Every act that deals with physical destruction of natural things becomes a matter of controversial argument between people. Moreover, when ethical, medical, religious, legal, social, and philosophical aspects interact in one issue, it becomes a cornerstone for truly large numbers of diverse opinions and views. One of the most demonstrative examples of such subjects is abortion.
There are numerous versions whether abortion is moral or immoral, and for every point of view on this question there are many reasonable justifications. Let us analyze this issue carefully and discuss it in current paper.
The major concept put under the spotlight by those who consider abortion immoral is the statement that killing innocent people is a crime, even if they are only potential people. Indeed, when we talk about killing a human being, especially innocent and helpless one, it will always be wrong. Those enthusiasts who convince that abortion should be forbidden refer to Bible and deontological ethical theory. They also believe that even unborn child has a right to live, and nobody but him can decide whether he should live or not. Their opinion is understandable. Of no doubt giving birth to children is a necessary mission of every person, and killing innocent embryo may be considered improper.
However, I personally belong to those people who accept another point of view. It is based on different theory and has something from utilitarian ethical approach. I believe, that unborn baby cannot be called a human being yet. It especially refers to few-weeks-old embryo. Before a certain stage of development an embryo remains simply a group of human cells with undefined functions.
Thus, when there appears a need to stop a pregnancy for some reason, it is possible to kill the embryo without making a sin. I do not mean that abortion is something good. Still women have their rights too, and they are able to make decisions about their lives. Embryo, to my mind, has no rights yet, as for it is not actual human until its birth. Moreover, I would like to remind my reader some historical facts. Several centuries ago, when contraceptives were not invented yet, and abortion was made very seldom and illegally, the percentage of mortal cases among women was horrible. Women had to give birth to children every time they got pregnant. Oftentimes it could cause danger for health, but there was no chance to stop pregnancy. Families used to have many children, and it was not easy to provide normal conditions to them. Sometimes women died because pregnancy was fatal to them. All these situations happened due to absence of legal abortions. I believe that our contemporary society has a significant privilege. Women (and men of course) have right to decide and choose their own way. Abortion can only help people to determine their priorities and values in life. Therefore, I personally do not consider abortion immoral.
The article “There Just Wasn’t Room in Our Lives Now for Another Baby” included in Lawrence Hinman’s book “Contemporary Moral Issues: Diversity and Consensus” discusses an acute issue of abortion. Its author Linda Francke, the famous feminist and journalist, experiences this process herself.
While reading this article I was not surprised with the choice Linda Francke made when she discovered her pregnancy. As she was an independent pro-choice woman with feminist views her decision to have an abortion was natural. Besides, she was not very young and had three children already.
When Francke says she does not regret having an abortion, it does not agree with other thoughts she describes in her article. She portrayed that period as extremely hard and painful for her. I am sure she did regret about it, but as it was impossible to change anything, she preferred to avoid discussing her mistake in order not to cause more pain.
Linda Francke remained a pro-choice activist, at the same time considering abortion an ambivalent decision. It does not seem inconsistent to me. She experienced abortion herself and realized how ambiguous and controversial feelings it may cause. However, Linda still followed her previous pro-choice viewpoint, because being smart and open-minded person she recognized that every woman has a right to decide for herself, whether it is abortion, marriage, education, or anything else.
After reading Francke’s article I had an impression that Linda and her husband made a wrong decision. To my personal view, right decision is when the person feels comfortable after his action and does not feel sorry about it. I think that Linda did feel sorry and had a hard period after abortion. Perhaps she would enjoy growing another baby…
Besides Linda Francke’s article the book of Lawrence Hinman includes some other useful materials that discuss the subject of abortion from various standpoints and angles. The article by Jane English “Abortion and the Concept of a Person” analyzes a controversial question whether unborn child can be considered a person. “Why Abortion is Immoral”, the article by Jon Marquis, discusses the idea of immorality of abortion.
In the first chapter of Lawrence Hinman’s book “Contemporary Moral Issues: Diversity and Consensus” the most provoking idea for me lied in the text of Jon Marquis. He claims that abortion is immoral because killing an embryo deprives an unborn child of valuable future. I have never thought of abortion from this angle. The author’s logic is indisputable, and his article prompted me to reconsider my view of abortion and to think about it differently.
However, my overall position on the morality of abortion has not changed after reading this chapter.
Still my opinion has developed soundly. I realize now that abortion may cause very ambiguous feelings. And the most important, I know now, thanks to Jon Marquis and his article, that abortion can be considered moral only if it does not deprive an unborn human being of opportunities for valuable future.
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