deserves the right to potential life. The fetus is seen to be a human being it has reached the development stage to qualify as being a human being. Pro-Life supporters believe that contraception is a form of abortion as you are not allowing nature to run its course as the contraception pill prevents fertilization as it causes the womb lining to change through the influx of estrogen. Pro-Life supporters believe that I.U.D. (inter-urine device) or coil count as types of aided abortion. (Rose, 2006)
They also believe in viability; viability is the point a baby could survive independently, it is now an independent creature. A child is seen to be the bearer of rights and as the parents have consented to sexual intercourse they should not bring an end to its life, the argument still rages that there is an arbitrary start to life. (Hoffer, 2004) Each child deserves the right to have a life, even if the child is unwanted many families want children but are unable to conceive themselves.
Abortion is not a clean-cut subject as many factors are concerned in this issue. An emotive quandary would be any case of a woman being raped: should she be forced to have the child or is it her decision as it is her body thus as the Pro-Choice supporters state her body is her property? Both of the views of each group can be criticized as in the Pro-Choice argument a child cannot be associated with a house or a material possession as a child deserves its personhood. The Pro-Choice view is not emotive enough as you treat material possessions the same as a child. Both of these arguments generate highly emotive feelings but in my view, abortion should only be allowed under certain circumstances like rape.
Beckwith Francis J. (2007) Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice. Cambridge University Press.
Rose Melody. (2006) Safe, Legal, and Unavailable?: Abortion Politics in the United States. CQ Press.
Bachiochi Erika. (2004) The Cost of Choice: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion. Encounter Books.
McBride Dorothy. (2007) Abortion in the United States: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO.
Hoffer Williamjames, Hoffer Peter C. (2004) The Abortion Rights Controversy in America: A Legal Reader. The University of North Carolina Press.
Kreeft Peter. (2002) Three Approaches to Abortion: A Thoughtful and Compassionate Guide to Today’s Most Controversial Issue. Ignatius Press.