Morality of Abortion
Before judging the morality behind the act of abortion we must emphasize on ‘what is abortion’ and ‘why it is generally performed’. The act of abortion can be defined as the removal of immature fetus from the womb of a human female with her consent. It is, no doubt, an unpleasant action but the doer has more than one reason to perform it. The act itself dates back thousands of years back and it will continue till Jesus comes with certainty. As custodians of our health, doctors have had the privilege of carrying out this process on whosoever desires. The method adopted could either be the medical or surgical method. The medical method involves taking some pills and the surgical method involves the use of a karman syringe through the suction method in a theatre under anesthesia. Though, like other surgical procedures, it is not without its own complications, however, when performed by a trained personnel, the complication rate is negligible. There have been loads of controversies on the moral aspect of abortion since time beyond our imagination. While some consider it as mere homicide/infanticide, others consider it as an act of saving life. Let us know about some of the most common reasons for abortion before plunging into the moral judgment. Abortion could be carried out for a wide range of reasons. Abortion is generally done when the mother is not ready to conceive, or conceived accidentally against her will. Again it is done when medical science can detect the foetus inside is physically or mentally unhealthy. Another common reason for abortion is when the pregnancy can take a huge toll on the mother’s health. Meanwhile, an erroneous belief about those who procure abortion is that it is only reserved for the single, unmarried ladies. The fact is, married couples also procure abortion because of all or part of the reasons highlighted above. Though there are strong opinions about the huge immorality verging on to ‘sin’ about abortion, it can be justified as an act of saving life easily.(“ The Morality of Abortion”, 1)
Now let us think of a situation. If in case of pregnancy of your near and dear one, medical science says only an abortion can save the life of the mother, then what decision will you make based on your strong sense of morality? A grand multiparous woman who has had all her deliveries through caesarian section now getting pregnant for the 7th time or a woman that had had three deliveries but in the index pregnancy at about the third month of pregnancy starts having uncontrollable high blood pressure which if the pregnancy is not terminated, will ultimately lead to a grave outcome for her and her family. She could suffer serious complications such as a stroke or outright death from the condition. Which one is moral- let the mother continue carrying the pregnancy even after knowing her pregnancy can be fatal? Or let the half mature fetus die to save the life of an already existing human being. According to medical science, although a fetus is a living self, it has not independent existing capability. At the early stage of pregnancy a fetus is nothing more than a part of mother’s body. It is needless to say that the fetus does not possess any human attribute such as – rational ability, ability to communicate or even exist independently. Is the fetus conscious of his external and internal objects? Can he feel pain? Is he capable of independent reasoning? Does the fetus have the capacity to solve problems? Be it complex or relatively easy tasks. Can the fetus perform any self motivated activity? Is he able to communicate? And is he aware of self? These are pertinent questions that need to be answered. If the answers to the above are ‘no’ then why the hue and cry about substituting abortion for murder. Abortion, in case of defective fetus, can serve as a boon. In such cases it is not only done to save the life of the mother, but also to prevent the fetus lead a life extreme mental and physical suffering. Imagine someone saying that an anencephalic fetus should be allowed to grow to maturity and be delivered, or a fetus with spinal bifida or other equally worrisome congenital anomalies. By the way, an anencephalic fetus is one that has no cranial coverings, and in the extreme ones could be one without brain tissues. Tell me, is that not wickedness if the pregnancy is permitted? Abortion is nothing immoral as long as it is done with a life saving purpose. Again this is true in case of unwanted pregnancies, such as mostly in the case of rape and forced intercourse. Let us see another scenario, where a lady gets raped by a mad man, a wanted man or an outcast like Osama Bin Laden, or another notorious criminal. After being, subjected to the psychological and emotional torture of rape, should she then be subjected to an everlasting torment of seeing the seed of an outcast? Of someone she has no feelings for? Of someone she would have assisted the law enforcement officers in apprehending on a good day? NO. I am sure that if any of the females antagonizing abortion should fall victim of this scenario they would be the first to opt for an evacuation or even if the male antagonists have their daughters or wife in the mess. In that case, it is normal for the victim to take refuge to the act of abortion to eradicate the signature of tormented moment. Abortion may kill an unconscious accumulation of cell called fetus but it saves the life of a person-, existing with proper conscious and normal human attributes. The bitter truth, however, is that, whether abortion is viewed as moral or immoral, the number of our girls and women dying from illegal and crude abortion techniques by quacks is alarming. Instead of criticizing it, why not let us save our female folk by legalizing abortion so that only licensed medical doctors would perform the procedure. If this is done, the morbidity and mortality associated with it will be reduced and even the number of women seeking abortion will drastically drop.
