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.
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/