Abortion has been defined in many ways. It is shown as a legal action in some definitions based on the choice that a woman makes, having rights over her body. Some lobbies define abortion in ways that clearly argue abortion as an illegal and an immoral act as the rights of the fetus are being violated and it is merely known as killing the fetus.
Killing is much easier than running away or leaving. This statement is a reflection of feelings of many women who undergo abortion of their unborn child. But the question is, do these feelings justify killing an unborn fetus? Abortion has been a controversial debate of the prolife and prochoice groups since many years. Stronger arguments are given by the prolife groups, while choice of a mother has been prioritized by the prochoice group. But it does not matter how many times the topic remains under debate, the fact still remains that abortion is an unethical and an immoral choice. Ethical concerns surrounding abortion include the rights of a fetus and if a woman having a rights over her body can justify finishing the life of a fetus. Some of the main ethical questions that are related to abortion include the following;
1. Can zygotes, embryos and fetuses be regarded as persons, having rights and can they be thought of as persons having legal rights thus legal protection?
2. If zygotes, embryos and fetuses are given the rights of a person than can they be given the right to life?
3. Does fetus, or an embryo gain rights when it is closer to its birth?
4. Does a woman have all the rights that let her determine when and what should be done to her body, even of it comes to killing her fetus?
5. What are the special circumstances in which abortion becomes legal?
Do not kill an innocent. Fetus or an embryo is to be regarded as a person having life and killing them is unethical. When ethical concerns surrounding abortion are taken into consideration than prolife groups opposes abortion. Fetuses are argued as being human beings in the genetic sense but fetuses being persons is a separate debate. There is no doubt about the fact that fetus being an innocent human being can develop into a complete person if allowed to live. Human beings and human persons have distinctions. Persons are characterized by having an ability to communicate, think, make decisions, make reasons and self-motivate. But to be a person with a right to life, there is no need to exhibit these characters. Personhood and the right to life are more based on a being's inherent capacities. It can be added here that any being having the capacity to develop psychological features has the right to life and since human beings have this capacity, thereby starting from the time of conception, they have the right to life.
Individuation is the philosophy brought into light by philosophers as Aquinas. He has argued that starting from the point when the realization of a human identity begins, abortion becomes illegal and unethical. The same point can be emphasized here by arguing that the situation is a derivative of situations in everyday live. There can be someone saying that if my mother had had her abortion in the sixth month of her pregnancy, I would have been killed. In this manner, there are two main facts that can be realized. One is the stage of pregnancy, at which abortion becomes unethical and illegal and second, not having an abortion has led the fetus to develop into a complete person and a human being, who realizes that had he been aborted, he would have been dead. Philosophers have argued that after a period of two weeks of pregnancy, abortion becomes illegal. Scientifically, it is known that a zygote divides into two equal and identical parts in order to make twins and it happens in first two weeks of the pregnancy, which means that the identity of an individual is decided at this very stage at which abortion becomes an unethical process.
Not even women rights activists are in favor of abortion. In some cases, it has been highlighted that abortion geos against feminist beliefs. Women activists are thinking and pondering over practical solutions that can help in solving the issues that make women get abortions.
Secondly, the estimated cost of abortion is higher than expected. In U.S. alone, public health hospitals treat more than 45000 women each year for abortions costing more than U.S.$19 million (Feinberg, and Feinberg, 2010).
Third important argument relates to the legalization of abortion. There is no doubt about the fact that because of legalization, back alley abortions taking place illegally will than shift in the front offices, causing no difference in the rates of criminal abortions. Rather, an increase in the rates of abortion will be observed. Other than what the laws of the states and countries say and how philosophers think about abortion, it is important to learn the set of arguments and facts about abortion given in the Natural Law.
Natural law and Abortion
Natural Law includes God given truths that deal with moral, ethical and logical beliefs that cannot be changed and Roman Catholic Church has a firm belief on these truths. Currently the 'right to life' principle gains more importance as compared to other arguments given against abortion. A set of arguments have been given by St. Thomas Aquinas relating to the importance of abortion in Natural Law. He has argued in Summa (Kainz, 2004) that natural law in relation to the principle of life is first rule of Natural law. The law has argued that all beings have the right to live (Kainz, 2004). When this principle is applied to normal human beings, it is referred to as the law of self-preservation. Self-preservation means that all human beings have an instinctive tendency to take care and nurture themselves having the right to live making sure that they maintain their existence. The rationale to live can be demoted but only in the presence of strongly devaluing conditions. The main duty of an individual who believes in the natural law is to believe in and respect the tendency of all human beings to live and nurture to live better. An importance of these tendencies can only be given up when there are lethal aggressions being taken up by the individual himself.
Second important percept of natural law is to nurture and provide for their offerings. This percept not only stands for the human beings but also for the animals. In case of the human beings, more care and nourishment is required as compared to the animals, in this manner, the requirements set by offspring of the humans are more stringent. This part of the law highlights that there is an instinctive desire in the human beings to have babies and offsprings and having an increased energy that can be used in upbringing their children, even if a personal sacrifice is required.
There is a set of arguments that challenge that this may not be the real law of nature. To this, Aquinas has given empirical proofs. Inclinations and emotions are the main proof of the truth of this law highlighting that the love of parents is powerful for their offsprings, no matter how many setbacks are faced by this love.
These two precepts of the natural law have a strong stand against abortion. Law relating to the respect for life talks about an offspring of a human being in a more general way, while the second precept talks about taking care of the offspring. Here, it can be seen that as compared to the first law, second law is more important and is much more relevant to the case of abortion as it openly opposes a woman's act of exterminating her offspring. Thereby, in accordance to the second law of nature, abortion is deemed as something contrary to nature.
Prohibition of abortion needs to be included in the legislation. But, under certain conditions, prohibition will eventually be unenforceable. Here, prohibition of abortion is related to the protection of legal rights, and correction of unlawful actions. In these cases, if there are viable laws against abortion, enforceability of such laws can occur. Here, the main fact that needs to be highlighted is that the law can tolerate abortion when it takes place in private realms. By this means, the question of enforceability remains.
Prohibition of abortion has gained an increased support from pro-choice groups. Gallup poll data collected between the years 2004 and 2009 shows that more than 70% of the Americans believe in the prohibition of abortion, adding that abortion should be allowed only in certain cases that include threat to the life of the mother, rape and incest.
Roman Catholics categorize abortion as an unethical act starting from the moment of conception. This main point has been rejected by the developmental…