The Problem Abortion from Different Perspectives
We all were born to live. The key word of the previous sentence is “born,” which literally means that one is not considered to be a human being until that moment. In modern world, the right to abortion and its limits is an acutely debatable problem, which includes religious, ethical, medical, social, and legal aspects. Thus, this dilemma directly concerns the nurses as the workers of this sphere. In this case, the question of abortion is an ethical issue for them, which is expressed in a choice – to remain a professional or to be imbued with sympathy to an unborn child. Thus, what should nurses do to preserve the main principles of humanism?
The problem abortion from different perspectives
The heading of the article of Susan Milligan in the “U.S. News” is a direct question: “Is Abortion a Human Right?” (Milligan, 2015). This question is not as simple as it may seem, because there are various answers from different focuses. However, from the perspective of nurses, as professional workers this issue might be easier to discuss. Suffice it to say that there are several ethical issues which combine into one huge problem not only for nurses, but for the protagonists and opponents of abortion in general. However, the first one that provokes controversy is whether the already existing human life is aborted. The opponents of abortion usually apply such terms as “conceived child” or “unborn baby.” Besides, many believers, in particular Christians, refer to abortion as a murder of a person at an early stage of its development.
People who advocate for the right to abortion usually equate abortion with the issue of body autonomy. Moreover, they consider a forced abortion to be legally and morally unacceptable. Some supporters of abortion rights are against certain or all types of abortions motivated by moral principles. However, they believe that such deliberate termination of human pregnancy will inevitably occur anyway; and therefore, admit that legal abortion in medically controlled conditions is preferable to illegal one conducted without proper medical supervision. According to the protagonists of abortion rights, an embryo cannot be considered to be a child from a legal, social or biologic perspective (Joyce, 2001).
The second debatable moral question concerns the priority of the interests of an embryo over the interests of a woman or vice versa. Moreover, opponents of abortions put the right of an embryo to life on a par with the women’s rights. However, main argument of those who support abortion rights to is that no one, except the woman herself, should dispose of her body, her fate, and life. Besides, all this is included in the list of rights guaranteed by the constitutions of many countries. In most legislative systems, a person is given constitutional rights from birth, which gives the woman a legally higher status than an embryo. As advocates of the right to abortion emphasize, a woman has more rights to be considered a person from a moral point of view, since she, unlike an embryo, has consciousness, is able to think, feel, hope, and dream (Schwalbe, 2006).
Abortion as an ethical issue for nurses
From the perspective of nurses, the question discussed is that the laws of the country they work in usually bind them, but still they have their own opinion concerning this topic. To clarify the extent of the problem, it is necessary to add that there are the nurses who do not approve abortions and vice versa. Working in different countries, which have different levels of legalization of abortions, they face the problem of incompatibility of their own opinions with the laws currently in law.
Dr. Linda Prine said that the question of abortion should not be a big deal, because it is a daily routine for every nurse (Sweet, 2013). From the perspective of professionalism of health professional, it is impossible to disagree with the above-mentioned statement. The fact of the matter is that first of all nurses are the professionals, which means they have to leave all their ethical, religious, and other views at home. The only one thing, which influences their authorization, is the law of the country they live and work in (Sedgh, 2011). In this case, they should remember that everything that is not prohibited by law is allowed, thus, they cannot neither refuse to perform an abortion if the law allows it nor perform it if it is prohibited.
Moreover, the problem of abortion does not only concern the actual termination of pregnancy. It is connected with much wider number of challenges, among which is the unplanned pregnancy because of sexual assault, the consequences of low quality of contraception, tubal pregnancy, fetal death in the womb or a threat to the life of the mother, due to her condition or abnormal pregnancy. In most cases, the final decision on the abortion remains with the pregnant woman. Hence, in such cases, nurses cannot refer to the ethical principles.
The problem of abortion is more complicated as it may seem from the first sight, for it includes a number of aspects to be considered. However, this is a big ethical issue for every nurse to decide whether the fetus inside is already a human being or not. One way or another, it is obligatory to remember that the law defines the authorities of every nurse, thus first of all every medical worker is ought to remain a professional.
Milligan, S. (2015, December 2). Is Abortion a Human Right? Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/12/02/is-abortion-a-human-right
Joyce, A. (2001, August). PERSONHOOD: IS A FETUS A HUMAN BEING? Retrieved from http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/fetusperson.shtml
Schwalbe, M. (2006, April 11). Reproductive Freedom 101. Retrieved from http://www.commondreams.org/views/2006/04/11/reproductive-freedom-101
Sweet, E. (2013, January 14). Abortion Services: A Family Doctor’s Perspective. Retrieved from http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/abortion-services-a-family-doctors-perspective
Sedgh, G. (2011, June). Legal Abortion Worldwide in 2008: Levels and Recent Trends. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/ipsrh/2011/06/legal-abortion-worldwide-2008-levels-and-recent-trends