Each and every action on this world either has an equal and opposite reaction or has some strong oppositions. Similar is in the case of abortion. Though there are controversies about the true status of abortion, and there will forever be controversies about it. there are more than enough people who consider it as immoral. They consider it nothing more than the obnoxious crime of homicide. They consider the fetus no less than a human being and none of us is attributed with the right to rob its ‘right to life’. Many think that killing a fetus is equivalent to rob this world of a potential human being as they consider the fetus has a potential future as any one of us. Though the mother has every right to do whatever she wants with her own body, it is always less than the right to life of the fetus. (“The morality of abortion and the deprivation of futures.”, 2)
With due respect to the opposition views it can be said that, the right to life is no doubt the greatest one but the case is a little different for the fetus. As mentioned earlier, a fetus although living, is not capable of independent existence or any human activities. In that case, it can be considered as a part of the mother’s body which survives on the nutrition it draws from her. And if in this case the mother wants an abortion it is noting immoral in it. Again to answer the point of potential human being it can be said that, if medical science certifies that a fetus is already mentally or physically defective then how can it be considered as a potential human being of the future. So, in that case it cannot be called a sin in particular. The crime of homicide or infanticide is not strongly applicable as the fetus lacks consciousness and ability to exist independently.
In conclusion, it can be said that, though the controversy persists, the act of abortion can be seen through more matured and justified view. Abortion may not be a pleasant job but it can serve a higher purpose than any other commonplace crimes. Abortion can save life. And each one of us, whether we accept or reject it would have surely gone for it if the life of our near and dear one is at stake. (“Why Abortion is Immoral”, 3)
1. Richard Brandt. “The Morality of Abortion”. Vol. 56. Web. 1972. http://rci.rutgers.edu/~tripmcc/phil/cmsi/csmi-abortion/brandt-moralityofabortion.pdf
2. Mark T Brown. “The morality of abortion and the deprivation of futures.”. Web.27 April 2012. http://jme.bmj.com/content/26/2/103.short
3. “Why Abortion is Immoral”. Web. 1989. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2026961?uid=3738256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=47698938363467
4. Mark .A. McNeil The Real Problem with abortion 2000 http://www.abortionessay.com/files/realproblem.html
5. Erika Bachiochi Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments For Abortion Rights Harvar Journal of Law and Policy Vol. 34 2011 http://www.harvard-jlpp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/BachiochiFinal.pdf
6. Reva B. Siegel The Right’s Reasons: Constitutional Conflict and the Spread of Woman-Protective Antiabortion Argument Yale Law School Legal Repository 2008 http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2130&context=fss_papers&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com.ng%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dscholarly%2520articles%2520for%2520arguments%2520for%2520abortion%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D3%26cad%3Drja%26sqi%3D2%26ved%3D0CDkQFjAC%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fdigitalcommons.law.yale.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D2130%2526context%253Dfss_papers%26ei%3DTNahULf1CMuJhQf2yYCoAw%26usg%3DAFQjCNH2pWU4LS9t6tHIBOdp8gAvl4LQIw#search=%22scholarly%20articles%20arguments%20abortion%22