Medical Ethics and Abortion
Abortion is a global issue that is debated by all groups of individuals. Most arguments tend to refer to medical ethics either supporting or criticizing the legalization of abortion in a country. Sometimes, life conditions can be harsh towards individuals, and they are forced to make complicated decisions, which sometimes lead to negative consequences. Thereby, making the right life-changing decision is never easy. In the abortion debate, many people argue that killing a baby should be considered as a crime. Others claim that it is the right of the mother. In my opinion, human beings should not be allowed to decide whether a fellow human being lives or dies. Discussing the pros and cons of the issue, one may see conclude that abortion should be legalized as it supports the women’s right to determine their future deciding whether they are able to care for a baby with possible disabilities or not. Thus, women should be allowed to decide whether they should have an abortion.
First, legalizing abortion protects the rights of the mothers. By virtue of being human, the pregnant mothers have a right to determine what is the best option for them and create a preferable future. Therefore, they have the power to make decisions regarding their reproductive health. In case a woman feel that it is not in her interests to bear a child, then, it is her own right to do as she pleases.
The counter argument to this is that all human beings have certain rights that should be protected. From the medical standpoint, life begins at conception. In fact, a fetus is a different form of life from its mother with its own blood group and bone structure(Kamm, 2016). Since a fetus is considered to be alive, then this makes it human. Thus, a fetus has equal rights with its future mother, especially a right to live. When a pregnant woman decides to practice her right to determine her future herself, she violates her child’s right to live (Sumner, 2014). The rights of one human significantly depend on the rights of another. The infringement of rights is unconstitutional. Therefore, from a medical point of view, abortion cannot be considered as an ethical act.
The second pro for abortion refers to an option which allows a woman to be a parent only when she is ready. It appears to be ethical from the standpoint of the woman because having a child and being an incompetent parent would not be just regarding the unborn child. Second, it is unethical to force an individual to be a parent when he or she is not willing or ready to take this responsibility. Therefore, a woman has a right to eradicate the unwanted pregnancy. Since she has not treated or judged anyone unfairly, her decision may be considered ethical. She will have saved her loved ones from the obligation to help her raise a child.
However, from a medical standpoint, having an abortion is unethical. First, to do it, a woman will have to use the services of a health professional. The medical professional will have to go against the moral code of protecting human life at all costs (Herring, 2014). Second, there are societies where killing a baby in the womb is considered to be a murder. From a perspective of certain religions, a baby is God’s gift which should be protected from harm (Kamm, 2016). Therefore, a woman will have violated this basic moral code when she decides to deprive an unborn child of life. Therefore, abortion is unethical even from a religious and societal perspective.
Another argument for abortion is refers to the notion that it can be justified as a solution to the problems an individual has. In the instance when the baby is disabled, it is an ethical consideration to abort the fetus and spare the child a life of hardship. A mother might feel that a baby is a burden. Therefore, aborting might be justified in her case. Furthermore, there are special cases when abortion is justified both medically and religiously (among other sources of moral authority). When a pregnancy puts life of the mother in danger, then abortion becomes a viable solution to the problem. For example, when a mother has gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, and thus, her health starts declining dangerously, abortion is understandable (Kamm, 2016).
Conversely, there are numerous cases of young girls having abortions so that they can escape the embarrassment and social stigma associated with teenage pregnancy (Moore, 2015). Therefore, numerous babies are killed. However, there is no justification for abortion. No matter how much a girl feels ashamed or scared of the future, she does not have the moral justification to kill her unborn child (Herring, 2014). Her decision to do so can be likened to a medical example of a parent killing her three-year-old child simply because the latter has an embarrassing medical condition. Legally, if the parent did so, then he or she would be jailed for murder. If a burdensome toddler cannot be killed despite the complicated medical condition, then no woman has a right to abort a fetus simply because she is escaping the burden. There is no justification for abortion unless the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
In conclusion, women should be given the power to decide whether they should have an abortion or not. Both sides of the debate argue that they are right and justified to act as they please. Abortion should be legalized for the best interests of the mother. First, when the government makes abortion safe and legal, mothers can practice their rights in a safe environment. Second, a woman should be allowed to be a parent when she is ready. If she feels that she is not capable of being a good parent yet, then abortion should be one of her options. However, women should not have abortion at the end of their pregnancy which is medically and societally unethical. Finally, a woman should have the power to decide if it is ethical to bear a disabled child given that the child will lead a life of hardship. Therefore, women are given the power to determine their reproductive health and future in general. The safety of the mother should always be of the utmost importance.
Herring, J. (2014). Medical law and ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Kamm, F. M. (2016). The Ethics of Later Abortion. The Philosophers’ Magazine , 19-21.
Moore, F. (2015). Contested spaces: abortion clinics, women’s shelters and hospitals. Taylor and Francis , 492-493.
Sumner, L. W. (2014). Abortion and moral theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.