Explain ethical arguments in favour of abortion essay
Arguments in favour of abortion
This article sets out the women’s rights arguments that, in certain circumstances, favour abortion.
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Women’s rights arguments in favour of abortion
Here are some of the women’s rights arguments in favour of abortion:
- Women have a moral right to decide what to do with their bodies
- The right to abortion is vital for gender equality
- The right to abortion is vital for individual women to achieve their full potential
- Banning abortion puts women at risk by forcing them to use illegal abortionists
- The right to abortion should be part of a portfolio of pregnancy rights that enables women to make a truly free choice whether to end a pregnancy
This argument reminds us that even in the abortion debate, we should regard the woman as a person and not just as a container for the foetus. We should therefore give great consideration to her rights and needs as well as those of the unborn.
Pro-choice women’s rights activists do not take a casual or callous attitude to the foetus; the opposite is usually true, and most of them acknowledge that choosing an abortion is usually a case of choosing the least bad of several bad courses of action.
Abortion affects women disproportionately
Abortion is an important element of women’s rights because women are more affected by the abortion debate than men, both individually (if they are considering an abortion) and as a gender.
Pregnancy has an enormous effect on the woman involved. As Sarah Weddington put it to the US Supreme Court in Roe v Wade:
A pregnancy to a woman is perhaps one of the most determinative aspects of her life. It disrupts her body. It disrupts her education. It disrupts her employment. And it often disrupts her entire family life.
Sarah Weddington in Roe v Wade
And Mrs Weddington continued:
And we feel that, because of the impact on the woman, this … is a matter which is of such fundamental and basic concern to the woman involved that she should be allowed to make the choice as to whether to continue or to terminate her pregnancy.
Sarah Weddington in Roe v Wade
And the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson wrote:
. a great deal turns for women on whether abortion is or is not available.
If abortion rights are denied, then a constraint is imposed on women’s freedom to act in a way that is of great importance to them, both for its own sake and for the sake of their achievement of equality;
And if the constraint is imposed on the ground that the foetus has a right to life from the moment of conception, then it is imposed on a ground that neither reason nor the rest of morality requires women to accept, or even to give any weight at all.
Judith Jarvis Thomson
Many people regard the right to control one’s own body as a key moral right. If women are not allowed to abort an unwanted foetus they are deprived of this right.
The simplest form of the women’s rights argument in favour of abortion goes like this:
- A woman has the right to decide what she can and can’t do with her body
- The foetus exists inside a woman’s body
- A woman has the right to decide whether the foetus remains in her body
- Therefore a pregnant woman has the right to abort the foetus
The issue brings many ideas about human rights into brutally sharp focus.
- Every human being has the right to own their own body
- A foetus is part of a woman’s body
- Therefore that woman has the right to abort a foetus they are carrying
The important US Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade to some extent supported that view when it ruled that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy came under the freedom of personal choice in family matters and was protected by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.
This leads some people to claim is that it is unethical to ban abortion because doing so denies freedom of choice to women and forces ‘the unwilling to bear the unwanted’.
Opponents of this argument usually attack the idea that a foetus is ‘part’ of a woman’s body. They argue that a foetus is not the same sort of thing as a leg or a liver: it is not just a part of a woman’s body, but is (to some extent) a separate ‘person’ with its own right to life.
A second objection to this argument is that people do not have the complete right to control their bodies. All people are subject to various restrictions on what they do with their bodies — and some of these restrictions (laws against suicide or euthanasia) are just as invasive.
Childbearing, freedom and equality
The women’s liberation movement sees abortion rights as vital for gender equality.
They say that if a woman is not allowed to have an abortion she is not only forced to continue the pregnancy to birth but also expected by society to support and look after the resulting child for many years to come (unless she can get someone else to do so).
They argue that only if women have the right to choose whether or not to have children can they achieve equality with men: men don’t get pregnant, and so aren’t restricted in the same way.
Furthermore, they say, women’s freedom and life choices are limited by bearing children, and the stereotypes, social customs, and oppressive duties that went with it.
They also regard the right to control one’s own body as a key moral right, and one that women could only achieve if they had were entitled to abort an unwanted foetus.
No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.
Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood
- Women need free access to abortion in order to achieve full political, social, and economic equality with men
- Women need the right to abortion in order to have the same freedoms as men
- Women need the right to abortion to have full rights over their own bodies (including the right to decide whether or not to carry a foetus to birth) — without this right they do not have the same moral status as men
The US Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade, which gave women a right to abortion (under certain conditions) is seen by many as having transformed the status of women in the USA.
This landmark decision. not only protects rights of bodily integrity and autonomy, but has enabled millions of women to participate fully and equally in society.
Explain religious and ethical arguments in favour of Euthanasia
Extracts from this document.
