Dominant Arguments and Disagreements About Abortion


The issue of abortion has a lot of controversies. One being that, if there is conflict between two rights then the most fundamental and important one ought to prevail. The right to life may pose as the most important human right. Scientific indications are that every individual life is unique in its nature and weigh more over other life contemplations.

According to Domino (4), on “managing spontaneous abortion”, abortion may be defined as an extreme act of violation which is permanent and devastating to the unborn child. It is an act against infants’ livelihood which is justifiable for all unborn children and it continues to the early childhood development. It entails complete expulsion which is referred to as the spontaneous abortion or it can also be partial termination. The question most people including professional would raise concerns the point where the circumstances are viable.

The issue of foetal viability has become a burning legal or scientific debate with varying laws and suggestions among states. The basic or most dominant argument regarding the morality of abortion is that the act is justifiable if the mother’s life is in danger. Considering the dispute that, people should choose the lesser of any two evils in a given situation, the argument would prevail. Morally the conclusion to the argument may be that abortion is a selfish act. Rhetorically, does this quantify the act of caring the unborn child through out the gestation period regardless of whether the challenges or risks involve less evil?

According to Domino (4), there is a difference between threatened and inevitable abortion but it differs because of the organizational differences regarding the cultural believes and interpretations. According to him “dilatation, rupture of membranes, or expulsion of products in the presence of vaginal bleeding portends inevitable abortion.” Abortion is recommended when there is profuse virginal bleeding during pregnancies regardless of whether the contractions are present or not. This can be due to these ruptured membranes, expelled products of conceptions, or dilated membranes.

Does one’s control over her body overshadow the fundamental right to life? One argument over this would be non-existent right to such kind of control. Considerably the situation would indicate that this person’s right, if it exists would be outweighed by the rights to life.

Some of the least expected arguments especially with legalization of abortion would be the issue of unwanted children. The issue of quality life may be absurd in this context since hard work is what is supposedly meant to redeem poor quality and life has got value regardless of quality. Most people would argument this to be a selfish act since it denies the child its right to live, so that the life of those in existence can improve. Logically, doest this imply that we can eliminate those lacking quality life so that those who enjoy some quality can have an improvement?

Is aborting a private act? It is reasonable to state that a child belongs to the society and terminating its life is a loss to the society. Termination of its life in the name of “a private act” would haunt not only the victim but the society as well since the cultural believes and acts reach that we ought to allow moral value to any human being or we face suffering from humanity or values.

Lastly is the argument posted in the Fundamental Issues of Abortion by Sprengel (4), which indicated the probability of unwanted children being prone to criminal acts. Would it be sensible to support abortion on this argument? Justice states that one is innocent until proven otherwise. Probably the argument would be unjust. The unwanted children who are in existence are still given a chance to reform. Allowing abortion over such a possibility would presume that the death penalty should be used for much less criminal charges than murder. This is an act that would indicate lack of love or concern for humanity.

In line with Sprengel (4), it is a scientific fact that a child is a unique human being with a right to life. This is more important and fundamental over other rights but the disagreement to it would call for a definition of abortion that portrays the act as permissible. According to him “the strength of pro-life is not because of cleaver artificial definitions that make things convenient but one that acknowledges unique individual life.”

Don Marquis theory argument

In his theory “future-like-ours”, Marquis (183) has a slight advancement to the potentiality argument where he condemns the act of abortion on the basis that it deprives the foetus its humanitarian rights over activities, joyous experiences and lifetime projects. The outstanding feature of Marquis emphasizes a human being’s future as a fundamental ethical core element. His argument does not coincide with the normal factors of the argument such as the consciousness. Contrary His theory is based on probability where he state that largest leap is the probability of conceiving an ethically meaningful life and this is the right point of defining life as equal among all.

Judith Jarvis Thomson argument

In her writing, Thomson argues on the basis of a difference between claim on the rights of a foetus and that ethically, it is obligatory for a mother to take all necessary measures to keeping it alive. According to Thomson (5), “the foetus is an ethically relevant person and with a right to life but the ethical legitimacy of abortion survives the concession”. This led to a heated debate criticizing it especially the examples of the scenarios she uses to explain her argument. She depicts some irrelevant ethical choices out of coercion. Her final verdict is that abortion is not always ethically permissible.

