Abortion is the induced termination of pregnancy before the embryo or fetus is capable of survival. This issue has created moral and social concern since the beginning of time. Individuals as well as the church, which is very influential on some people, have had to take a stand on either side of this controversial issue. There are many different views being taken on abortion making the decision of right or wrong that much more difficult to make.
The act of aborting a fetus deals with a very complex definition of what a human life is. As Alan Keyes says, Whether a life is a human life, entitled to respect for all the basic, inviolable rights of humanity this is a critically important judgment. No one person has the right to say when life begins and this is where the controversy on the issue of abortion stems from. Pro-life advocates define human life as beginning at the moment of conception, while pro-choice supporters claim that once the egg and sperm are united this is just a living organism and not a human life. If the fetus is a human then it is entitled to live under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, saying that it is as equal as any other person. Along with this presumption, if aborted, the aborter could be subject to the penalties that anyone would receive for killing another human being. If the fetus is not being thought of as a human life, then there should be no problem with aborting a fetus. This decision on whether or not the fetus is living or not is extremely difficult to make, therefore creating moral conflict in our society today and for many years to come.
Today there are three main positions being held on the abortion issue. The first is that abortion should be legal in all circumstances. The second is that abortion should be legal in extreme circumstances including the mothers health being in jeopardy, pregnancy due to a woman being raped, or evidence that the baby will be defected upon birth. Pro-choice advocates take the first two views. The third view which is held by pro-life supporters states that abortion should never be legal under any circumstances. Today the second position has proven most popular most likely because people can choose the best points of each side of the issue.
Again the pro-life argument on the abortion issue defines human life as beginning with conception. Medical research has proven that the fetus is a living organism from the moment of conception. Some may argue that a living organism cannot be considered a person, but what else can it be. Once the sperm and egg unite, the 23 chromosomes of each are brought together to form one cell with 46 chromosomes. Once this cell with 46 chromosomes is formed, that one cell has all of the DNA, the entire genetic code that makes up a human being. Everything which constitutes a human being is in that one cell from conception on it just takes time to grow and develop. Who is the one person able to claim at what minute in time a fetus changes from a living organism into a human being. The start of human life should not be a religious, moral, or philosophical issue since each and every person has their own morals and views. The beginning of life should be a scientific and biological issue. Science says that once the 46 chromosome cell is formed, the unborn fetus a living, developing individual with a unique genetic makeup.
Pro-life advocates also argue that if an unborn fetus can be protected by the government in other cases, it should be protected under the Fourteenth Ammendment which guarantees that life shall not be taken without due process of the law. An unborn baby can be injured in an accident and later after being born can sue the person who injured him. A fetus is also able to inherit and estate. Why can this individual be denied life then?
Pro-lifers believe that the fetus is a completely separate life from that of the mother. It has a totally different blood type and genetic code. It is not just a part of the mother like an arm or a leg. It is a human life temporarily living inside of that woman, and its birth is just a change of residence. These advocates also claim that saying that an unborn does not have the fundamental right to live is a form of discrimination based on age and the fact that the unborn cannot speak for themselves.
All of these arguments given by the pro-life stand on abortion can quickly be opposed by the pro-choice advocates. Pro-choice supporters believe that each individual woman should be able to make her own decision regarding abortion, having the right to control their own bodies. They want abortion to be a safe, legal, and accessible option to women. Some of them argue that the fetus is not a human life from the moment of conception just because a reproducing cell is a living organism. Some also believe that even though there may be human life, or potential life, that denying a woman the right to have an abortion is denying her control of her own body.
Pro-choice advocates take situation like pregnancy due to rape, birth defects, and the mothers help into consideration when they argue that abortion should be legal. Why would any woman who becomes pregnant due to the violent action of rape have to remember that terrifying experience every single moment for the rest of her life with the life of the rapist baby. This seems extremely unfair to the mother. Also, why should a child and its family have to suffer extreme pain because a baby which was previously detected with birth defects was forced to be born. Lastly, why should a woman go through horrible health problems which might take her life because of an unborn, some might same not human life. These circumstances shown above show what extreme suffering, for not only the mother but the child as well, illegalizing the abortion process can create.
Reading and listening to both sides of this argument has really made me think a lot more about this issue and has pointed out many other views on abortion that I had never thought of before. When I was younger I thought it was unreal that so many women were getting pregnant and turning to abortion because they didnt want the baby; as I grow older and am exposed to more people who are dealing with this type of situation, I have realized that this is a reality that society must face these days as sex becomes more and more casual. I have become more and more confused in my position on the issue. I think that almost everyone is just as confused as I am though, all because no one can define exactly when a human life begins. Also, having so many principles and morals to live by makes making such a complex decision even more difficult because often times the principles and morals conflict. I tend to feel that abortion is a violent and cruel act that takes an innocent unborn human life, but if I was faced with having an abortion I dont know if I would act under these terms. If I was raped or my child was going to have defects I know that I would choose to have an abortion to avoid the extreme suffering waiting to happen. If I became pregnant accidentally I hope that I would go ahead and have the baby so as not to kill a human life even though I didnt particularly want it. My whole life would probably be changed forever, but it would have been my fault for having careless sex in the first place. I definitely feel it is wrong for people to be having abortions almost as a means of birth control. I, like most others, feel it should only be used in extreme circumstances.