The Issue of Abortion
Abortion represents an artificial interruption of pregnancy by the removal of a fetus from a uterus up to 22 weeks from the moment of a conception or on later terms. The medical abortion is a deliberate interruption of pregnancy considering medical and social indications. The problem of abortion is complex. It has both a demographic context, political and social value as well as an important ethical aspect. Historically, the attitude of a doctor to abortion is one of the first and main moral and medical problems keeping its relevance at present. It is explained by the fact that the abortion question concentrates human relations at the level of moral, legal, socio-political, religious, and scientific consciousness. The medical side of this issue is well-studied and effectively realized in practice. However, the ethical one is arguable and many-sided. The given essay will discuss the problem of abortion, its pros and cons as well as planned parenthood notion.
The Ethical Issues of Abortion
Abortion is one of the most discussed and controversial issues of bioethics (Patil, Dode, and Ahirrao 545). Before going to a doctor, a woman solves a moral dilemma: a life or death of a future person. However, the ethical meaning of the problem does not disappear but even becomes more complicated: the third person, a doctor, is involved into it, thus becoming an accessory to murder.
Raquel Lopez (2012) states that the problem of abortions all over the world turned for a long time from the medical into the ethical one and grew into a political issue. There are two opposite camps: Pro-life and Pro-choice. The supporters of the Pro-life approach state that abortion is a sin, crime, and murder, because a human life starts at the moment of conception. Those who support the Pro-choice idea say that a fetus is just a part of a mother up to a certain stage of its development, and she is free in her choice. Being the essence of the murder of a defenseless human being, abortion offends the moral feelings, thus composing an ethical problem (Lopez 511).
The artificial interruption of pregnancy issue is open because the question of its moral value has not been solved yet. It is not just about the violation of the moral canons, but about the lack of such canons. There is a problem field on which a dramatic opposition and collision of interests, approaches, and views develop between two of these extreme points of view. The numerous demonstrations of pros and cons of abortions occur almost worldwide.
The Pros of Abortion
The supporters of abortions have quite a strong argument. They state that a germ is a human being. They make an emphasis not on the statement itself, but on the understanding of the meaning put in the “human being” concept. The supporters of abortion as well as their opponents agree that an embryo is a human being. However, they ask whether notions of human germ and person have the same meaning. Thus, the supporters of abortion give several arguments for the legalization of this procedure (Lopez 512):
1. If an embryo is a human being, it is necessary to see the distinctions between them. This diversity is admitted even for plants: a seed, a sprouted sprout and an adult plant differ.
2. Even the opponents of abortions recognize that a fetus needs a mother biologically and socially because it is not independent, not autonomous, and cannot develop out of a mother’s body but should live in it for nine months. It means that a fetus is not independent up to the birth, which defines the moment when it becomes autonomous. For this reason, the birth is the beginning of a human life.
3. A woman’s autonomy as a moral subject, her right to make the reproductive choice is one of the key arguments for abortions. If to forbid abortions, women lose their rights as citizens. They will have no freedom of choice in a question to be a mother or not. Thus, forbidding abortions and regarding them as morally inadmissible, the pro-lifers support the gender discrimination of women in the modern society depriving them of some rights and freedoms, which men have (Lopez 514).
4. In recent years, the number of the child abandonment cases increased. Moreover, there are the dysfunctional families, which give birth to children only to receive a social assistance from the government. Actually, children in such families get neither a normal education, nor the required care. In such cases, abortion will protect unborn children from the poor life, orphanage, humiliations, and family violence (Lopez 515).
It is especially important to consider the above-mentioned arguments in cases of pregnancy as a result of rape or undesired pregnancy. Different societies estimate the application of contraceptive means and a murder of a newborn absolutely differently. The recognition of the fact that a fetus acquires a full moral status in the second trimester of pregnancy allows analyzing of abortion absolutely differently at its early and late terms. The early interruption of pregnancy, from the moral point of view, is closer to the assessment of the contraceptives application \while the later abortion is considered to be the deprivation of the newborn’s life (Lopez 515). It is necessary to see a huge difference between infanticide and deprivation of life of the unborn fetus. The former can be sometimes caused by such reasons as danger to life and health of a mother or a high probability that a child can be born with incurable diseases or doomed to sufferings and death. Therefore, the legal permission to the interruption of pregnancy in the latest terms can be based on the same principles as the recognition of fair murders in the case of self-defense or euthanasia.
The Cons of Abortion
The arguments against abortions can be divided into three big groups: medical, social, and ethical. Medical reasons have a wide evidential base. Abortion can have the severe complications for a woman, even a lethal outcome. Social arguments emphasize that the artificial interruption of pregnancy is a huge evil for the human society. The ethical arguments presuppose the equality of abortion to the murder of a person. The majority of religions deny the artificial interruption of pregnancy. Even from the point of view of the atheistic morals, abortion is forbidden. The supporters of the anti-abortion position state that it is inadmissible even if pregnancy and childbirth are dangerous for health of mothers, for example, at a heart trouble or kidneys’ diseases cases, or if pregnancy happened due to rape or incest. It is not ethical to kill a human being who is not responsible for the circumstances of conception and does not deserve the deprivation of life. There are the following arguments against abortion:
1. A germ is an innocent human being, which has the right for life. The conscious killing of an innocent human being is a murder. It means, abortion is a murder, and it has to be forbidden as morally inadmissible. A mother is biologically and socially responsible for a baby as it is a helpless being needing her for survival (Patil, Dode, and Ahirrao 545).
