The Ethics of Abortion

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Background and Context Abortion is defined as a procedure that is done to remove an embryo or fetus from the uterus of its mother in order to prevent its birth (Roth, 2005). Abortion is categorized as a bioethical issue because it relates to the morals of biomedical advances, policies and research. Abortion is a difficult subject that can involve personal morals and beliefs, legality and religious values. The issue is often viewed from either the side of pro-life, which places emphasis on the fetus and its right to life or pro-choice, which emphasizes the rights of the mother to decide the appropriate action (Roth, 2005). This brings the ethical question of should the government have the right to outlaw abortion into debate. The two viewpoints of pro-life and pro-choice explore the two main moral issues concerning abortion (Roth, 2005). The first moral issue is the moral status of the fetus (Roth, 2005). This deals with the question of whether or not the fetus should be considered as a person and at what stage does the fetus become a person. The second moral issue is the rights of the mother (Roth, 2005). This deals with the question of whether the mother has the right to decide to carry the fetus full term or not. It is important to note that there are two separate questions regarding abortion, one being its morality and the other being its legality (Roth, 2005). There are things that are considered immoral but they are not necessarily illegal. For example, marital infidelity is considered to be wrong but it is not illegal. One moral argument is that the fetus is an innocent person and it is wrong to kill an innocent person therefore it is wrong to kill a fetus (Roth, 2005). The opposite argument can also be made. The fetus ... ... middle of paper ... ...argument for a future like ours makes the assumption that every life will be good and that everyone will want to have a future like ours. The potential life of the fetus could be great or terrible. Just because the life of the fetus could be great does not mean that it has the right to use the mother’s body. The mother still retains the right to an abortion because the fetus depends on her for survival, regardless of its potential. The argument can be made that the fetus deserves the same level of personhood that children and adults do. This can be countered with the fact that children and adults are able to live without occupying the body of another person. The point at which personhood occurs may never be established because of the contrasting views for and against personhood and it would be very difficult to establish any kind of middle ground on personhood.
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