Abortion is basically an act of removing the embryo from womb and terminating a pregnancy (Johnston 2-5). The issue of abortion is not new, it has been in the public domain and subjected to discourse for many years. It is still an emotive issue. This paper mainly discusses the issue of abortion and the importance of life. In detail, the paper will explore the views of those who oppose abortion as well as those who support it.
Opponents of abortion
Opponents argue that it is morally wrong to procure an abortion. When explicating their grounds, they usually base their arguments on a number of claims. For instance, they hold that it is wrong to kill people who are innocent. In this case, they assume that life begins at conception. This means that an embryo should be considered a person with a soul, thus, killing it or terminating a pregnancy is like killing an innocent child (Klemke 2-7). Thus, according to them, it is wrong to procure an abortion. Furthermore, destroying potential human life is morally wrong. In this case, their argument is based on the concept that an unborn child is a potential person (Klemke 3-5). Therefore, the destruction of a fetus, according to them, is like the destruction of a human being, which is morally wrong. Therefore, procuring abortion is very wrong from both the moral and even the legal side.
Moreover, the opponents of abortion hold that it is wrong to increase tolerance for killing people. By this, they mean that allowing abortion is another way of legalizing killing. They also base their argument on the fact that abortion degrades human dignity and respect (Metz 4-6). Therefore, according to them, procuring abortion is very wrong.
Proponents of abortion
According to the proponents, a fetus is actually not a human or a ‘person’ that necessarily has the right to live. As per their arguments, it is not right to insinuate that just because an unborn child is part of the human body, it has the right to live (Johnston 1-4). What they mean, according to the critics, is that even amputating any part of the body would be like killing. Furthermore, a fetus is only regarded as a person when it has reached a particular developmental stage that makes it a person who possesses particular attributes that make it an individual or a man.
Proponents of abortion hold that it is not wrong to terminate the life of those who are deemed innocent (Klemke 32-35). Their argument is based on the fact that, at some point in life, there are cases where a choice has to be made regarding who is to live or who is not supposed to live. An example given is that of conjoined twins. In this case, if the operation is carried out, one of the twins may die.
They also hold the view that a woman who is pregnant has certain moral rights, which the opponents usually overlook, too decide whether to give birth to the child or not. Here, they hold that under certain conditions, the right of the mother may supersede the rights of the fetus to live (Metz 10-14). The moral rights include to own one’s body or not to be born as the opponents hold. In this case, the mother has an absolute right to make a decision in life and is not supposed to be infringed. With this, the mother has the moral right to procure an abortion if her pregnancy is likely to put her life at risk.
The proponents also argue that abortion should be allowed in case where the child is likely to be born with some disabilities either mental or physical or abnormalities (Johnston 2-3). This is based on the premise that the child is likely to suffer from some physical or even mental condition in a way that will affect the quality of his or her life or even result in his/her death. This also applies to a situation, such as unintentional pregnancy. Unintentional, in this case, means the pregnancy that has resulted from rape.
Proponents also hold that abortion should be allowed if pregnancy has undesirable lifestyle consequences. A lifestyle consequence in this case is the degree of achievement that the mother would lose if she is not allowed to procure abortion (Johnston 37-39). Furthermore, if the mother is not able to look after her baby and/or have an extra child, it would definitely lower the standard of living of a family. In addition, proponents hold that if having another child would generally lead to criminal claims against the parent (Metz 27-34). A good example may be seen in China where the law allows parents to only have only one child. If a parent unintentionally gets pregnant; she may chose to be on the safer side by procuring an abortion.
The aspect of Right to life
A good number of philosophers hold that the phrase ‘right to life’ is generally vague. According to them, the phrase is made up of two different ideas: first, an absolute right of not to be in any way subjected to pain or killed discriminatorily, and second, a right to have all the things needed to fully sustain someone’s life (Metz 3-8).
Many people usually understand the issue of abortion from the perspective of cost, related consequences, safety and availability of other alternatives. For them, abortion would be of great benefit (Metz 3-6). In the case of costs and related consequences, the mother may have been through situations, such as the pregnancy poses a severe medical issue, where the life of the mother is endangered by the pregnancy, and there are many fetus in the mother’s womb. In these situations, it many result in the deformities of the children leading to challenging life for both the family and the baby as a result.
As it has been established, life begins at conception. At this point, the opponents of abortion hold that it is wrong to kill for selfish interests. The proponents of abortion hold that according to the law, inflicting pain on a fetus is also wrong unless an operation or an intervention needed is to be carried out. In Local Universities, scholars usually ague that if the deformed child is allowed to be born, it will definitely suffer from some physical and mental abnormality. In addition, that if such pregnancies are not prevented, they can easily lead to changed life quality. In this case, the public is split over whether the issue of abortion can unanimously be considered or treated as something that is morally wrong or morally acceptable.
Johnston, George. Abortion from the religious and moral perspective: an annotated bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Pub. , 2003. Print.
Klemke, Elmer. The meaning of life. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Metz, Thaddeus. Meaning in life: an analytic study. Oxford : UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.