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The Morality of Abortion: Is it Murder

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    By the time you finish reading this paragraph an innocent unborn child has been put to death. We as a culture have developed pretty clear parameters between what is right and what is wrong. This culture is constantly evolving every day but we generally keep the same ideas about morals, it is wrong to kill, steal, etc. But there are a few gray areas when talking about morals, one big topic being, abortion. The frequency of abortions have only been increasing with time. According to all.org there are about 219 abortions for every 1,000 live births and a child is aborted every thirty seconds. In 2014, there were a total of 926,000 abortions. Is getting an abortion considered murder or is it simply one changing their body? Abortion is an immoral act and it should be limited to only certain circumstances.

    Killing people has always been morally wrong. A huge argument for the pro-life side is that getting an abortion is essentially murder because you are killing a future person. Being unborn, you are not only aborting a future human, you are killing an innocent life that can go on to accomplish wonderful things. The reaction to this argument is often that the fetus is not considered a person. The pro-choice side argues that personhood does not start until after the child is born. So when is a fetus considered human? This has been a extensive debate for many years and it seems there is still no solid answer.

    There is often speculation about when a child is considered a person. The Catholic Church believes that at the moment of conception, a human embryo is given a soul and therefor, has all the rights that a living person has. In the Catholics’ eyes killing this embryo is not only murdering an innocent life, it is also denying the chance for God’s creation to take place. In the eyes of Catholics, this is considered sinning against God and is deemed immoral. According to John T. Noonan, at the moment of conception there is a drastic increase that a mature human will form. He proves this because even as a small embryo, it still has complete DNA to form into a functioning human. Therefor, personhood begins at conception. The common counterargument to these claims is that a baby is not considered a person until birth and since it is unborn it does not have a right to life. The pro-choice side does agree that is is wrong to kill an innocent person, but they do not recognize an abortion as killing an innocent person.

    For one to get an abortion they can meet at an abortion clinic to discuss if they should get an abortion and which plan would be right for them. Currently there is little regulation on getting an abortion and individuals can undergo an abortion if they feel it is right for them. For the abortion, there are many different procedures including taking a pill, vacuum-aspiration, dilation and evacuation, and dilation and extraction. If patients choose to take the pill, they can take it at home and have the abortion at their home. The vacuum-aspiration is common for the first twelve to thirteen weeks of pregnancy. During the procedure, the cervix is occasionally kept open using a medical tool called a speculum. The doctor will “insert a small tube attached to either a hand-held syringe or a suction machine into [the] uterus, and clear out its contents” (WebMD). If the woman is past 12 weeks she will undergo dilation and evacuation. This process is very similar to the vacuum-aspiration but they will also scrape the inside of the uterus. The last type of abortion is called dilation and extraction. The process is the same process as dilation and evacuation although, it is riskier for the mothers health to do an abortion too late in the pregnancy. It is also unethical to do a late abortion because the fetus will start to feel pain around week twenty. According to Jeremy Bentham, anything that causes pain is bad and anything that causes pleasure is good. This seems like a simple statement but when you are considering what happens to an innocent life, the statement can apply.

    There are a couple reasons why some women decide to get an abortion, some of the reasons can be either immoral or permissible. If a woman were to get an abortion because the baby is causing some kind of harm that would be permissible. Because even though the baby has a right to life, the woman also has a right to life. If the baby was causing direct harm to the mother it would make sense to abort the child because the woman’s life is equally important. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, believes that the goal of society should be to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Performing an abortion is likely to cause sadness for a number of people but to let the mother of the child die would most likely cause more sadness. Therefor in this case, in the eyes of a utilitarian, an abortion would be the right thing to do.

    A great issue with abortion is whether or not it is a case of a right to life or rather a woman’s right to her own body. If the baby is unborn does it get a right to life even if it cannot communicate with anyone? The belief that a child does not get a right to life just because it is not born yet is absurd. We have regulations to testing on animals because they cannot communicate with us, an unborn child should be no different. Everyone should have the right to life, and to deprive one of the gift of life before they are even born is unethical.

