Is the Practice of Abortion Ethical or Not?

by marilouT on September 12, 2016 - 10:47pm

In the article from the Globe and Mail “In PEI, the right to choose: No longer ‘the shame of being shipped off the island'” by Ingrid Peritz, the moral dilemma surrounding the right to abortion is being discussed after a legal change occurring in the province of PEI.



Recently in PEI (Prince Edward Island), the right to abortion has been given to women after 34 years of prohibition. The island was the last province in Canada to allow and provide access to abortion services within its borders. Before that, women from PEI were not allowed to practice abortion at home. These women had to hide, cross the border and go to another province to get the services needed. Some women who could not afford the treatment even self-induce abortion, which can be a harmful and dangerous practice. Ashley Fraser was one among the hundreds of women living in PEI who could not get abortion services. A decade ago, she had to travel to another province in order to be aborted. It took her hours to get there and cost her a lot of money. Moreover, she was filled with shame and anxiety, which is why the idea that women in PEI do not have to go through this difficult process anymore is extremely important to her. Abortion access now PEI Inc. is the group behind the recent legal change. They fought for over three decades to install the right to abortion in PEI, which was not an easy task considering the fact that this province is recognized to be mostly pro-life oriented. Also, the support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in favor of the women’s right to choose had a considerable influence on the government of Prince Edward Island to provide access to abortion within the borders of the province.

The first value that is in favor of abortion is freedom, because a woman should have the right to decide what she wants to do with her body and should not be forced to carry and give birth to a child if she does not feel ready to do so, or simply if she does not want to do so. Then, another value in favor of abortion is autonomy, because we should all be able to make decisions that directly and significantly affect our lives, such as having a child.  Finally, security is also a value supporting the right to abortion because a lot of women who do not have access to appropriate services to terminate their pregnancy will try to do it themselves and it is extremely dangerous. Furthermore, the moral principles that represent the right to abortion are the following: Always act in accordance to your own best interests, and respect people’s autonomy.

The first value that goes against abortion is parental responsibility, because every parent is responsible for the conception of their baby and therefore should take responsibility for their action. Another value that is against abortion is faith, because a lot of people believe that aborting a fetus is as worst as killing someone because in both case, a life is taken away. Finally, the value of justice also goes against abortion because some people believe that the fetus has the same rights as every human being and therefore, has the right to live. The most powerful moral principle that represent this side of the ethical issue is that human life is fundamentally valuable.   

In my opinion, women should have the right to decide if they want to have a child or not, because to me, the value of freedom is extremely important. Becoming a mother is not something to take slightly because it lasts for life. Therefore, it changes a life completely. For instance, I am planning to go to the university and study for a long time. However, if I were to be pregnant right now at eighteen years old, it would be extremely hard for me to achieve this goal. I would probably have to quit school to work full time and I could not reach my full potential. This is why I believe that if a women is not ready to have a child, no one should force it upon her and she should have the right to do what she wants with her own body. We have to act according to our own best interests. Moreover, I believe that abortion is crucial in order to obtain gender equality. I also strongly believe that one’s faith should not infringe upon another’s rights because faith is subjective to each and every one.

Would you say that in this case that the moral principle of always acting in accordance to our own best interests overcomes the ethical principle that human life is fundamentally valuable?

 Works cited:

Peritz, Ingrid. “In PEI, the right to choose: No longer ‘the shame of being shipped off the island.'” The Globe and Mail, April 1st 2016,


Hello !
I read your article and I found it very interesting. Abortion is a taboo topic in our society , and the fact that you are open minded in both beliefs is really great. However, you are using a false dilemma in your conclusion when you are saying that if you were to get pregnant you would have no choice but to go work a full time job and quit school or aborting(pregnant students can access to scholarships in Quebec). Nevertheless, I totally agree with your point of view and I think that your text was really well written!

