Understanding the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Sides of the Argument in Abortion

Table of Content

When people think of the word “abortion”, a multitude of emotions work their way into people’s minds. Biologically, a newly formed zygote is considered life according to the Cell theory; and the ending of a life is no laughing matter. Because of this, there are many ethical implications that come along with the act of abortion. However, no matter what side one may stand on, it is important to note that abortion has many effects that accompany it. Some of these effects include both physical and psychological effects on the mother.

In contrast to the negative effects on the mother, an aborted fetus is a treasure chest of stem cells waiting to be used for a doctor to cure many deadly diseases. Nevertheless, the use of stem cells from aborted fetus also has these same ethical implications. However, there are other ways that we can still obtain stem cells for the use in medicine and research without the slaying of innocent lives.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

First off, what exactly is abortion? Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. Abortion is one of the most common medical procures in the United States, and an estimated 1.2 million abortions are performed annually. Abortion may occur through either physical or chemical means. With a physical abortion, surgery is required. There are two main types of abortion surgery, the first is the vacuum aspiration method and the second is the dilation and evacuation method.

The vacuum aspiration method uses a gentle suction to remove the fetus from the womb and can be performed while the patient is awake or under general anesthesia. The dilation and evacuation method is used for pregnancies after 15 weeks. This method can only be done while the patient is under general anesthesia as it involves the dilation of the birth canal and the removal of the fetus with the use of forceps. The chemical method involves taking the “abortion pill” (generally mifepristone). This method has its advantages as it does not require surgery; however its main disadvantage lies in the fact that it can only be done early in the pregnancy.

Abortion has many proponents on both the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” sides of the argument. The general “pro-life” argument revolves around the fact that by having an abortion, one is ending the life of another-effectively; abortion is a form of murder.

However, the “pro-choice” counters this argument by stating that a fetus does not constitute as life, as it cannot survive independently of the mother. This is where the issue of abortion enters a grey area and is difficult to argue. But as stated earlier, a fertilized cell is constituted as life according to the Cell theory; therefore it can be considered a form of murder as it is the intentional killing of another person. However, the “pro-choice” counters this with the argument that even though a fetus is alive, it is only a human-not a person. Therefore the taking of an innocent life is permissible.

The “pro-life” also argue that abortions should be illegal because they may harm the women that have them. While most abortions are generally safe, there are few that lead to serious injury and even death. Abortions can also harm a woman emotionally too, and they may live with intense psychological pain throughout their life. Additionally, another major argument from the “pro-life” side is that abortions should be used only in dire situations, not as a form of contraception.

The “pro-choice” side likes to counter this by stating that abortions are rarely used as a form of contraception. However, they are wrong. In many countries (especially developing countries), women do not have access to any forms of birth control and resort to abortion whenever they become pregnant. Lastly, it has been shown that having an abortion early on in one’s life may cause infertility and diminished health effects in the future and should only be used in dire need.

The “pro-choice” argue that abortion is a civil right of women. By relinquishing the right to have an abortion, we are infringing on women’s reproductive rights. Another major argument from the “pro-choice” side is that by allowing abortions to occur, women are allowed to plan their life accordingly, and have a child when they are ready. This especially relates to those of lower income where having an extra mouth to feed may create a burden on the entire famil.

This argument continues to argue about the funding of abortions. Many “pro-choice” individuals believe that tax money should be used to fund abortions as it would be financially cheaper to provide an abortion than to provide welfare for a family for 18 years. This is especially important for teenage moms, who are more likely to drop out of school and rely completely on welfare to raise her child.

Many people believe that abortions are completely safe; however, there are many physical and emotional side effects that occur after an abortion. Some of the common physical complications involve abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding. These side effects may be experience for as long as 2 to 4 weeks after the abortion. There are other physically complications that may occur, albeit rarely. These include: heavy bleeding, damage to the cervix, damage to other organs and possibly death. These serious complications occur in less than 1 out of 100 first trimester abortions, however with the staggering number of abortions performed yearly, thousands of women are put into serious health risks by having an abortion performed.

Abortions can also cause an abundance of emotional effects as well. These emotional side effects “can range from mild regret to more serious complications such as depression”. Some of the more mild complications include feelings of regret, anger, shame and a sense of loneliness. However, the complications grow worse as the list continues. Some of the more serious complications include insomnia, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts. Careful consideration must be taken into account when a woman is contemplating an abortion, as some “women commonly report that the abortion procedure affected them more than they expected”.

It is also important to know the demographics of abortion. Abortion is most frequent in Eastern European countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Russia. Compared to the averages of Western Europe, Eastern Europe had over 3.5 times the ratio of abortions. In fact, in 1994, Russia had the highest abortion rate in the entire world. Even more recently in 2005, Russia had “121 abortions for every 100 births”. So what makes Russia and Eastern European countries have such a high abortion rate? And what can we do to save all these innocent lives from being lost?