    If an abortion is to be preceded who gets a say in it? Is it solely the mother’s decision or does the father also get a say in it? Imagine there is a man and a woman in a relationship. The man is under the impression that the woman wants kids but she really does not. The woman gets pregnant and wants to abort the child but the man wants to keep the child. Currently the man gets little or no say in the abortion even though it is his child too. Findlaw states that “while both prospective fathers and pregnant women have an interest in the decision, when the two disagree, only one partner’s position can prevail. According to the Court, since the woman actually carries the pregnancy, ‘the balance weighs in her favor,’ preventing the husband from vetoing her choice” (Findlaw). The fact that fathers do not get a say in whether or not their child gets to live is unethical and it should be a mutual agreement between the two.

    Should a woman be responsible for a baby that she did not plan because she was raped? This is a very heavy question in the debate on abortion. No doubt, the man should be in prison, but what happens to the baby is a difficult situation. If aborting a baby is considered murder then it would be deemed wrong and most would argue two wrongs do not make a right. Therefor would aborting the baby make it morally wrong? This should be one of the chances where the woman gets to choose to have the baby or not. Most women would abort the baby but she could put the baby up for adoption to give the child a chance at life. Although aborting the baby may be morally wrong, it is also morally wrong to force a woman to give birth to a rapist’s child. In this case, aborting the baby may be the right call of action to create less sadness.

    The main cause of abortion is because people do not want to keep the baby because they are unprepared, are too immature, or lack the financial status. “In 2004, the Guttmacher Institute anonymously surveyed 1,209 post-abortive women from nine different abortion clinics across the country” (qtd abort73.com). The survey found that 25% of the women abort because they were not ready for a baby, 23% cannot afford a baby, 19% were done having children, 8% do not want to be a single mother, 7% were not mature enough to have a child, and 4% would interfere with a career/education. To put this in perspective, 86% of these abortions were done for the selfish wants of the parents. They could easily give up the child for adoption but refused and because of that, a future child lost their life. The thought that the country is losing hundreds of thousands of innocent babies a year is sickening. In that group there could have been someone that would have changed the world but instead was put to death because the parents of the child did not want it.

    With the enhancement of technology we now have the ability to recognize certain disabilities when a child is still developing in the womb. Many choose to have an abortion so that they do not have to deal with having a disabled child. Although aborting a disabled child could be convent for some parents, this can imply that disabled peoples’ lives are less important than people without a disability. Sometimes this is viewed as mercy, where the child does not have to live a life being disabled, but this is far from mercy. Once you abort a child, all future that the child has is gone. In that future, it can contain certain hardships that abortion would seem like a good option, but aborting a life would destroy any experience good or bad. Since life has both good and bad experiences, aborting a child would not only prevent the bad experiences, it would also prevent any good experiences from happening. Aborting a disabled child can also be viewed as discrimination against people with disabilities. Following discrimination against people with disabilities, “allowing abortion of a fetus with a disability permits eugenic abortion – abortion to eliminate disabling genes from the human race” (BBC 2014). Permitting eugenic abortion would essentially give people the power of eliminating a certain type of people from the gene pool. This is extremely unethical as it denies a certain kind of person the right to life, which everyone is entitled to.

    Not only can a woman suffer from physical effects from an abortion they can also extreme some serious emotional and psychological effects. From americanpregnancy.org some of the physical effects one can experience are abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, spotting and bleeding. Some of the more serious physical effects that come from late term abortions according to americanpregnancy.org are heavy or persistent bleeding, infection or sepsis, damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus, damage to other organs, and death. As these are very serious, many seem to gloss over the fact that emotional damage can be just as dangerous as the physical damage. Women who go through an abortion can a sense of regret, anger, guilt, shame, loneliness or isolation, loss of self confidence, insomnia or nightmares, relationship issues, suicidal thoughts and feelings, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. According to Jeremy Bentham, the goal in any action should be to create the most happiness for everyone considered. With all the complications in abortion, with all the possible side effects, abortion would be deemed morally wrong in the eyes of a utilitarian.