Very controversial topic to explore but none the less you did a great job at expressing and identifying the ethical issues that are in relation to the topic. you were also very clear and straightforward and to the point when expressing both the pros and cons of this ethical issue. I somewhat agree with your opinion and how important freedom is and that we all should have the right to do what want with our bodies. I find it very interesting how you believe you would handle being in the situation where you would be pregnant and a student as there are many different resources allocated to helping pregnant students achieve their academic goals and create a brighter future for their child but at the same time i understand having to support a child is costly so i can see where that portion of your opinion came in. Overall good article. Should abortions be of access to all and or should they only be available to victims of traumatic situations?

I loved reading your article because it is totally a perfect example of an ethical issue because it represents on both sides good values. Moreover, this topic is very interesting and you described it very well. You made me want to read your article. I totally agree with you that every women should decide if having a baby or not because like you said earlier it is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Speaking of about responsibility, if I had a child today, it would be selfish to keep it, knowing that I could not offer him/her the best chance to grow in perfect conditions. We must also think about our future as individuals because a child changes your life and you cannot go back. We know, I mean, we feel it when we're ready to have a child and nothing should hurry us because it could be harmful for development of the child. I agree with you that everybody should act according to our own best interests. However, I wonder, is it selfish to neglect someone's life by prioritizing our own interests? Is it selfish that abortion is acceptable because the child is theoretically still not developed enough or we could consider this practice as murder?

This is a very interesting ethical issues that shouldn't be taboo. We often hear about case of particular abortion, you made me want to read more about this subject. I totally agree with your opinion, I think it's the women's right to decide if she want's to have the child, ultimately it's her body. Moreover it think that it is important to say that everyone engaging in a sexual relationship should be careful and take the rights decision, but accident can happen. If something happen during the intercourse, if the person was raped or if the person just doesn't want to have the child it should be her decision to make. No shame should be associated with this act, raising a child demands time, money and attention not everyone can give that. I definitively think that it is better to have an abortion that raise a child that won't be loved and care for. I'm taking the example you gave, if I was pregnant right now I would be able to continue going to school, in addition I certainly wouldn't have the money to do so.

justified your argument that abortion should not be prohibited. Using personal examples of a woman who experienced an abortion and focusing on a specific area where it was prohibited was a great way to support the topic. You also evaluated the issue from both perspectives including why many do not believe abortion should be legal and why others think it should. By evaluating both perspectives it made your argument more credible because you were able to disprove opposing claims.
When you brought up the reasoning behind the pro-life mentality, it made me think more thoroughly about why this mentality shouldn’t be valid in policy making. The main reason people want to prohibit abortion is because it is taking away a human life. Since human life is very subjective these personal beliefs shouldn’t be applied to others who might not share those beliefs. Your post was enlightening and made me look at this issue from multiple perspectives, allowing me to gain a better understanding of the topic as a whole.

Very good read and a VERY controversial topic these days. All points of view were presented and backed up with examples and the moral values were clearly stated. I personally am against abortion entirely. I know that some people would justify a woman being raped eligible for abortion, I just don't think it's the fault of the child and a human life is a human life... Additionally, many would say that having a child young and not being able to care for it is a good reason to abort. But there are other options to solving your "problem". May parents have to adopt because they can't have kids of their own, I'm sure someone would care for and love your baby just as much if not more than you could. If anything, you should give the child it's best chance, regardless of your own interests.
Now, a question,what are your thoughts on adoption?

I would like to start by saying that I think your paper was very well written and I enjoyed reading it. I like the point you brought up about how women should have the freedom to do what they want with their body and not be forced to do anything. I would like to expand on this dilemma by taking it from a utilitarianism point of view. Utilitarianism focuses only on the outcome of the act and if it benefits the group. The cost of having a baby is extremely expensive and can be challenging for many people to handle. In many cases, women get abortions because they know that they will not be able to properly provide financially for the baby. In this case, the abortion would be justified because the outcome would be a very positive one for the mother. The overall outcome of the abortion would immediately benefit not only the mother but also the father of the child. Having a baby is a huge commitment and the couple may not have been prepared for such a task. The moral dilemma of abortion has no correct objective answer but from a utilitarianism point of view, the act would be justified because an abortion provides an immediate positive outcome. Overall I enjoyed reading your paper and I liked how integrated the story of the woman who had gotten an abortion.