Should Women Have the Right to Abort?

by c.papadopoulos on February 16, 2015 - 12:54am

In the article “Abortion access varies widely across Canada” by Leslie Young, posted on Global News on November 26th, 2014, it discusses how the amount of abortion services across Canada range per province. Young starts by explaining that Brian Gallant, the premier of the province of New Brunswick, announced to the public that he wishes to give the women of his province seeking abortion greater access. According to Dr. Wendy Norman, Quebec and British Columbia are the two provinces with the greatest access to abortion centers; Quebec having 46 facilities that offer abortion, while British Columbia offers about 16. In all, Canada holds about 94 abortion centers, where about half of them lie in Quebec, in both rural and urban areas. Most of the other provinces hold a less amount of abortion centers, and most of these centers are mainly located in major urban cities, making it more difficult for women to get abortions since it requires more traveling. As said by Dr. Norman, abortion is not an uncommon in Canada. Statistics show that a good 31% of Canadian women have aborted at one point in their life, and more than half of women wishing to abort already have children at home (Young). Although abortion is legal in Canada and in most countries of the world, a strong debate still persists: should women have the right to abort?

 

Abortion is mainly defined as “actively ending the life of an unborn human being,” otherwise known as a fetus (Jones and Chaloner). However, is the act of aborting really an act of murder? Is a fetus actually considered to be a human being? Human beings, in fact, are rational beings (DeGrazia). This means that they hold and display characteristics of independence, rationality, and are capable of making moral judgments and decisions on their own (DeGrazia). These characteristics and the capability to harbor feelings are what give human beings a very special and important characteristic that is moral status (DeGrazia). Seeing as how a fetus does not have moral status due to its lack of characteristics mentioned above, it is not considered to be a human being, therefore making it morally right for women to abort if they desire to do so.

 

Although just one side of the debate, many individuals would argue otherwise: the fetus holds moral status, making it a human being, ultimately meaning that it is morally wrong to kill a human being and morally wrong for women to abort. Anti-abortion individuals would claim that human beings exist from the time they are conceived (DeGrazia). This basically means that due to on-going development, one cannot indicate when moral status is actually obtained (Jones and Chaloner). However, it has been noted that a fetus only starts to react to physical pain once it reaches 24 weeks, which also happens to be the limit for abortion (Jones and Chaloner). Although anti-abortion individuals would argue that a fetus’ right to life is just as important as a woman’s, the truth is that fetuses actually heavily rely on the woman’s body in order to live. Since a woman is a fully completed and developed human being, her life is deemed more important (Jones and Chaloner). If, for example, people had to choose between saving five adults or ten frozen embryos, chances are, most, if not all, would choose to save the five adults and disregard the ten frozen embryos (DeGrazia). This strong debate is not so easy to put to rest, since moral stands, both for and against abortion, are entirely formed on an individual level.

 

 

Works Cited

DeGrazia, David. “The Ethics of Abortion: Women’s Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice.” Ethics 121.3 (2011): 665-669. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.champlaincollege.qc.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=0d95ced7-4d80-4616-9a2f-ea7fbd2d3a8e%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4207

 

Jones, K., and C. Chaloner. “Ethics of abortion: the arguments for and against.” Nursing Standard 21.37 (2007): 45-48. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.champlaincollege.qc.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a09c8196-cab2-443b-a17d-0f9d1b7dc211%40sessionmgr4004&vid=1&hid=4207

 

Young, Leslie. “Abortion access varies widely across Canada.” Global News. Shaw Media Inc., 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. http://globalnews.ca/news/1694095/abortion-access-varies-widely-across-canada/

 

Comments

Hi there! I love your topic of choice because it is a moral dilemma that is always presented in most classes, regardless of the courses content. This is just a guess but based on what you presented I believe you are leaning more towards women having rights? I apologize if I am wrong, that’s the vibe I’m getting. As for this moral dilemma you really brought up some interesting points that I myself did not know about such as human beings being considered rational beings. My position on this dilemma presented would be that women should have the right to abort because ultimately it is their body, they may do what they want with it. Of course the issue of religion is more often than not attributed in this discussion as to why women should not be allowed to abort (some religions saying that killing is killing no matter the context), however I feel that it should not be a factor in determining the morality of this dilemma. In today’s society where this issue is still a concern it is important to note the information presented to us. Based on the material that you presented I feel that your best argument is saying that women should be allowed to abort.

Great topic! You have raised very important questions and have looked at both sides of the debate. You have pointed out that our society has not come to a universal agreement concerning the morality of abortion. A moral framework that could help address this ethical dilemma is deontology. With this approach, it can be said that it is a universal rule for a woman to have the right of free choice regarding abortion. Regardless of what the outcome may be, whether a woman decides to abort or not, it is essential to give her the right to free choice. With free choice comes the idea of access. How can the universal right of free choice be fulfilled with limited access to abortion centers? Governments should grant more access to those who wish to abort. By doing this, they are not promoting the idea of abortion, although they are allowing a woman to choose what is best for her and for her life. Having a child could change a woman’s life forever and if she do not believe that she is not emotionally or financially ready for this big of a commitment, she should be able to make this decision for herself.

I like how you briefly discussed the opposition’s perspective and that you acknowledged that it is in fact a complex topic. I strongly believe that women should have control over their body and not be judged or punished for the decisions they make. In fact, limiting or banning abortion has led women to put themselves at risk by trying to get rid of the unwanted fetus. Some desperate measures include ingesting chemicals, throwing themselves down a flight of stairs, hitting themselves in the stomach, etc. Not only do these women harm themselves, but should the fetus survive, the risk of the baby being born with abnormalities significantly increases. In addition, an unwanted baby might completely mess up a woman’s life. For example, some women might not be able to continue their education, or might lose their job. These negative consequences might lead women to blame their unwanted baby, thus endangering the child. Moreover, the opposition might suggest adoption as being a better solution. While adoption is an amazing concept, some do not realize the repercussions that it might have on some people. In fact, some women might feel guilty for the rest of their lives because they feel that they simply abandoned their child. The teleological ethical theory suggests that the end goal of an action should define people’s actions, and the utilitarian branch suggests that the greatest good for the greatest number should be the end goal. In this situation, allowing women to get an abortion would prevent them from harming themselves and missing out on various opportunities. Keeping abortions legal would also prevent some children from having a miserable life. Ultimately, whether or not a woman gets an abortion only concerns her and her future baby, therefore women should be allowed to make a decision that will ensure her and her unborn child the greatest good, thus abortion should stay legal.

You have discussed both sides of the debate on abortion, which is very important seeing as you acknowledge that there are different viewpoints. I agree that abortion is a woman's choice. It is important that we focus on the living and their current needs rather than focusing on the needs of a human that has not even been fully formed. There are many reasons why a woman could choose to have an abortion, whether the child is a result of rape or if she is simply not physically or mentally prepared to have a child. I believe that a fetus should not be considered as a human life until it is substantially developed. I do not think that at the moment of conception a fetus should be considered a human life. However, I do not support the argument that the decision to call the fetus “a human life” is based on its moral status. Although it is a human trait, not every human necessarily “displays characteristics of independence or rationality.” There are people who have mental illnesses that do not allow them to possess these characteristics. Psychopaths, for example, do not have a sense of morality; does this mean they are not considered “human lives”? Regardless, I believe that women should have the ability to abort if they so choose. It doesn’t mean that women should be encouraged to make this decision lightly, but it is their body in the end and they should be able to do what they feel is best for themselves.

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