Table of Contents
This research is targeted on the pro-choice activists that support the abortion debate. They include women of all ages and races, men that support the idea, and the politicians that are responsible for the passing of the abortion bills. It also targets the jury that passes the judgment in favor of abortion, thereby forming the basis for the activists that support the motion. The research shall use evidence to argue that abortion is an immoral decision.
Life Argument against Abortion
The most important question that lies at the heart of this debate is, what exactly is killed in the event of abortion? Some may argue that the fetus is not a viable human being up to some point in the pregnancy and that the abortion does not result in a loss of life (Kaczor 13). It is undeniable that there is a loss of life if an abortion is undertaken. To fully explore this notion, it is essential to consider the basics of sexual reproduction. The standard embryology texts indicate that the life of a human being starts in the event of full fertilization, which results in a genetically functional and independent organism. The said organism is fully equipped to continue with its life towards maturity. In ordinary conception, the ovum and the sperm fuse to give rise to the embryo that matures into a fetus that is born as the baby.
The respective sex cells are equipped with chromosomes that contribute to the genetic make-up of the fetus. The chromosomes contain the genetic information that provides to the development of a genetically unique human being. The resulting organism of the fusion is a single cell that divides exponentially. The child has a fully formed brain and can feel pain, cry and suck its thumb. Indeed, life starts at conception, and the fetus has a right to live just like all other human beings.
At fertilization, a case can be made that the embryo is a fully formed human being. It has the genetic makeup that is used to describe a human being (Foot 23). It has all the resources that are required to make a full survival to its birth unless the process is hindered by disease, violence or other external factors. None of the changes that occur in the embryo from fertilization cause any changes in the direction that it takes to its maturity. All the characteristics, be it intelligence or disability are determined by the internally directed growth of the individual embryo.
It is sometimes argued that in the protection of the embryo as having a distinct life, the same would be true for the sex cells. But, the sex cells are not complete human beings, being that they each have only 23 chromosomes, to the complete 46 that make up the total count in a human cell. They are not just genetic, but also functional parts of the female or the potential male parents. They are either destined for fertilization or inevitable death in the case that they fail to. Even when the fertilization occurs, they cease to exist as independent entities, but are instead used in the composition of an entirely new organism that is unique from both the ovum and the sperm.
So the embryo is not something that is distinct from a human being. He or she is a human being, though they are at an early stage of development. Indeed, medical research has established that fetuses endure pain during the abortion process since the response to pain develops by the eighth week of gestation. Therefore, in abortion, what is killed is a distinct member of the human race, with a life that is distinct from that of the parents. Besides, the killing of a fetus reduces the number of potential children for adoption. As such, it is advisable to avoid abortion and surrender unwanted babies to potential adopters.
The Dualist Argument
Most champions of abortion may agree that a fetus is a human being, but may present the argument that being a person and a human being are two distinctly different items. They claim that the fetus or the embryo has not yet attained the personal status and thus it is not always wrong to kill human beings (Mannimen 10). The argument is centered on the fact that the embryos are not yet persons since they cannot fully exercise their mental capabilities, especially the higher mental capabilities and functions that are unique to humans. They claim that for one to be a person, one has to exercise self-awareness. They pose the question of who has rights and who doesn’t have rights. They claim that every person is entitled to having rights, and thus the fetuses that are not yet persons are only human beings and not persons and therefore not subject to the bill of rights.
In the case of human beings, they start developing the capacity to reason and act freely at conception, even though it may take years to utilize this characteristic fully. The capabilities are already present, in their radical form and seek to be developed, especially in the environment of their development that defines the character of a human being. It makes sense to conclude that a human organism is formed at conception, and the person is formed at a later point in their existence, but to destroy a human body negates their chances of exercising their attributes at a later date.
Ethical/moral argument against abortion
The above cases form the basis of tackling the problem of the ethical issue of abortion. It is wrong to kill an adult human being, despite their mental and psychological conditions. It is morally and legally wrong to terminate the life of another human being at any stage of development (Manninen 27). The government considers the fetus as human beings and condemns any intentional or attempted murder of an unborn baby by the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Indeed, the Act equates abortion with murder. Besides, most religions condemn abortion by asserting that God intends all humans to have an equal right to life. People who commit abortion experience psychological distress as such memories last forever. There are also health risks attached to this practice including permanent inability to conceive and death in extreme cases (Ladock 1).
Nevertheless, a case can be made for risky pregnancies, where the pregnancy threatens the lives of both the child and the mother. This is an exception that can be made, but the proper investigation should be made to gauge the viability of the fetus outside the body of the mother and thus the possibility of saving both individuals. The paper addresses the morality of abortion and the moral implication on the entity of the human being and the violation of the rights of the involved individual, in this case, the fetus.
- Foot, Philippa. “The problem of abortion and the doctrine of double effect.” (1967). Kaczor, Christopher. The ethics of abortion: Women’s rights, human life, and the question of justice. Routledge, 2014.
- Ladock, Jason. “Pros and Cons of Abortion.” HEALTHGUIDANCE.ORG, 2017, http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/13561/1/Pros-and-Cons-of-Abortion.html. Accessed 30 Nov. 2017.
- Manninen, Bertha Alvarez. “Beyond abortion: The implications of human life amendments.” Journal of Social Philosophy, vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 140-160.
- Manninen, Bertha Alvarez. “The value of choice and the choice to value: Expanding the discussion about fetal life within prochoice advocacy.” Hypatia, vol. 28, no. 3, 2013, pp. 663-683.