Susan Sherwin argument

According to Sherwin, (99) the discussion of abortion overlooks, “the distinctive analysis of feminists’ ethics”. She indicates that most authors will presume acquaintance with common arguments to overshadow women’s right of choosing abortion. The feminists’ ethics arguments are focused upon broader frameworks as opposed to moral and general consideration of legal tolerability. There is ignorance over the overall struggle especially within the sexists’ societies over control of women productivity. Women are supposed to respond to their inner feelings and relationships with others. Sherwin states that non-feminists will question the issue of abortion based on some definitions such as that of a foetus which in this case would be irrelevant. They will primarily focus on the general moral status of the foetus regardless of their support for “Women’s’ rights to choose abortion.”

In line with Sherwin’s writing (101), there is a lot of tension on the issue of abortion. “No matter how appalling and dangerous the conditions, women form widely diverse cultures and historical periods have pursued abortions.” She expresses her concern that if abortion is not legalized, made safe and accessible to society, then women will continue to seek illegal and life-threatening acts of termination behind the law.

Activists who are against abortion dismiss her point of view. They are willing to meet the cost of avoiding reality. On the other hand, feminists value women and it is their fundamental concern over loss of women’s lives due to the restrictive policies. The difference here is on feeling, believes and cultural backgrounds. Activists view the act as women’s frivolous or irresponsible decision making procedure alternatively feminists view the act as being catalysed by compelling viable reasons. “Feminists ethics demand effects of abortion policies on the oppression of women as the principal consideration of ethical evaluation” (Sherwin, 105)

Peter Singer argument

According to his writing, Singer (135) indicates that suffering exceeds pain since it is governed by the conscious awareness. Suffering evokes past experiences with a memory on freedom from suffering. The memories are accompanied by anticipated expectations and understandings. In such cases, the person analyses the possible options that may be available to overcome the suffering.

Argumentatively the foetus has no such expressible feeling, preferences and subsequently no conscious suffering. This indicates that other people preferences over the unborn child’s survival should not be a barrier to termination of the pregnancy as long as the procedures remain painless. Singer argument that people will place their stands on abortion on morally impregnable situations should be the reason why they view women’s interests and rights as overriding those of the foetus. The argument Singer portrays is that the unborn child cannot understand life and its preferences and therefore if someone has preferences over its existence, preferably within the first month of the development period, then termination would be justifiable. (142)

He includes his ethics of “Replacability”, where there can be ample reasons why a child may be unwanted. The procedure for making decisions pertaining abortion would be profoundly influenced if the termination allowed another chance or freedom for a different child to replace the aborted. Arguably his view would be taken as discriminatory especially for the disabled who would be long replaced if it applied.

Personal view over the arguments

According to various moral controversies concerning the issue of abortion investigated in this paper, a personal view would be that the act ought to be permissible over special scenarios which should correlate to the laws of the country or state. There ought to be clarity and certainty that pertains the law over such critical matters.

Most ruling would lack clarity over lawful abortion and the extent on prohibition of the same. The law must provide a straight forward legal setting for physicians to conduct their operations. This would include analysis of the woman’s circumstances. All actions ought to be supportive to the best interest of the patient. Women suffer from distress and humiliation on the hands of physicians because of the stigma associated with the act especially when it is not well elaborated and thus their thinking consider the act as a criminal offence.

Arguments against and defending the personal thought

Some of the arguments defer with the personal thought such that, if the act was to be legalized under certain conditions, then the law would be bent easily to allow some non-special cases. Another thought would be that, the act may not be taken ethically as illegal especially when it is performed frequently since it may deteriorate the law and the respect it deserves.

Some organizations may support the argument in totally reasoning that the act it is already available on demand and rules are flouted by professionals’ day-in-day-out especially in the private sector. There are suggestions that, abortion be allowed but limited to the public health sectors to ensure safety and logical cases.

Lastly is the argument that linearization of abortion is not the reason behind low maternal related deaths. It is the regulation of the antibiotic usage and thus there is no correlation between the backyard abortion and criminal penalty. (Victoria Law Reform Commission, 74)

Works cited

Domino, Frank. The 5-minutes clinical consult: Abortion, Spontaneous. 16th Ed Washington DC. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins publishers 2007

Marquis, Don. ‘Why Abortion is Immoral’. The Journal of Philosophy 86 (4) 183, 189. 1989

Singer, Peter. Taking Life: The Embryo and the Fetus’ in Practical Ethics (2nd Ed, 1993.

Sprengel, Mark. K. Fundamental Issues of Abortion. Heritage house’76 inc. 1999. Web.

Susan Sherwin. No Longer Patient: Feminist Ethics and Health Care, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992.

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. Abortion. Boston Review, 2008. Web.

Victoria Law Reform Commission. Laws of Abortion. Melbourne Victoria 2nd Ed 2002. Web.