The answer is to increase the distribution of contraceptives among the individuals in these countries. Still, there has been significant improvement on the number of abortions in these countries in recent history. For example, in 1970, Russia had 253.4 abortions per 100 births [Sol10]. This makes the statistic from 2005 look puny compared to 1970. Even though there has been such a dramatic decrease in abortions, abortions still heavily outweigh births.

Other demographics include the race of the individual. In America, 40.2% of the women who terminated their pregnancy were African American. However, African Americans only make up about 13.2% of the total population of the United States. With the lowest median income of all races, more African Americans are prone to have an abortion in order to save their family from poverty. Like before, the distribution and proper use of contraceptives could greatly decrease the amount of abortions performed, especially those of lower income households.

However, even with the act of abortion being a form of murder, the aborted fetuses may be of significant importance in the research and medical fields. When a fetus is developing, the cells in its body haven’t decided what type of cell it will become yet. It could grow up to be a heart cell, brain cell or many other various forms of cells in the body. The process in which a cell decides its fate is called differentiation. The cells that have not differentiated yet are called stem cells and can be viable opportunity to study the development of humans.

For example, by studying the biological development of embryonic stem cells, we may be able to find the cause of many birth defects and potentially develop ways to prevent or cure them [Per00]. But the most important use of embryonic stem cells would be their use in the medical field. Because stem cells haven’t taken on their fate yet, they may be used to replace any cell type that is needed. This means that embryonic stem cells could build living tissue if needed, and perhaps replace an entire organ. Embryonic stems cells are also able to divide almost indefinitely, providing an almost unlimited amount of viable cells for use in treating disease.

However, not all embryonic stem cells would be able to function as stated above, only a small amount of cells would be able to perform these critical roles. When a cell begins to differentiate the roles available to it become fewer and fewer. If one was to take the embryonic stem cells from an older fetus, it would not yield as many totipotent stem cells as a newly formed fetus. A totipotent stem cell is a cell that is capable of differentiating into cell type. The embryonic stem cells that have begun their process of differentiation, but can still take on the role of several types of cells are called pluripotent stem cells. These pluripotent cells are still important, but are at a slight disadvantage to their totipotent kin as they may not be able. However, these pluripotent stem cells will become a great factor later on as they can be obtained other ways than from a fetus.

The use of embryonic stem cells is also a major controversy like abortion. Here in the United States, it is extremely difficult to research embryonic stem cells, as they are still related to the ethics of abortion. Regardless of what one’s viewpoint on abortion is, it makes no sense to allow these embryonic stem cells to go to waste. Even if you disagree with abortion, it still occurs and these embryonic stem cells are suitable to be used in research. Why not allow researchers and doctors make use of them rather than just being discarded? Many other countries have less strict laws about embryonic stem cells and encourage their research by providing research grants to scientists. However, embryonic stem cells are not the only source of stem cells.

Adults have a reserve of stem cells located in their bone marrow and other places throughout the body. These cells divided when needed in order to create other cells. However, these cells are not totipotent and can only divide into few cell types. However, there are ways of inducing pluripotency in some adult stem cells, thereby allowing these cells to differentiate into a cell type that is in shortage. Whenever a cell becomes differentiated, the DNA of a cell chemically changes. The cell places methyl groups on specific cytosine molecules in the DNA to mark they have been differentiated. By the methylation of specific parts of the genome, the cell basically completely shuts down specific proteins. This would make sense, as it would not be beneficial for a kindey cell to produce proteins specific for a heart cell.

However, by the use of a drug called 5-azacytidine, these methyl groups can be removed from the DNA, effectively giving it a blank slate again and allowing it to differentiate. This process is not perfect, but there is hope for the future to obtain stem cells without the need to murder a fetus.

Abortion has and will always be a heavily debatable topic. However, there are many pros and cons to consider outside the ethics of abortion. As stated before, the aborted fetuses are stockpiles of embryonic stem cells to be used to study human development and cure once incurable disease. But, it would still be wise to research in ways to induce pluripotency in adult stem cells. If we are successful, we would be able to save individuals with deathly diseases without the use of stealing the embryonic stem cells from an innocent life. On a more grim aspect, abortion presents potentially harmful health complications to the women who receive them.

These complications include both serious physical and emotional effects, such as cervical damage or depression. These side effects can even lead to death! Even though uncommon, these side effects still occur and potentially ruin a woman’s life and should be taken into consideration when one elects to having an abortion. Lastly, the one important thing to remember is that a single cell constitutes life according to the Cell Theory. Even though some may not consider it a “person” is it still right to knowingly take the life of another?

Cite this page

Understanding the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Sides of the Argument in Abortion. (2023, Apr 12). Retrieved from


Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront