Abortion is defined simply as the early termination of a pregnancy. This topic is a very controversial subject when it comes to the reality on whether or not this action is morally right or morally wrong. There are to two sides in abortion labeled as pro-life or conservatives and pro-choice or liberals. As the names imply pro-life supporters are against abortion and pro-choice supporters are for the option of abortion. This debate of morality has been going on for hundreds of years now, but gained massive popularity when it was legalized by the United States (US) Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, forty hree years ago.
Abortion is a heavily discussed ethical issue and laws that would or could prohibit this right would restrict the freedom of woman and could endanger them mentally and physically which is immoral. There are two different methods of abortion, medical abortion and surgical abortion. A medical abortion can only be performed within the first four to nine weeks of the pregnancy or since the woman had her last menstrual cycle (“Medical Versus Surgical Abortion. “). Two medications are used to terminate the pregnancy.
The first one is mifepristone to cause the uterus to shed and to stop the rowth of the fetus and that is taken orally on the first day of the abortion process. The second medication is misoprostol and is used one to three days after the mifepristone is take. The misoprostol is inserted vaginally at home and causes uterine contractions. The woman will then experience bleeding and cramps. Afterwards within the one to two weeks, the patient should return to the clinic to confirm that the abortion is complete and successful.
Fortunately, for most women this method of abortion is effective 95% to 98% of the time as long as it is provided by a healthcare professional (“Medical Versus Surgical Abortion. “). There is also a medical abortion for the second trimester and it is called an induction abortion. This method uses an array of medications that causes the woman to go into labor and deliver the fetus and placenta (Marshall et al. ). Chances of a complication are high with this method so it is not used very often. Surgical abortion is another method that can be used.
The first type of surgical abortion is manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and is used during the first trimester or within six to fourteen weeks of the last menstrual cycle (“Medical Versus Surgical Abortion. ). This procedure begins with the woman orally taking misoprostol to soften the cervix if she is 12 to 14 weeks pregnant and then she will be given pain medication. After these medications have taken effect the actual surgical procedure will begin. To begin they clean the vagina and cervix and apply a numbing ointment to the cervix.
The surgeon then opens the cervix with metal rods to insert a tube into the uterus. A suction is then applied to the end of the tube to remove the pregnancy tissue (“Medical Versus Surgical Abortion. “). After the procedure is completed the patient will be iven antibiotics, instructed to rest, and may experience some spotting and cramping as the uterus returns to its normal size. There is no need for a follow-up visit as long as there are no complications and the patient should be able to return to her daily activities the next day.
Surgical abortion for the second trimester is referred to as dilation and evacuation (D&E). This method takes two days to complete. On the first day laminaria or dilation sticks, are inserted to the cervix and are to stay in the cervix overnight to prepare for the surgery the next day. On the econd day, anesthetics will be given via an IV and then they will use the MVA method and other surgical instruments to remove the fetal and placental tissue (“Medical Versus Surgical Abortion. “).
Once again there is no need for any follow-up visits unless there are any complications. About 98% of surgical abortions whether they are first or second trimester, are successful. Death is extremely rare in each of the methods of abortion with less than 1 in 100,000 people dying (Marshall et al. ). Regardless of which method of abortion is used, the woman’s ability to get pregnant in the future will not be affected n any way as long as there are no complications during or after the procedure.
The moral controversy of abortion is determining whether or not the fetus is a person yet. One side of the argument states that the fetus is not a person until it has actually been born and this side is generally referred to the conservatives or pro-life side. The other perspective believes that a fetus is a life at the beginning of conception and they are generally referred as the liberals or pro-choice side. In the article, Detailed Record Title: Abortion and Neonaticide: Ethics, Practice and Policy in Four Nations, Michael L.
Gross states,”At the beginning of the third trimester or age of viability, the American fetus gains a measure of legal personhood… ” (Gross). Abortions are not performed after the second semester so from the liberals point of view, abortion is not murder. The article, Introduction to The Ethics of Abortion: At Issue, presents the liberals side as it states, “They view abortion at any time before this point as a private choice that women should have the right to make, free from government interference. ” (“Introduction to The Ethics of Abortion: At Issue. ).
This statement represents the oral theory of liberalism because it opposes interference of the government. The woman has the freedom from the government because abortion is a personal choice that she gets to make on her own. Gross’s article, Detailed Record Title: Abortion and Neonaticide: Ethics, Practice and Policy in Four Nations, also explains, Nevertheless, the fetus does not have an absolute right to life. Both the mother’s health and, in some states, fetal best interests attenuate the fetus’s right to life.
On one hand, the fetus may be aborted in those rare instances when the mother’s life is threatened. On the other hand, a fetus ay also be aborted if it is so grossly deformed or impaired that it is not judged to be in the fetus’s best interest to continue to live. (Gross) This statement continues to present abortion through the libertarian point of view and incorporates some of the egalitarian perspective as well. The woman should have the personal and private freedom from what other people, who are not in the same situation as her, think is the morally correct option or choice.
She should have the freedom to decide if her own personal life is more important than the life of the fetus and she will have the freedom to choose if the life of the fetus hould be ended if she knows it will be in the best interest of the child as it will be unhappy and struggling in life due to a disability, deformation, or other rare unfortunate abnormalities. Liberals or pro-choicers are often associated with the moral theory known as ethical egoism when it come to the controversial subject of abortion. When it comes to the theory of ethical egoism, the morally right thing to do is what promotes one’s self interest.
The article, Should Abortion Be Legal? , by the non profit organization, ProCon. org, describes how, “Access to legal, professionally-performed abortions reduces maternal njury and death caused by unsafe, illegal abortions. ” (“Should Abortion Be Legal? “). Safe and legal abortion needs to be an option for women to protect themselves and to benefit their own self interest if they are not financially, physically, or mentally ready for a child at that specific point in their lives. The article, Introduction to The Ethics of Abortion: At Issue, expresses, “Most people who advocate legal abortion are not pro-abortion. (“Introduction to The Ethics of Abortion: At Issue. “).
This remark shows how woman should have this as a right and an option if they know they are unable to care for the hild, if the fetus has some type of a complicated or fatal abnormality, or if continuing with the pregnancy could cause potential harm to the mother. Abortion is sometimes the only option for some women and they should always be able to choose the option that is best suited for them. The social contract theory by Thomas Hobbes is related to ethical egoism as it pertains to rights and not duties.
In the Procon. org article, Should Abortion Be Legal? , it is stated that, “The US Supreme Court has declared abortion to be a “fundamental right” guaranteed by the US Constitution. ” (“Should Abortion Be Legal? “). Since abortion is claimed to be one of our basic rights by the US Supreme Court or the “sovereign” it cannot be taken away as it is part of our social contract known as the Constitution of the United States of America. The social contract theory is also based on morality by agreement so technically abortion is moral according to our social contract.
The pro- choice or liberal perspective of the abortion controversy protects the self interest of each individual woman and preserves the rights that the woman has guaranteed to her under the social contract of the United States. Conservatives re very closely associated with the moral theory of natural law. Natural law ethics states that the morally right action is the natural thing to do. It is also a theistic theory by stating that things that are by nature are good and all things created in nature were created by God.
Within this theory, there are four categories of human good and they are life, procreation, sociability, and knowledge. The categories of life and procreation are directly related to some of the reasons as to why conservatives are against abortion. Life is the first category and it goes against the theistic viewpoint in natural law ethics. In the article, Introduction to The Ethics of Abortion: At Issue, the author explains that, ” The primary goal of the pro-life movement is to protect the right to life of the unborn” (“Introduction to The Ethics of Abortion: At Issue. “).
Protecting the lives of all the unborn directly correlates with the life categorey in natural law ethics. As stated by the non-profit organization ProCon. org, “abortion is the killing of a human being, which defies the word of God” (“Should Abortion Be Legal? “). This means that abortion goes against the life category in the categories of human good and it also goes against God ho creates everything. According to Caitlin E. Borgmann in the article, The meaning of ‘life’: belief and reason in the abortion debate, a fetus is an unborn child and that means abortion is considered murder of an innocent baby (Borgmann).
This shows how abortion goes against the categories of life and procreation. If the woman terminates the pregnancy then she is going against the natural instinct of reproducing and she is ending the life of an individual. The conservative or pro-choice perspective of abortion is very related to the theistic viewpoints of natural law ethics. Ethics of care is another moral theory that applies to the pro-life side of the abortion argument. This moral theory is about maintaining concrete relationships and it strongly values the concepts of sympathy, compassion, love, and care.
In the article, Should Abortion be legal, the nonprofit organization, ProCon. org presents that,”Abortion eliminates the potential societal contributions of a future human being. ” (“Should Abortion Be Legal? ). The possibility of this happening due to an abortion, goes completely against the main focus of ethics of care. The child that is being aborted will never have the chance to form relationships with many different people and won’t be able to impact a single person’s life besides the mother.
The child could have done many great things whether they be small impacts on specific individuals or a huge impact on the entire county or the world but with abortion, the child will be unable to impact anyone’s life. In the article, The meaning of ‘life’: belief and reason in the abortion debate, Borgmann states, “Women are portrayed as “mothers” from the very inception of unwanted or untenable pregnancies, and abortion is seen as slashing the bonds of motherhood. (Borgmann).
This shows that abortion is a complete contradictions when it comes to the fundamentals of the moral theory, ethics of care. The woman not only terminates the pregnancy when she has an abortion but she is also terminating that extraordinary and special bond between a mother and her child. Ethics of care is a strong empowering moral theory for the conservative or pro-life position when it comes to the abortion controversy as the entire theory of ethics of care is about caring for other people and oneself as abortion can harm both the fetus physically and the mother psychologically.