    On Dec 13, 1971, one of the biggest arguments about abortion began with Jane Roe. Roe wanted to terminate her pregnancy but, Roe being a resident in Texas was not permitted because of the anti-abortion laws in Texas. One could not get an abortion unless the baby threatened the mother’s life. The court eventually ruled in the favor of Roe because the court decided that it is a right to privacy to get an abortion, although the right to privacy is not directly in the Constitution. As a result of this dispute, the laws of 46 states were affected. Woman now has total authority over the first trimester, the second and third trimester still have some state interest. Should mothers be able to have unregulated abortions if it is only the first trimester? Abortion could turn into a kind of contraceptive. This would be unethical because it is playing with the lives of children for one’s own gain.

    Under oath doctors swear to the Hippocratic oath that they will do not harm and they will always try to preserve life. A doctor performing an abortion goes directly against the oath and therefor, the doctor cannot perform the abortion. Because the doctor cannot perform the abortion, those who wish to get an abortion must go to an abortion clinic with less experienced workers. Not only is this more risky for the mother but these abortion clinics are profiting off mothers’ abortions. Since these mothers are paying for the abortions the clinics are directly profiting off the babies’ death. It is extremely unethical to profit off of any kind of death so these clinics need regulations put in place.

    In the United States, adoption is heavily outnumbered by abortions due to the fact that people think that abortions will be easier, although adoption can be just as easy, if not easier. One of the misconceptions of abortion is that it will cost less, but some adoption agencies will actually let you put your child up for adoption for free. Some women are worried about their confidentiality about giving up their child, that is why they often look to abortion because it is confidential but adoption is also completely confidential. Another plus to adoption over abortion is it will not make the mothers feel as guilty. In fact, some agencies will allow the parents to have an open-adoption, where they can see the child if they want. Not only will you be giving the child up to a loving home, but you can also give couples that cannot have kids, the gift of being a parent. This choice would make the mother feel much better about herself. Having an abortion can make the mother feel guilty, but putting the child up for adoption would give them a chance at life and also a loving home. In the eyes of a utilitarian, this would be the best choice because not only is it better for the mother and her health, but it also give the child a life and some parents the gift of a child.

    Abortion does not have to go away completely, there just have to be changes put in place. There needs to be some amount of regulation on abortion so no one can abuse the method. Abortion should only be allowed during the first trimester, except for certain circumstances. Abortions in the second and third trimester can cause complications for the mother so they should be avoided unless an abortion is needed for the health of the mother. The regulation on the first trimester should be reserved for extremes. For example, if the baby is causing the mother harm, that would be an acceptable reason to perform an abortion. Another acceptable reason would be if the mother was raped, because she did not consent to having the baby, therefor it would be unethical to force the mother to have the baby. Abortion in the first trimester should not be allowed if the mother simply does not want the baby because that would be killing an innocent life for the benefit of the mother.

    Life is a gift and it should be respected and protected at all times. Abortion takes the gift of life and turns it into something that is an inconvenience for people. Today, abortion is viewed as a ‘way out’ of pregnancy but it really should only be seen as a last resort for the safety of the mother. Since abortion is an immoral act, it should be limited to only certain circumstances and should be restricted otherwise. Life is a gift, do not let the abortion clinics make profit off of the deaths of the innocent. For the safety of society and the protection of life, let the innocent children live.

    Works Cited

    1. “Abortion Statistics.” American Life League, www.all.org/learn/abortion/abortion-statistics/.
    2. “Ethics – Abortion: Disability in the Foetus.” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/ philosophical/disability.shtml.
    3. “Fathers’ Rights and Abortion.” Findlaw, family.findlaw.com/paternity/fathers-rights-and- abortion.html.
    4. “Possible Physical Side Effects After Abortion.” American Pregnancy Association, 3 Sept. 2016, americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/abortion-side-effects/.
    5. ‘Roe v. Wade.’ Oyez, 9 Dec. 2018, www.oyez.org/cases/1971/70-18.
    6. “U.S. Abortion Statistics.” Abort73.Com / Abortion Unfiltered, 3 Dec. 2018, abort73.com/ abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/.

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