Abortion should remain legal


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Abortion is an exceptionally contentious issue that has been frequently argued over for the past few decades and will most likely continue to be debated for many years to come. Before we delve into the controversial aspects of abortion, we must first define what abortion is. Abortion is the destruction of the fetus or unborn child while it is still in the mother’s womb. This procedure can be performed by anyone, from the mother herself to back alley abortionists and even clinics set up specifically for this purpose.

The abortion controversy involves two major aspects: PRO-LIFE, which includes the idea that abortion is unethical and illegal, and PRO-CHOICE, which is comprised of the idea of freedom of choice, specifically a woman’s right to choose if she wants to have an abortion. The supporters of these two conflicting abortion ideologies suggest different solutions to the problem. The pro-life answer to this dilemma is based on ethical and moral values and stresses the importance of having the child and essentially living with it. The pro-choice supporters advocate for abortions because of reasons they feel are appropriate, and the bottom line of their arguments is Kantian philosophy[1].

Statistics of abortion:

Millner and Hanks (2002) have provided various statistics on abortion. Their research findings state, “There were over 1 million abortions in the United States in 1994. The U.S. leads most European countries, as well as Australia and Canada, in abortion rates. More than 88% of abortions in the U.S. were performed before 12 weeks of gestation, with adolescents more likely to abort in later stages of pregnancy than women older than 19 years of age.”

Issues regarding the ethics of abortion are not new to the world; rather, they are an age-old debate. But attitudes towards abortion became more liberal in the 20th century. By the 1970s, abortion had been legalized in most European countries and Japan. In the United States, under a 1973 Supreme Court ruling, abortions are permitted during the first six months of pregnancy.

In another decision, Stenberg et al. v. Carhart, the Supreme Court gave the same decision. It states that:

The Constitution offers basic protection to a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113; Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833. Before fetal viability, a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy (id., at 870 – joint opinion), and a state law is unconstitutional if it imposes an undue burden” on the woman’s decision, meaning it has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the woman’s path (id., at 877). Postviability, the State may regulate, and even proscribe, abortion in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, except where “necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the [mother’s] life or health” (id., at 879). The Nebraska law at issue prohibits any “partial birth abortion” unless that procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life. It defines “partial birth abortion” as a procedure in which the doctor “partially delivers vaginally a living unborn child before killing the…child” (STENBERG et al. v. CARHART).

Although the above-mentioned court decisions upheld the ideas of the Pro-Choice group, there is no real answer to this controversy.

Pro-life views:

Pro-life views are conventional and are based on ecclesiastic notions that a fertilized ovum is human” from the time of conception. The Catholic Church illustrates this belief with examples from the Bible and other religious scripts. For example, it considers the following verse from the Bible: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20.13).

For thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book, they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalms 139:13-16)

Therefore, the aforementioned verses clearly state the point of view of the Church. The Roman Catholic Church has officially taken a rigid stance against the unethical aspect of abortion.

Some of those who are pro-life will allow abortion in these cases because they don’t know what else they can do for the victim and accept it as a rare case. However, it is known that allowing abortion in these cases usually does not help the victim; instead, it only worsens the problem because the victim’s needs are not being met. What happens after a victim has an abortion? Jackie Baker, a victim, states: “I soon discovered that the aftermath of my abortion continued a long time after the memory of my rape had faded. I felt empty and horrible. Nobody told me about the emptiness and pain I would feel deep within, causing nightmares and deep depressions. They all told me that after the abortion, I could continue with my life as if nothing ever happened.” (Reardon 21-22)

Another argument that supports the claim of pro-life adherents is that the main stress factors that a woman undergoing abortion faces are not only contending with her personal values and belief system, but also facing the rigid opinions of society around her. Women are not the only ones who undergo the turmoil and stress of abortion. Kalish (2004) writes that men whose partners undergo abortion feel a lingering weight from the experience but have no socially sanctioned means of talking about their emotions.” In other words, as society does not establish that men also undergo a tremendous amount of stress, shock, fear, and guilt during the process of abortion, no societies or groups are present to help these men through a difficult time in their lives. Thus, a number of men often deny themselves the experience of grieving.

Pro-choice view:

Pro-choice has a different view on the whole abortion controversy. Pro-choice believes that it is a person’s right to have an abortion if they want to and that no one should interfere with that right. However, according to the Kantian mode, it is believed that even a baby is not a human being until sometime after birth. Therefore, literature regarding the Kantian mode states that a human being is someone who has the ability to think for oneself. This ability is believed to develop sometime after birth. Similarly, some researchers believe that in order to have the status of a human being,” it is mandatory to be accepted into society at large (Watkins, 2005). Pro-choice has many other reasons for feeling this way.
The most frequent motive for abortions is when contraception fails to impede the way of unwanted pregnancy. The question arises: what should be the next step of an individual when the birth control method fails? Statistics show that malfunctions of different contraceptive measures led to 1.6 to 2 million of the 3.3 million unwanted pregnancies in the United States in 1987. These pregnancies account for about half of the 1.5 million abortions performed every year.

Boonin (2003) states in his book, A Defense of Abortion, that abortion prevents the unwanted financial burden for poor parents. Additionally, it helps to avoid disturbance in the career and/or education of parents, especially in the case when the parents are very young. Abortion also prevents an unwed mother from societal disgrace and unwanted births, such as in the case when a pregnancy occurs due to the failure of contraceptive methods. Furthermore, advocates of the ethical nature of abortion believe that it prevents a child from leading a life of utter desolation, in which the parents may have one of any of a number of the above-mentioned issues.

Another positive impact is maturity. How might a person mature because of their abortion experience? Well, the most obvious example of maturity is that after an abortion, the person usually changes their bad habits. Pro-Choice also believes that it is the moral right for a person to be able to control their own body, whether it is having a baby or destroying it.


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In conclusion, in the past, decisions regarding abortion were a result of moral values and human rights. However, in today’s world, emphasis is placed on health and personal choice. Additionally, it is difficult to formulate a specific code of conduct for a subject such as this, where conflict occurs on a wide myriad of issues, such as religion, society, and law. However, the stance of society at large on the issue of induced abortion is steadily changing. There is a need to tolerate and accept the different viewpoints of one another, in addition to a requirement to develop a middle ground regarding ethics and abortion.


Abortion. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press.


Boonin, David. A Defense of Abortion. University of Cambridge, 2002.

Gillon R. Is there a ‘new ethics of abortion’?” Journal of Medical Ethics, 2001, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 5-9.

Kalish, Stacy. Lingering Thoughts about Abortion: Male Grief Is Hidden.”

Psychology Today, Vol. 37, No. 3, p. 14, 2004.

Reron, David C. Rape, Incest, and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths.


Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 1973.


Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska, et al. (2000)


Millner, V.S. and Hanks, R.B. Induced Abortion: An Ethical Conundrum for Counselors.” Journal of Counseling and Development, 2002, vol. 80, no. 1, p. 57.

Throckmorton, T. Abortion and Mental Health. Title: The Washington Times. (January)

21, 2006. A13.

Watkins, Christine. The Ethics of Abortion. Detroit: Thomas Gale, 2005.

[1] Kantian philosophy states that a baby is not considered human until some months after his or her birth (Gillon, 2001).
[2] The Columbia Encyclopedia explains the history of abortion as follows: Abortion induced by herbs or manipulation was used as a form of birth control in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome and probably earlier. In the Middle Ages in Western Europe, it was generally accepted in the early months of pregnancy. However, in the 19th century, opinions about abortion changed. In 1869, the Roman Catholic Church prohibited abortion under any circumstances. In England and the United States, stringent anti-abortion laws were passed in the 19th century” (Abortion, 2004).

[3] This line of battle in the controversy over abortion has long been clearly discerned by the Supreme Court in 1973 when the court ruled in the Roe v. Wade” decision, establishing abortion as a fundamental right. It declared that most laws against abortion violate a constitutional right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment. It is one of the most controversial cases in U.S. Supreme Court history, generating much hue and cry in the media and social circles.

[4] According to a recent newspaper article on the mental health of women who undergo abortion, it has been stated that the mental response of women to abortion varies significantly. The nature of a woman’s response (i.e., the manner in which she is able to sustain the emotional shock of abortion) is dependent on a number of factors, such as pre-existing mental health conditions, the quality of the relationship with the father of the aborted child, and whether the pregnancy was wanted or unwanted by the woman (Throckmorton, 2006).

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Abortion should remain legal. (2016, Jun 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/abortion-should-remain-legal/