Abortion and Ethical Dilemmas Related to It

Abortion has been and continues to be a topic of debate among different people. There are religious groups that say that the act of abortion is morally wrong and is not acceptable. There are feminine groups that say that it is the woman’s right to decide to have a baby or not. However, it is one of the most difficult, controversial, and painful subjects of the present day. Abortion is been defined by many and is nothing but the deliberate removal (or deliberate action to cause the expulsion) of a fetus from the womb of a female resulting in the death of the fetus. This may be done at the request of the mother or any of the family members (www.csus.edu, 2005). The issue of abortion has been a part of society for ages. For instance, according to the results of a study by the anthropologist George Devereux (1955), it was said that more than 300 contemporary human nonindustrial societies practiced abortion. There are also studies that say that for ages, women have been performing abortions on themselves or have experienced abortions as a result of influence from others (Potts, et al. 1977).

Today, with the advancement of technology, it has become so simple and painless that the number of abortions has increased drastically. Though terminating a pregnancy is a major decision and an extremely difficult one to make, millions of women take this decision and decide to abort. There may be several reasons for such a decision taken by them. The purpose of this paper is to discuss in detail the advantages and disadvantages of abortion and also to address the issues of ethics.

The technological advancement in the field of medical science has brought in several techniques of performing an abortion. There are several advantages and disadvantages of abortion. Abortion is a technique to control births. Besides, if the women want to pursue her education or career, abortion can be considered as a better option by her. In case the pregnancy has been a result of rape, abortion brings about mental comfort to the victim and helps her to reduce the trauma. There are times when abortion helps the woman to safeguard her health and well-being. For instance, there are several women who suffer from various physical and mental ailments such as heart disease, kidney disease, severe hypertension, sickle-cell anemia, severe diabetes, etc. In these conditions carrying a pregnancy to term will be dangerous even for the mother’s life. Additionally, it will also be a problem to the survival of the child as they will not be able to withstand the amount of medication the mother consumes. In such situations, an abortion would be the only decision that often helps to avoid serious medical complications from childbirth.

If we look at the disadvantages of abortion, it can be said that if abortions are considered by the parents of the woman, it is an act of brutality as it does not give the child in the womb, a chance at life. In other words, it is a morally wrong act. Each one of us is born when an egg is fertilized by a sperm. We would not have been born if our mothers had decided to abort us when we were a fetus. Abortion is killing a human, even though it isn’t born, and it should be illegal. Though it is a fetus we should not think that it does not have any significance. It is still living and it has every right to live. The fetus is still alive and growing and has the full potential to grow as a complete human being. If anyone kills it, then it is equivalent to killing a human being and is equivalent to a criminal murder. Therefore, abortion is a morally wrong decision and it affects society, families, and the individuals who allow the procedure to be done. It is important to note that there are several methods to avoid pregnancy and people should adopt these methods to prevent pregnancy than to terminate it and that’s why it should be illegal. Today, it is important to create awareness among the youth that abstinence from sex is a good option so that they would never have to worry about experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.

Abortions can also be harmful if it is not done under the supervision of physicians. Besides, the guilt of the cruel act can lead to psychological problems and can lead to depressions and other mental problems. It can also result in barrenness, automatic rejection of fetus, injuries to the uterus, and can also cause other serious side effects such as infection, sepsis, recurrent miscarriages, cramping, nausea, and faintness, etc. (Heather, 2007). Therefore, it is a good idea to prevent pregnancy rather than to abort the pregnancy.

Abortion should be opted only under certain conditions. For instance, for tens of thousands of women with various health challenges such as heart disease, kidney disease, severe hypertension, sickle-cell anemia, and severe diabetes, and other illnesses can be life-threatening if the pregnancy is sustained. In such cases, the availability of legal abortion can help turn away serious medical complications that could have resulted from childbirth. However, other than these health problems abortions should be considered illegal. The general argument to decriminalize abortion is that though it may be illegal it will continue to be practiced and if considered can be similar to legalizing crimes such as murder, robbery, or rape. It is important to make abortion illegal because if it is an illegal concept in society, at least a few of them may restrain from aborting.