2. Abortion can lead to the serious complications, which can make the further conception and motherhood impossible. It increases the risk of extra-uterine pregnancy and inflammatory diseases of the basin bodies. Abortion is accompanied with a severe stress and depression (Major et al. 865; Gaefke 125). Thus, women fighting for their right for the complete control over own bodies have to take care of the control before pregnancy – to be protected, use contraceptives or to abstain from the sexual intercourse.
3. Taking the responsibility for the concealment of the pregnancy fact connected with uncertainty in a partner, a woman infringes upon the interests of a man in his desire to have a full-fledged family. She makes an individual decision relying only on her own thoughts and feelings (Gaefke 131). However, the fact of pregnancy can change the idea of the future father of a family about the woman. There is an unconscious destruction of the possible cell of society (Gaefke 26).
4. Some people experience the positive changes in life after the delivery of a child. The birth of a new human being is a miracle. When a father and a mother see the continuation of themselves in a child, it is a true happiness. Women become softer and more patient after the childbirth; men get more conscious and responsible. Therefore, the birth of a child can improve the character of people and relations in a family.
Thus, there are a lot of essential arguments against abortion. All of them absolutely deny the possibility of abortion considering it an evil, which can lead only to the same evil. The moral and physiological consequences of abortion can change the whole life of a woman or a couple.
The planned parenthood or family planning allows decreasing a number of abortions worldwide. Family planning is one of the main ways of the solution of a global demographic problem of the world population stabilization. This term is often used as a synonym to the notion “birth rate control.” It is widespread when talking about the situation where a couple wishes to limit the number of children, or to have an opportunity to control the time frames of pregnancy, or both at the same time.
A family is the unique space in which a child can grow and develop. Any family fulfils four functions concerning children. They include the biological reproductive function, financial supporting, socializing and educative functions as well as the emotional one providing children with love and care. If to consider a family from the point of view of the common living of several generations and their relationships, the planned parenthood is the ideal variant of the opposite genders people partnership and their ability to play a new social role, namely to make a child, give birth, and take care of the kid.
In the USA, there are a lot of organizations aimed at the provision of the reproductive health care for women. The Planned Parenthood is one of them. It is a non-governmental organization holding the biggest networks of clinics providing abortions in the USA (Planned Parenthood 2). The organization emphasizes the unique rights of a woman to make a free choice in the decision of childbirth. The organization provides around 3 million patients with the reproductive health care services every year (Planned Parenthood 3). The Planned Parenthood states that the biological component of parenthood includes the accessory to the definite biological sex, fertile functions, ability to a child-bearing, reproductive health, and sexual behavior. The psychological component is represented by the psychological perception of oneself as the representative of the defined sex, a self-assessment of a personality, and his or her sexual behavior. Thus, the planned parenthood, both a concept and adhering to the services of the network of clinics providing the reproductive services, is an essential component of the relationships between a woman and a man.
To sum up, abortion is among the oldest problems of the medical ethics, philosophy, law, and theology. It allowed highlighting the whole complex of the most difficult theoretical problems of morality. There are two opposite opinions – Pro-life and Pro-choice, which support the extremely different points of view on the problem of abortions. The Pro-life supporters state that abortions kill a new life, a new human being. They result in the negative consequences for a woman’s health. On the other hand, the supporters of Pro-choice idea state that a woman herself should decide whether to have a child or not. It is an intimate question, which should be discussed only by a woman or a couple. Moreover, the given essay touched upon the planned parenthood and family planning aspects as well as discussed the Planned Parenthood organization rendering the services of productive health and struggling for the women rights for a free choice.
Gaefke, Serena. 101 Reasons Not to Have an Abortion: A Girl’s Guide to Informed Choices. 101GirlsGuide, 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
Lopez, Raquel. “Perspectives on Abortion: Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, and What Lies in between.” European Journal of Social Sciences 27.4 (2012): 511-517. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.
Major, Brenda, Mark Appelbaum, Linda Beckman, Marry Ann Dutton, Nancy Felipe Russo, and Carolyn West. “Abortion and Mental Health: Evaluating the Evidence.” American Psychological Association 64.9 (2009): 863-890. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
Patil, Alka, Pranil Dode, and Amruta Ahirrao. “Medical Ethics in Abortion.” Indian Journal of Clinical Practice 25.6 (2014): 544-548. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.
Planned Parenthood. Our Health. Our Decisions. Our Moment: 2013-2014 Annual Report. Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.