Explain religious and ethical arguments in favour of Euthanasia Under the theory of Utilitarianism, Doctors are obliged to do the thing that will generate the most good for the all people involved; Doctors also have to respect a patient’s autonomy, for example, by giving them the right to refuse treatment even if, in their opinion, this is not the best option. Therefore, if a patient wanted Euthanasia, and it seemed that it was best not only for the suffering patient, but also the family and friends, the Doctor would have no reason to prevent Euthanasia. However, there is no way of accurately anticipating the outcome of an action and there is always a risk that what was thought to be the best action has unforeseen consequences. In preference Utilitarianism, a person should do what they think is best for the patient regardless of their wishes. So if a patient wants Euthanasia but still has a good chance of survival, then a Doctor could refuse despite their wishes. . read more.
Die naturally, as the process of death may be of spiritual importance to the patient, and so that the family and Doctors know they did everything they could to save them. Christians argue that because of the commandment, «you shall not kill» and the idea that all life is sacred to God, it would be wrong to withdraw treatment or actively give them something with the intention of ending their life. However, with Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of double effect, a lethal injection could be given with the intention of relieving suffering, with the secondary effect being the patient’s death. This would justify the use of euthanasia, not to end a life, but to demonstrate Christian agape in relieving suffering. Asses the view that, from a religious perspective, humans have the right to life. Christians believe in sanctity of life, that all life is a gift from God and that to prematurely end a life would be to disrespect the gift of life. Some Christians take this a step further, believing that your life is not you own but is «on loan» from God, so we do not have the power to do what we want with our lives or decide when and how they end. . read more.
Medical advances mean that life can be sustained further, even if the patient has no quality of life and wishes to die. In the traditional Christian view, anything that prolongs life is a good thing, and doctors must do everything they can to save a patient before giving up. But is this view outdated? In modern society many people accept that sometimes it is best to let nature take its course, and that medical intervention can, in some cases, cause psychological harm, both to the patient and to family and friends. Turning off life support is now legal in the UK and a patient will always have a right to refuse treatment and the Church of England supports this view. There is no doubt that all humans have the right to life, but do they also have a right to death? Opinions on this matter are varied but I think that if better care was provided for the terminally ill, there should be no reason for them to want Euthanasia. If, after all the best pain relief and psychological care, they still find life unbearable, they should be allowed euthanasia and to die in peace. . read more.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.
Arguments for and against abortion.
Extracts from this document.
This essay focuses on the arguments for and against abortion. The definition of abortion is a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy consciously by some form of human intervention. I will consider four points in favour and four points against abortion. Firstly, I will argue the points in favour of abortion. With abortion you must consider the rights of the mother. The institution of abortion has created a fork in the road for women. Imagine this; there is a woman caught up in the pursuit of her life’s dreams. Suddenly and unexpectedly, she finds herself pregnant. Society gives her two options. First, she could have an abortion, remove herself from the problem, and continue the pursuit of a desired lifestyle. Second, she could have the child, abandon her dreams, and lead a selfless lifestyle oriented around her family. To this ambitious woman, it becomes quite clear that abortion is the only way out. So, she has the abortion and continues on with life. It is this type of situation that results in well over one million abortions every year. The problem here is that women should not be forced to choose between one way of life or the other. They should be able to have children and continue their desired lifestyle. . read more.
In addition, it is maintained that the foetus 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 abortion is justified in these cases. Another reason for an abortion is if the child is likely to have a deformity. Here the mother may have the child’s best interest at heart and may not want to bring someone into the world who would be treated differently because of their deformity, the way they are treated could have a negative effect on their life and that will restrict their chances for a good and happy life. Having argued the case for abortions I will now put the case forward for the reasons against abortion. In the case of an abortion you must consider the rights of the unborn child. The unborn child is the bearer of rights which are violated by abortion. In the common law world there is a complex mass of decisions relating to unborn children which are often difficult to settle. . read more.
This case generally concerns younger people when sexual intercourse takes place and the contraception used is not 100% proof to stop the female conceived and therefore the only easy option to turn to is abortion. Abortion should not be given in this instant as the results of the couples actions should have been taken into consideration by themselves before the female conceived and became pregnant. We were all tiny once, tiny but steadily developing. Journeying through each stage of life we are conceived, we are born, we grow through infancy, childhood and adolescence, eventually reach adulthood and then the final stages of life. It is our right to expect protection throughout each stage of our life. Just because we are small and unseen within our mothers’ wombs does not mean those rights should be denied. The right to life is a ‘core’ right without which all other rights are meaningless. In seeking to protect the unborn there are some painful decisions to be made because many women are in situations of injustice. Creative non-violent solutions to such problems are far more desirable than abortion which is the ultimate social injustice. Even though the enforcement of laws to protect unborn babies is difficult, this does not remove the need to seek just solutions. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 . read more.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Abortion and other medical issues section.