For a very long time now the issue of abortion has been one of the most controversial and issues on the planet pitying two major sides. On one side pro-lifers insist that it is immoral and amounts to murdering an innocent child while pro-abortionists argue that is just a form of birth control and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it as all children should be born when they are wanted.
The numerous legislations, policies by governments and even hard-line stands by some organizations like the church have overtime made this subject more controversial instead of offering solutions and at one point one may argue that there would never be a consensus on the abortion issue.
The debate on abortion is likely to go on for several years unless the tough stands taken by both pro lifers and anti abortionists are softened. Those for or against abortion have to find ways of accommodating the views of each other regarding the issue. This paper will evaluate the issues surrounding the abortion debate while at the same time seek to find solutions to the conflicting ideas.
There are several arguments that one forward in support of abortion. First of all, any birth of a child should occur when the parents want and not by chance (Potts, et al. 229). This way it would go a long way in assisting the world to have an environment where all children that are born in this world have an environment conducive for good development.
There is no need of inflating the world with many children who cannot have access to basic needs like adequate clothing, food, shelter and education. It should also be noted that when a person decides to carry out an abortion it is not out of her dislike for children but because she feels that it would not be a wise decision to proceed with the pregnancy as it is still not yet the right time to have a baby (Potts, et al. 229).
In the case of rape or incest keeping a pregnancy is obviously very traumatizing to the person raped as no one would wish to keep a child that is a result of this and the best solution to this problem would be to abort the unborn child.
For the case of rape the emotional effects of the occurrence are too traumatizing and take time to heal and some rape victims do not actually recover at all. Adding a child to the rape victim is like adding more salt to a wound and would be a constant reminder that is likely to add more emotional trauma to the victim (Khoster 35).
Many studies on the morality or immoralities of abortion have found that some of those against the morality of abortion tend to agree that it is acceptable to abort a pregnancy that is a result of rape.
For instance the gullap poll carried out in Canada found only 13% of the respondents were against the practice completely while interestingly a whooping 65% were of the view that it is acceptable to abort an unwanted pregnancy in certain conditions like if it is a result of rape (Flanagan 130)
There has also been an unending debate on the exact time that a fetus acquires life and becomes a person with rights and ability to have feelings (Sather 159). Sather further argues that before the 24th– 28th week, the fetus has not yet acquired human features and it does not amount to murder if you perform an abortion before this time.
Pro- lifers led by the Catholic Church insist that life begins at conception and anyone who is found guilty of having performed an abortion could be excommunicated from the church because of committing a murder (Kohmescher 137). That is not all several studies to when life actually stars in the case of an unborn child have resulted in conflicting dates.
The impending stand off as to when a person can and cannot have an abortion have left it possible for anyone to conduct an abortion since it is not clear as to when life begins and as so long as a woman feels that she cannot have a baby she has the freedom to do it since it is not yet clear when eh life of a person begins.
Sometimes complications can occur to a pregnancy that may put the life of the mother or unborn child in danger and even at times all of them. In this case abortion ought to be permitted in order to save the physical health of the mother although some of those advocating for abortion have often argued that the mental health of the mother ought to be included when talking about health (white & Baldwin 113).
At this point the life of the mother is given first consideration as the fetus cannot survive without the mother and in any case chances are that the mother can always get other children if she wants but there is no way a fetus can survive on its own leave alone getting other parents which is impossible.
There are several disadvantages of abortion that are argued out by pro-lifers. Infact, most of the books on the subject are mostly in support of the disadvantages of abortion as compared to the advantages. According to Koster abortion is only a temporary and irrational decision that make women feel that they have gotten some relief to an unwanted child against chances of permanent loss of infertility (Koster 304).
She further argues that although removing an unwanted pregnancy may somehow offer relief to the woman the possibility of becoming infertile especially if the operation was performed by an unqualified person is very great and once you loose your fertility there is zero chance that you will regain it.
Even when performed by a qualified medical doctor there is a chance that complications may arise just like in some medical procedures and if this happens you could definitely loose your fertility. Infact interviews conducted on women who had complications when performing an abortion revealed that a majority of them had lost the ability to conceive or hard a miscarriage (Koster 304)
The relief that one feels after procuring an abortion is usually short-lived and it dies after some time leading to a permanent feeling of guilt and sadness. Infact in most of the times this feeling of relief is just a deliberate attempt by the psychology of a person to delete the feeling of guilt and shame that creeps in immediately one procures an abortion (Holman 321).
