Abortion is one of the most controversial moral issues that raise ethical questions related to the unborn child’s rights. The proponents (pro-choice) and critics (pro-life) provide moral insights to support their arguments, making it difficult to accept or oppose one position. However, it is essential to understand both sides of the views about moral issues in abortion. Pro-choice argues that abortion is morally right because women have complete control over their bodies. At the same time, pro-life suggest that it is ethically impermissible to kill an unborn child because life begins from conception.
Pro-choice argues that women have the right over their bodies, and the life of an unborn child begins after birth. According to proponents of abortion, women have the right to terminate unintended pregnancies if they cannot afford to cater to the child’s needs, have relationships problems, a baby would interfere with their school, or have completed childbearing (Pompa 1). In other words, a woman is morally right to terminate the pregnancy because they have control over their life. Indeed, previous studies posit that legalizing abortion reduces maternal death from unsafe abortions (McLean 2). Many women conceive even after using contraception, leading to unwanted pregnancy. Additionally, many abortions occur within less than nine weeks of pregnancy before the embryo develops critical body organs. Thus, it is morally permissible to terminate a pregnancy before the embryo develops into a fetus. Moreover, abortion is a safe medical procedure with minimal risk of significant complications, such as infertility, spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, or congenital disability.
On the other side, pro-life posits it is morally impermissible to kill the unborn child because human life begins after conception. Abortion is similar to killing an innocent child. The unborn child has a right to life, just like other humans. Both an embryo and fetus are developmental stages in human life rather than distinction based on physical characteristics. Thus, the difference between embryo and fetus is merely based on gestation age rather than the unborn child’s developmental stage. Moreover, abortion is oppression to women, including long-term damage to physical and emotional health. Abortion is also a form of violence against women because it violates feminist principles of non-discrimination, justice, and non-violence (Çevlikli 159). In other words, women have rights regardless of where she lives, even if she is still unborn. Thus, abortion leads to the death of unborn children, including girls. Pro-life argue that abortion is morally impermissible because it is a male plot to achieve complete sexual freedom. In this case, men support abortion because pregnancy limits their sexual freedom. Therefore, men support abortion as a backup to contraceptive in order to exploit women. The 19th-century feminists opposed abortion because it violates women’s rights (Green para. 1). Feminists argue that abortion enables men to have sex and expose women to dangerous operations. Thus, men prefer abortion to avoid childrearing responsibility.
The proponents of abortion posit that abortion is morally right because mothers have control over their bodies. An unborn child may be a result of rape, incest, or without the mother’s consent. Thus, abortion can be morally right in some situation where the mother’s life is at risk. However, pro-life argues that there is no moral justification for abortion regardless of the conditions. Therefore, mothers have no moral authority to terminate the unborn child’s life growing in their womb.
Çevlikli, Berat Alp. “Feminist Ethical approach to termination of pregnancy.” Türkiye Biyoetik Dergisi 4.4 (2017): 158-164.
Green, Emma. “The epic political battle over the legacy of the suffragettes.” The Atlantic (2019). https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/06/abortion-debate-and-legacy-womens-suffrage/590422/.
McLean, Emily, Desalegn Dawit Nima, Blystad Astrid, & Miljeteig Ingrid. “When the law makes doors slightly open: ethical dilemmas among abortion service providers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.” BMC Medical Ethics 20.60 (2019): 1-10.
Pompa, Kimberlee. “Abortion as a morally permissible constitutional right.” Abortion as a Morally Permissible Constitutional Right (2017): 1-13.