Studies point out that unwanted pregnancies result in about 17% of maternal disease burden and 89% of unsafe abortions (WHO, 2008). There is a difference in the law of abortion in different countries. For instance, in the UK it is legal for termination to be carried out up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. On the other hand abortion in the United States is a highly charged issue with significant political and ethical debate. Statistics point out that, there were 854,122 legal induced abortions reported to CDC in the US in 2003 (Strauss, et al., 2006). It is important to note that there are several methods to avoid pregnancy and people should adopt these methods to prevent pregnancy than to terminate it and that’s why it should be illegal.

This point can be further justified that responsible parenthood involves decades devoted to the child’s proper nurture. To sentence, a woman who also plays an important role in the child’s development to bear a child against her will is a violation of her rights. In other words, a woman who is not willing to have a child which will seriously pose a threat to her life is a violation of her right to liberty (to the functions of her body), her right to the pursuit of her happiness, and, sometimes, her right to life itself (Peikoff, N.D).

There are people who argue that a fetus has the potential for being a person and should not be aborted. However, this cannot be justified if the woman’s life is at threat. Even though the right to life of the fetus cannot outweigh the right of a woman to obtain an abortion, the rights of any actual person who is alive will invariably outweigh those of any potential person who is yet to be born (Hanna, 2004).

There are also cases when a woman is raped and conceives without her willingness. In such cases, abortion is morally permissible if the woman is willing to abort. In general, in such circumstances, one would prefer abortion because of the mental trauma she has undergone. Thus, a woman is morally permitted to have an abortion even if she were not to be harmed by bearing the fetus (ignu, 2003). “In Judith Thomson’s classic defense of abortion, she compares a fetus to an unconscious man hooked to an unwilling woman while she sleeps. Surely, she reasons, most would have no problem with unhooking the annoying person even if it meant he were to die.” (ignu, 2003).

Teenage sex is a major problem resulting in unwanted pregnancy and also the reason for the spread of STDs. It is not the question of whether the teenager is involved in sex but it is very important for them to understand before getting involved the consequences. The awareness of the negative consequences is high among the teenager but it is also important for them to take bold steps either to abstain or the have safe sex. It is important that parents and educators create awareness in the teenagers and guide them to prevent pregnancy rather than opting for abortions. Unsafe sex is increasing among teenagers and the problems associated with it are a wide­spread concern all over the world. Negative consequences such as feeling used, unwanted pregnancy, contracting a sexually transmitted infection, or even feeling bad about themselves are major problems that lead into serious psychological problems. Today these are major problems especially among the teenagers together with the increasing rates of abortions. It is important to prevent pregnancy rather than opt for abortions.

The idea and practice of ending the life of the unborn child just for the sake of convenience can be considered as barbarism. If couples do not want children, they should use preventive methods of pregnancy rather than opting for abortion. Abortion is an issue that brings to mind very strong thoughts and judgments. Abortions can be morally be permissible only if it is a serious threat to the woman’s health or life or if the child’s survival itself is not sure because of some congenital problems abortions can be permissible. If the woman has conceived as a result of a rape and has undergone a mental trauma, even in such cases abortions may be considered. It is morally not correct to kill another person, at the same time it is also wrong to knowingly allow another to die when one could intervene and save that person. However, killing a person is different than allowing that person to die. A person’s right to life does not allow him or her to take the life of another; correspondingly, a person’s right to life does not hold any claims over others life. If the foetus poses a threat to the life prospects of the mother abortion may be considered as an option.


Devereux, G. (1955). A Study of Abortion in Primitive Society. New York: Julian Press.

Hanna, B (2004) Foot’s “Euthanasia”: A Reconstruction of the Argument, 2008. Web.

Heather, B. (2007) Terminating Pregnancy: Abortion Procedures, Risks, & Side Effects, Associated Content, Inc. Web.

ignu, (2003) Abortion is morally permissible, 2008. Web.

Peikoff, L. (N.D) Objectivism, in the Chapter on Government, Quoted in Abortion is Pro Life, 2008. Web.

Potts, M.; Diggory, P.; and Peel, J. (1977). Abortion. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Strauss, L.T. et al. (2006) Abortion Surveillance – United States, 2003, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web.

www.csus.edu, (2005) The Ethics of Abortion: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? 2008. Web.

WHO (2008) The World Health Report: Chapter 4: Sexual and reproductive health. Web.

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