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Ethical Issues of Abortion Essay

The issue of abortion is perhaps one of the most strongly debated ethical issues in the current society. Abortion is described as a termination of pregnancy and removal of an embryo or a fetus. Abortion may be either induced, when it is an intentional termination of pregnancy, or spontaneous, also well-known as miscarriage. There are different perceptions concerning the issue of whether the induced abortion is ethical, and in what condition it is ethical.

Most abortions are done because the pregnancy was not planned and giving a birth to a child could create a disaster for the woman. The therapeutic abortions are due to a medicinal problem where permitting the pregnancy to go on to full term would cause danger to the health of the mother. Selective abortions, on the other hand, occur in cases where a fetus is alleged as having unwanted characteristics. It is also performed when there are many fetuses in a pregnancy.

There are some varieties of factors that led to abortion depending on culture. Parents may be forced to do an abortion by their culture or other reasons if they find that the unborn baby is a girl yet they need a boy. The act of aborting female fetuses not only stalks from a humiliating mind-set to women but also strengthens it. Astonishingly, this approach to women is so intensely embedded that it is usually found both men and women. It would be easy to consider female infanticide and feticides as antique practices that the modernization of society should quickly finish off (BBC Article, 2012).

Currently, doctors have become more competent to screen embryos for hereditary abnormalities. In a number of cases, the pregnancy might be terminated if a somber genetic shortcoming is found. Likewise, doctors are capable to screen artificially fertilized embryos in order to ensure that merely the healthy ones are entrenched in the womb. These examples raise the issues of abortion, but for many individuals the early phase of the growth where the embryo is shattered makes the issues seem less serious, possibly, because they do not consider the embryo as having obtained the status of an ethical person at that period.

A different selective abortion may occur when the pregnancy concerns several fetuses, and all the fetuses will be in danger of extinction if not one or some are removed. In this case, some of the unborn fetuses need to be aborted for the sake of others. It is a case of typical consequence of fertility treatment.

The ethical and social issues of abortion mainly depend on the culture, geographical location and sometimes religion. Some individuals favor women’s reproductive rights as well as the right to decide to do an abortion or not. There exist the pro-life supporters who may be against abortion for some reasons or who may merely accept abortion in intense conditions, as when the life of the mother would be in danger by carrying a pregnancy. Out of this ethical spectrum, there are pro-choice supporters who consider that the fetus is a prospective human being when it becomes feasible, that is when it is able to stay alive outside the womb of its mother. The fetus does not have legal rights; moreover, the woman carrying the fetus has the right, whether or not to carry the pregnancy in order to complete the term. Pro-life defenders believe that a fetus is a human being starting from its time of conception. Consequently, the fetus has the lawful right to life from the time of conception. There lies a continuum of religious, ethical, cultural and political views between these aspects (eGrejen, n.p, 2011).

A range of ethical opinions has been raised on both sides concerning the issues of abortion, but agreement has never been arrived at because the most vocal pro-life and pro-choice supporters have entirely different opinions about the position of a fetus. The study of fetal growth offers little insight concerning the fetus’s position at the time of conception, which further confounds the matter for both sides. Additionally, the point has changed over the years during pregnancy as soon as the fetus becomes feasible. The reason for this is the medical advances, which make it possible to maintain an untimely baby alive at an early stage. In spite of the most advanced medical care, babies born untimely are more in danger for long-term developmental and medical problems.

Since the earliest times, many religions continued to be against the idea of abortion. According to Christianity, abortion is regarded as a sin in all situations, apart from when an attempt is made to protect the life of a mother, and the loss of the fetus is a secondary result of that attempt. The Islamic also consider abortion as a wrong action, except when it is done to safeguard the life of the mother. According to Hinduism, abortion is seen as a form of violence. The preferred action must be the one that brings least harm to the mother, child, father and the society. Other religions, which are not mentioned here, also oppose abortion (Suyashgoenka, 2009).

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical process used to help infertile couples. The ovaries of a woman are enthused to produce manifold eggs, which are fertilized with the sperm of her partner. This produces a number of fertilized embryos; some are positioned in her womb while the rest are frozen to be used later. In this case, two ethical issues rise. Since numerous embryos are entrenched to augment the likelihood of a successful pregnancy, manifold births can take place. Some couples prefer selective reduction as an alternative, either because they do not need many children, or so as to advance the survival likelihood of the remaining embryos. If these embryos are ultimately detached from the storage and disposed, it could be considered as abortion. Legislation like Texas Prenatal Protection Act regards such removal an illegal killing except for restricted circumstances.

