Abortion is a legal medical method to stop the premature delivery that is adopted in most countries of the world. It was legalized many years ago but nowadays we live in the civilized society where the human life is the most precious treasure and the question about the appropriateness of abortions is of current importance. Nowadays there are two opposing camps who present their arguments. People who support abortion insist that prohibition of it will deprive people of their rights to have free choice. On the contrary, people who stand for banning abortion claim that abortion deprive a human being from the right to live.
Every person must decide for himself what is more important: deprivation of choice or deprivation of life. Another point of issue is whether prohibition of abortion is deprivation of rights. The history of abortion debate is long and complex. Individual position on this issue is influenced by social, ethical, and legal issues. Abortion has become a subject of concerns of different political and social organizations. In the United States those, who stand for banning abortion, describe themselves as pro-life and those, who are against banning, name themselves as pro-choice. There are several groups of arguments against abortion.
Conditionally arguments against abortion can be divided into religious, medical, legal, ethical and philosophical arguments. Opinion on abortion is split practically equal in the United States and in Europe, the only difference between this two groups of people is the question of consciousness. While the first group of people who stand for abortion make their choice from practical point of view and do not think much on this problem, the second group present serious arguments and take into account moral point of view. Arguments against abortion may be divided into three groups: scientific proof, legal issues and moral arguments.
Science states that life begins at the moment of conception and this fact is proved by numerous researches. “Contrary to what many non-scientists believe, human beings are not constructed in the womb – they develop. In fact, all the major organ systems are initiated within the first three weeks after conception. ” (Marquis, 198). The process of embryonic development is long-term process and it is impossible to say exactly when it starts and when the fetus becomes a child. “Fetal rights” is a comparatively new notion, which stands for new judicial, social and moral norm. This notion eans that unborn children possess their own rights and deserve same treatment and protection as children do (Coady, 1997). This means that women can be criminally charged for causing voluntary of involuntary harm to their unborn children. The legal argument is easily explained by the US Constitution. It preserves the rights of all persons and the right for life among them. “
The legal definition of murder for the state of California will be examined to demonstrate its logical fallacies. For the state of California, personhood is not established by an impartial set of criteria, but by the whims of another person” (McMaham, p. 9). The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act adopted in 2003 became the culmination of struggle against abortion . This act prohibits intact dilation and extraction, sometimes also referred as partial-birth abortion. According to this law partial-birth abortion and any assistance to it is considered illegal. Later it was challenged in court but 27 states joined this act and prohibited partial-birth abortion. Partial-birth abortions are usually made after the beginning the second trimester of pregnancy (Pauli, E. , Haller, p. 110).
People who stand against abortion insist that the law should ban any kind of abortions during second trimester but Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act deals only with the method of abortion and does not mention any time span. All arguments give by those, who support abortion are base on the idea that women should be able to make their own choices about their own lives. Proponents of abortion state that banning abortion will limit the right of women. These arguments are doubtful because women in the contemporary society have different opportunities to plan the birth of the child.
Contemporary methods of contraception give women good chances to plan their future pregnancy and to avoid undesirable pregnancy. Some specialists believe that abortion contradicts to the American Constitution, which guarantees the right for life to all citizens of the country. According to the latest research life of the child starts after fertilization and this way abortion becomes a murder of the human creature. There are debates about the time which should be considered the start of the human life. Till recent time the most common opinion was that the birth of the child is a start of human life.
At the present moment more and more people turn to the opinion that human life starts earlier than the child is born. Specialists believe that the process of fertilization give a beginning to new life. This way during the abortion human creatures are killed and this can be regarded as a crime. Religious arguments constitute another group of reasons against abortion. All Western culture is mainly based on Christian religion, which believes abortions to be morally wrong. Christian faith insists on the human nature of the unborn child and regards abortion as a murder. Actually the Bible does not say anything about abortion.
This argument is often used by the proponents of abortion. In reality during the time when the Bible was written abortion was considered as something inhuman and sinful, so it did not even need official mention in the Bible. The Bible is based on the idea of sanctity of human life. If we step away from Christianity and look at other world religions we will find out that most of them treat fetus like a human creature, who possesses soul. That is why many religions consider abortion to be a murder. Some people insist that the question of abortion banning is raised by the Christian Church only.
It goes without saying that it is true but it is also necessary to take into account that most world religious, cultural and social societies state that abortion can not be accepted from the moral point of view. Among these people are just Catholics or Protestants but also feminists, pagans, atheists and many others. Medical arguments are based on the harm abortions bring to the health of women. In addition medical arguments give additional proves that unborn baby is not a part of female body, but a unique human creature. Embryo has a unique set of chromosomes, which are different from his mother’s ones.
Geneticists can find a difference between DNA of sperm, egg and embryo, but he will not find any difference between DNA of embryo and grown-up person. This one more time proves that embryo is an autonomous human being, which possesses a right for life. Another group of medical arguments centers on the study of processes of life and death. Since the death is usually defined as a stop of heartbeat, in this case a life can be defined as a start of heartbeat. Embryo’s heartbeat starts on the 18th day and this gives reasons to talk about the start of human life on the 18th day after fertilization.
Modern death criteria turn to the stop of brain activity as one of the most important signs of death. Brain activity of embryo starts on the 40s day. If we believe that the cease of brain activity can be a sign of death than the start of this activity can be recognized as a sing of life and this sign appears 40 days after fertilization. The moral and philosophical arguments section examines some of the common reasons given why abortion should be legal. The primary question to be answered is “Is the fetus a person? ” or “When does human personhood begin? Since embryo is defined as a human being by modern medicine, philosophical search is preoccupied with the difference between human being and a person. It is a person, who is protected by the constitutional law, not a human being.
The main question concerned abortion is a time when human creature gets characteristics of a person. Dr. Francis Crick suggests his definition of personhood “a child were considered to be legally born when two days old, it could be examined to see whether it was an ‘acceptable member of human society. ” (Crick, p. 29) Some researches define intelligence as a sign of humanhood but here we again meet the difficulty with making distinctions and defining the moment when intelligence is formed. In addition, if we follow this argument about intelligence, we can also turn to infanticide and euthanasia. Progress and development of the society led mankind to the new realization of the value of human life. Abortion threaten sanctity of human life. It contradicts natural laws, contradicts religion and ethical values. In also contradicts laws of some countries of the world and that is why it should be prohibited. There are religious, philosophical, legal and medical reasons against abortions. All these arguments taken together give enough reason to ban abortion and reconsider existing laws.
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