Holman further adds that although most of the legislation and policies concerning abortion allow the practice in the case of schoolgirls the idea that you once killed part of you is not likely to go away and will haunt you forever.
A lot of pro-lifers would definitely equate abortion to murder and it is therefore morally wrong and should be outlawed. Genovesi defines murder as an intentional act of taking away the life of a human being (Genovesi 340). Fro this he further adds that since the fetus of a person has life then taking it away will amount to killing it, which is same as murder.
Of course from this reason arguments are bound to arise as to when the life of a person actually begins. To all Christians led by the Catholic Church it is completely unacceptable to allow a person to take away another person’s life for whichever reason and at whatever stage in life as it is still murder.
The late Pope john Paul is on record as having condemned the practice and even stating that it would threaten the freedom and dignity of mankind as it promotes a culture of accepting death as a normal thing (Zastrow & Kirst 82)
Procuring an abortion is not the only solution in the event of an unwanted pregnancy as the child could also be put to adoption. It is estimated that in all married couples in the United States alone, between 10% -15% of them do not have the ability to have children (Grunlan 217).
This figure is so high that more and more Americans are turning to other countries overseas in order to get children of their own and as Grunlan further adds; this figure has been increasing in the recent years as more mothers turn to abortion as a way of controlling birth.
Furthermore as Zastrow & Kirst add, in this age where there are so many available contraceptive methods; there should be very minimal unwanted pregnancies that warrant the need to abort a baby who has already been conceived (Zastrow & Kirst 82).
The main concern in the abortion controversy is whether it is morally and ethically right or wrong. Ethics and morality are discussed greatly in unit one of the course.
In unit one the main issue discussed is how to know what is right and what is wrong. As argued by Aristotle in part of the course, for to become ethical he should first reason well and have good character and total happiness can only be achieved if people are ethical.
The abortion debate centers on ethics in that while those who are for abortion argue that it offers a solution to lots of problems that could be brought about by having unwanted children, those against it argue that this relief is only temporary.
Unit three of the course is mainly on how to live a good life as Christians. In this essence part of the unit deals on acceptable Christian virtues and values. One such virtue is having unconditional love towards others. On abortion it is argued that when one performs an abortion automatically she does not have love for that child regardless of the conditions.
Moreover all Christians have an obligation to preserve human life and have respect for Gods creations and failure to do so is a sin. People are also supposed to think critically of their actions and be held accountable to these actions and as discussed in the unit they should avoid searching for quick fix solutions to problems facing them.
The Catholic Church has been the most vocal in speaking against abortion for a long time and as it stands there is no chance that this tough stand will be reverted. In the book catholic morality and human sexuality, the author argues that immediately after fertilization, the resulting zygote has human features and should be respected as a human being. Removing it from the uterus amounts to murder (Genovesi 344).
Furthermore if you reject human life at any point it is like rejecting God as humans are created in the image of God (Ferrara & Ireland 20). Accepting abortion has been argued by the church as accepting a culture of death and living without Jesus Christ as it amounts t killing an innocent creature of God who has not yet performed any sin.
Even in cases of rape or incest, the church does not permit abortion (Kohmescher 138). In this case a woman may seek treatment immediately after the incident but not abortion weeks after the incident and even if the pregnancy is a threat to human life there should be an attempt to save both lives human lives are sacred and equal before God an none is more special to the other.
As it stands today it seems the debate on abortion will not come to an end soon. The stands taken by both the pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists are so rigid and there have not been any attempts to build a consensus.
For instance the church will certainly not relent on its claim that abortion is a murder and therefore a capital sin while pro- abortionists argue that having a child should be a choice. The conflicting policies by different governments regarding the issue have added more controversy to this subject instead of offering guidelines.
There should be efforts to provide a clear policy on this issue that would be acceptable in the whole world through an international body like the United Nations. Apart from that the church and other bodies that are anti abortion ought to soften their stand in some incidences like rape which are too traumatizing.
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