In a democratic country like the US, where liberation and right to freedom of choice are given the most priority, it is not surprising to witness two different groups of staunch supporters when it comes to the abortion debate. For some people, abortion in essence is completely wrong, as it is a serious blow to the existence of morality and human values. On the other hand, if there are life-threatening conditions for the mother, some people resort to the idea that abortion is a better choice, from an ethical viewpoint. Besides these people, some don't have any idea whether to support or go against abortion. The issue of abortion presents an ethical, psychological and religious dilemma for women and couples who wish to opt for abortion.
Ethics and Abortion
If you look at it from the moral angle, there are many dimensions associated to abortion. It is virtually impossible to give a legal judgment in any case of abortion in quick time because the debate is extremely complex and every single question raises more sub-questions and sub-parts. Nevertheless, there are pro-life enthusiasts who're against abortion and then there are pro-choice groups, who're either partially or completely in favor of abortion. So does the debate on abortion have any end? Probably not. But as individuals we can study and know more on both sides of the story and then form our opinions. In debates on abortion, it is always wise to be unbiased as only that can help you arrive at a better position to conclude anything. Following are some ethical issues that need to be thought over deeply.
Is it ethically/morally wrong to kill any fetus that has the potential to life? Those against abortion argue that a fetus is very much alive like us and has the capacity to evolve into a complete human being. So killing a fetus is just like killing a human being, which is completely wrong. In response to this sensitive question, pro-choice people come up with their own logical argument. As per the supporters of abortion, there is no fixed definition of "human being" in the womb. Just because a group of living cells exist in the womb, it is not right to call it a "human being". If killing a fetus is wrong, then amputating a hand or a leg in case of accident must also amount to murder.
Further, proponents of abortion believe the embryo in a womb must only be considered to be a human after it has reached a certain stage of development. So generally embryos start showing signs of heartbeat development in at least 21 days of conception. Hence, if killed before, it won't amount to killing a life. This argument is further said to be misleading by anti-abortion groups because according to them, if a cell has life, it will experience pain if killed. It is wrong to cause pain and trauma to a potential life.
What about the rights of the mother? If a woman is pregnant due to unfortunate incidents like rape then is it not her right to choose abortion? After all it is her body and she as a human being has control over it. Similarly, if a couple gets involved in unprotected sex without using contraceptive methods resulting in a pregnancy, what step should they take, if they're not prepared for the baby? At the end, it is the pregnant lady who suffers everything. So shouldn't the choice to abort the baby be the sole decision of the mother?
Abortion also becomes a question of woman's rights. And what in cases of teenage pregnancy? What if is the mother is mentally, emotionally and economically unprepared to handle the nuisances of being a mother or parent? Isn't it logically correct and more responsible on her part to go for abortion? These are in essence some of the most vital questions that don't have some fixed answers. Some more challenging questions related to abortion are as follows.
- If the mother has some complications during childbirth, should the doctor save the mother or the baby? If the baby is not saved, it will be called an abortion while if the mother is not saved, it will be like killing her knowingly which can be equated to murder.
- The mother has right to her own body. If she doesn't want to carry a baby, why can't she get rid of it?
- In cases of an abnormal child who may face several disabilities in the developing years of his or her life, what if the parents want to abort it?
- What should be the best decision in case there are many fetuses in the womb, some healthy and some unhealthy? If some may not live till the time of pregnancy, isn't it fair to abort them?
- We only discuss the fetus and mother rights when it comes to abortion debate. What if the father doesn't want the baby but the mother wants it? What if the reverse happens? Who is to be given more priority when they both are equally responsible for creating the life?
As you can see, there is strictly no limit on the number of questions that arise in abortion debate. Every single argument gives way to numerous other questions. Ethics or morality have always been an integral aspect of religions and code of conducts in our societies. Issues like that of abortion or even homosexuality have changed thinking patterns in the society to quite a large extent. In the time to come, we can expect to see more legal battles and cases regarding the complex issue of abortion. Till then, debates on abortion will go on...