Abortion against Essay

Abortion

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Background

Abortion is one of the most contentious moral concerns that has become the center of dialogue in our modern society. This problem has given rise to strong arguments, and for some people merely to bring up the topic of abortion is to stir up emotions. In this essay, I will present argument against abortion.

Introduction

Abortion is the termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival. Surrounding this practice is passionate debate and heated controversy as to whether a mother has the right to take away the life of a potentially viable human being. Those for abortion take the stance of Pro-Choice, as they believe that the matter falls into the hands of the mother and thus is entirely her decision, or choice. Those against abortion are collectively known as being Pro-Life, because abortion takes away the life of the fetus. I agree with the latter, that abortion is immoral because you are taking the life of a potentially viable human being. I believe that it is morally wrong to end the life of a fetus. At conception life is started, and just as murder is generally accepted to be immoral, so too is abortion. The bottom line is that a person’s right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother’s right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it.

Against Abortion

Punzo defines abortion as “the expulsion of the embryo or fetus from the uterus before it is capable of living outside the uterus” (206). Similarly, Fagothey defines abortion as “the expulsion of the fetus from the womb before it is viable, that is, before it can live outside the mother” (250).

Abortion, as a moral issue, presents mother-fetus conflict: rights of the fetus versus the rights of the mother. The source of controversy is the response to whether a fetus is a human being or not, because it can only have human rights – including a right to life – only if it is human. Therefore, if a fetus is not a human being, then abortion can be morally justified. On the other hand, if a fetus is a human being, it has a right to life – it is entitled to the protection we accord to any other human being. Hence, making abortion is morally wrong. It is evident that what is needed in the issue of abortion is to know when a human being becomes a human being. The advocates of abortion hold that a fetus is not a human being, and killing it, is not murder. On the contrary, opponents of abortion, the Catholic Church in particular, assert that a fetus is a human being right from conception. The disagreement and failure to pinpoint in a pregnancy the moment at which a fetus becomes a human being has provided a fertile ground for arguments on abortion and has made it a debatable moral issue. Below are some arguments against and for abortion.

Don Marquis Argument against Abortion

Don Marquis argues that it is wrong to kill a fetus just as it is wrong to kill an adult. He posits that it is wrong to kill an adult because he/she is deprived of the future. “The loss of one’s life deprives one of all the experiences, activities, projects and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one’s future” (Benevac, 308). This explains why it is wrong to kill a fetus because in its potentiality it has the future with all the above characteristics. In this respect, what ties Marquis comparison of a fetus to an adult, is the valuable future that the fetus potentially possesses, not personhood. However, many supporters of abortion, would argue that this comparison does not apply because adults unlike fetuses have a desire to live, and killing them interferes with this desire. In response, Marquis argues that just as we consider it to be wrong killing “the unconscious, the sleeping, those who are tired of life, and those who are suicidal, so it is with the fetus which has no desire to live” (311).

The Catholic Church’s Argument

“Each and every child is a gift from God. That gift is always priceless, even if it is sometimes difficult to accept” (Tivnan, 220). Since 1869 the Catholic Church regards the moment of conception as the beginning of life in a human being, and those involved in abortion are excommunicated (Tivnan, 270). In essence, the Church does not virtually make a distinction between abortion and murder, since both take away human life – a valuable gift from God. This Catholic Church’s view is shared by numerous other Christian groups and Orthodox Jews.

Analysis

From the above definitions and arguments two issues are raised against abortion, first is the moral status of the fetus. Is it, as some have suggested, no more valuable than any other piece of human tissue, such as a tonsil? The second question involves women’s rights and the question of political domination. Can a pregnant woman legitimately get an abortion, based on her right to control her body, even if there is another person inside her? I feel the answer to both questions is no. As for whether a fetus is no more valuable than any other piece of human tissue such as a tonsil, I not only disagree but am amazed that such a comparison could possibly be made. A fetus is not just a piece of human tissue, such as a tonsil, it is a partially formed human being and as such retains moral status beyond that of a tonsil that the mother can remove from the body when it becomes an irritant. As for the question of whether a pregnant woman can legitimately get an abortion, based on her right to control her body, if there is another person inside her, I would say that the mother’s ability to make the decision in the matter does not trump the fetus’s right to life. (Grcic, 89)

If a fetus is not a person, it has no right to life and can be killed without any moral blame. When we return to the question of what makes a human being a human being, this statement becomes complicated. If we take consciousness and desire, then we can kill fetuses, infants, and adults who are unconscious because of an illness or have found life to be boring and no longer desire to live. Here we are confronted by slippery slope reasoning. The only way to deal with this matter is to consider the human fetus as a human person with all the rights, including the right to life, that go with being a person. All biological evidence confirms the fact that the fertilized ovum has the human chromosome pattern containing all the inheritable factors, and it can never grow into anything except into a human person.

Further more, scientific proof testifies that a fetus is distinct from its mother even if it is connected to her. In the abortion , the presenter argues that a fetus already at six months has fingerprints completely unique from any other person in the world. Therefore, killing a fetus is killing an innocent person, even if the mother has stewardship over the fetus. In fact, the mother’s stewardship towards the fetus calls for her responsibility for care and the well being of the fetus, and abortion is the greatest harm she can do to the fetus. Anyone that believes that murder is immoral because it involves taking the life of another human being must also hold the belief that taking the life of a fetus is immoral and murderous. (Borchert,, 127) A baby is no more than a born fetus, and birth in essence amounts to no more than a change of location and the start of respiration and digestion. Therefore, since it is generally accepted that taking the life of a baby is murder, taking the life of a fetus is murder as well. It’s contradictory to believe that one type of murder is ok but not the other. There is nothing else that occurs after conception that could possibly justify saying that before it occurred the human organism could be killed but not afterward. Many people, quite frankly most Americans, acquire their concept of morality from religion and the bible. What the bible points out to be immoral is accepted as immoral, despite logic, intuition, or personal beliefs.

Conclusion

Abortion is the ending of the life of a fetus. Human life starts at conception and as such a fetus is human. Therefore abortion is murder, and since murder is universally accepted to be unethical and immoral, so too is abortion.

Works Cited

Benevac, D 1992. Today’s Moral Issues: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives. Indianapolis: Mayfield Publication Company. pg 305-315.

Borchert, D M 1986. Exploring Ethics. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. pg 127.

Fagothey, A 1989. Right and Reason: Ethics in Theory and Practice (9th Edition). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hill, Inc, pg 249-256.

Grcic, J 2001. Moral Choices: Ethical Theories and Problems. 3rd edition. West Publishing Company: Los Angeles. pg 89-97.

Punzo, Vincent C.  “Morality and Human Sexuality”,New York: Publishing Company, pp. 202-244.

Tivnan, E 1995. The Moral Imagination: Confronting the Ethical Issues of Our Day. New York: Simon & Schuster. pg 220-270.

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