Some people argued that the fetus has the right to life since it is a potential human being. The argument about potential human being gives the unborn the right to life from the earliest stage of growth. There is certainty that a fertilized egg is a probable human being, if the pregnancy completes its full term, it will be born as a human baby. Potential properties are not the equivalent to the actual properties and neither are the potential rights the same as the actual rights. Children are potential adults; therefore, this does not grant them the same obligations or rights as adults. The rights of a potential individual are merely potential rights. They will become actual rights when an individual becomes an actual individual (BBC, Ethics guide. n.p, 2012).

For many centuries, abortion was forbidden in most countries of the world. Nevertheless, in the final half of the 20th century, abortion was not simply accepted, it was embraced. With the waning influence of Christian morals, and the rejection of Biblical morality, several turned to lenient sexual behavior and the reproductive rights become a cry as women discarded traditional gender responsibilities. On the other hand, immoral men sought satisfaction without any consideration for the outcome. Consequently, amid dreads of worldwide overpopulation, governments started to subsidize and sometime even require abortion as a means of birth control (Douglas, 2005).

The combination of emotional political confrontations medical ambiguities has led to substantial antagonism in the debate of abortion. However, the lines among pro-life and pro-choice are indistinct, and the issue is less polarized. Several women, who regard themselves as pro-life defenders, are anxious about potential threats to the reproductive rights and the risk of allowing the state to decide what medical options are accessible to them. Likewise, numerous pro-choice supporters are intensely distressed by the act of abortion and seek to reduce its use through improved edification about birth control. The ethical and social issues of abortion can best be sum up as restrictions that will either allow or forbid abortion.

A person who had masculine attitudes, traits, and values would naturally prefer abortion, and substantiate it ethically in the same way that most feminists do. On the other hand, a person possessing feminine attitudes, traits and values will not make such option or justify it in any way. Feminist contemplation about abortion has been intensely permeated by individualism, which they fervently criticize. The woman is assumed to have the solitary authority to choose the result of the pregnancy. If sympathy nurturance and taking responsibility for caring for others are attributes of the feminine voice, abortion will not emerge to be a feminine reaction to an unwanted pregnancy. It is quite striking that feminists protecting abortion slip so fast into speaking in a masculine voice. Among the feminists trying to defend and articulate the importance of the feminine voice, few have made some solemn effort to grapple with abortion (Celia, 1993).

Although, human being is genetically very alike to the evolutionarily connected nonhuman hominids, relative studies propose an astonishing number of exclusively human differences in the severity and occurrence of biomedical conditions. Some differences are as a result of anatomical transformations, which took place during human evolution. Nevertheless, many cannot be described either by identified environmental factors or these changes (Varki et al., 2011).


BBC, Article (2012). Selective abortion. Retrieved from

This article addresses selective abortion and several reasons, which pro-choice supporters give in regard to abortion. There are ethical issues addressed concerning cultural practices and beliefs that contribute abortion. It argues that a number of cultures allow abortion if it is found that the unborn baby is a girl.

BBC, Ethics guide. n.p. (2012). Potential human, potential rights. Retrieved from

The article gives an explanation of potential human and the potential rights of the fetus. It further argues and justifies that a potential human does not have the same rights as an actual human. Moreover, the rights of a potential human are potential rights and not the actual rights.

Celia, W. (1993). Abortion and the “Feminine Voice.” Retrieved from

The author focuses his readers’ attention on masculine and feminine perspective in regards to abortion. It argues that individuals with masculine traits prefer abortion that individuals with feminine traits. The author outlines the effort of the feminine force regarding the fight against abortion.

Douglas, S. (2005). Abortion: A modern holocaust? Cover story. Retrieved from

This article discusses the issues of abortion based on the historic perspective, global view and Biblical understanding. It further gives reasons given by the supporters of abortion as well as the argument of the anti-abortion supporters.

Suyashgoenka (2009). Abortion- ethical issue. Retrieved from

The author highlights several ethical issues related to abortion. He also discusses religious view regarding abortion and the potential issues that arise due to abortion. The article contains a description of two different types of abortion.

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