Ethical Analysis of Abortion
Abortion could not be ethically justified because it is killing an innocent human being. It is arguable that a right to an abortion is a right to control one’s body and the death of fetus is an unavoidable consequence of choosing not to continue a pregnancy. That people have some claim to personal, bodily autonomy must be regarded as fundamental to the conception of any ethical, democratic, and free society. Given that autonomy exists as an ethical necessity, the question becomes how far the autonomy exists. If a woman consented to sex and/or didn’t properly use contraception, then she knew pregnancy might result. Being pregnant means having a new life growing inside. Whether the fetus is a person or not and, whether the state takes a position on abortion or not, it’s arguable that a woman has some sort of ethical obligation to the fetus. Most debates on the ethics of abortion focus on whether the fetus is a person. Even if it is not a person, however, this doesn’t mean it can’t have any moral standing. Maybe this obligation isn’t strong enough to eliminate abortion as an option, but it may be enough to limit when abortion can be ethically chosen or justified. According to the best interest principle, the best interest would be to have the baby so it can live a long and fulfilling life.
It is argued that in these tragic cases the great value of the mental health of a woman who becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest can be safe-guarded by abortion. It is also that a pregnancy caused by rape or incest is the result of a grave injustice and that the victim should not be obligated to carry the fetus to viability. This would keep reminding her of the violence for nine months and it would increase her mental anguish. “It is reasoned that the value of woman’s mental health is greater than the value of the fetus. In addition, it is maintained that the fetus is an aggressor against the woman’s integrity and personal life; it is only just and morally defensible to repel an aggressor even by killing him if that is the only way to defend personal and human values.” It is concluded then, that the abortion is justified in these cases. According to the best interests’ principle, in this case it might be ok for the mother to abort the fetus since she might end up resenting the fetus later in life. If life begins at conception, then it follows that all fertilized eggs are morally important. However the problem with that is that when one attempts to have children though normal reproduction it is estimated that “only 50 to 60 percent of conceptions advance to beyond twenty weeks of gestation. Of the pregnancies that are lost, 75% represent a failure of implantation and are therefore not realized as clinical pregnancies .” (Norwitz, E.R. . "Implantation and the survival of early pregnancy." The New England Journal of Medicine vol. 34508 Nov. 2001 1400-1408) This indicates that the decision to attempt to have children leads to the death of many fertilized eggs, which, according to the pro-life position, are fully significant individuals. The death of these eggs is not justifiable the only motivation is to have children. Another objection to this argument would be what if the baby is malformed? We should not kill an unborn baby to alleviate the suffering of the mother any more then we should kill her infant to alleviate her suffering. Neither should we commit an abortion of a malformed fetus to prevent his or her suffering later in life. Being handicapped is not a capital crime. “The intentional destruction of health is not compassionate and it is not healthcare; is it assault. We must not be swayed from our pro-life ethic by emotional appeals that admittedly swell our eyes with tears. Truth and compassion prevent us from this fatal compromise.
We must respond to all tragic circumstances of pregnancy from the unshakeable foundation of two indisputable premises: human life begins at conception, and it is always wrong to intentionally to kill an innocent human being. The unborn child’s right to life and liberty is given by his or her creator, not by his parents or by the state. The right to life is inalienable: that is, not to be trespassed upon another. In tragic circumstances such as rape or incest, we want to care for both the mother and her unborn baby. We want to relieve the suffering of the mother and her unborn baby. It is never right to intentionally kill an innocent human being, even if it does relieve another’s emotional or physical suffering. It is not up to a vote, and our obligation to submit unto divine judgments does not sway with our circumstances