Abortion is a complex medical issue that has spawned countless discussions on the topic of its ethical aspects. Besides, the subject of abortion directly affects one’s views of women’s rights and reproductive justice. Spiritual aspects are also involved in the discussion because every religion has its own perspective on the matter. There is a legal dimension to the question, where lawyers decide the term of pregnancy when the abortion can be considered legal or whether it can be considered legal at all. However, the medical aspects of abortion remain the most objective. Due to the latest technological advancements, abortion can be considered a safe procedure that has limited adverse consequences to a woman’s health.
The normalization of abortion is a matter society has struggled with for as long as we can remember. Being that abortion is such a controversial topic, society fails to see the dangers that happen due to limiting women when it comes to being pro-abortion. Restricting women’s rights to reproductive health care can hinder the economy, result in death, and overall be an overarching system that makes women feel inferior. Although the United States has made some progressive changes towards abortion, one can still see this issue being prevalent on an international scale due to the norms and cultural differences some countries possess. This paper will focus on the intersectionality of the values humans possess, such as being rational, aesthetical, moral, and spiritual, among many other philosophical theories that make abortion taboo or forbidden due to different cultural norms.
Notably, every human exists within a diverse ecosystem of philosophical, economic, and cultural values that define virtues or meaning in human society. Faith inspires laws, but faith-based laws cannot govern a nation entirely. The knowledge of value in a community is based on a dependent system of value exchange cultural and spiritual beliefs. The relationship of the human values observes abortion as a taboo though, in some circumstances, it is a life-saving act. Moral and spiritual values are essential to increase sustenance and satisfaction and preserve human life. Abortion is killing or having the intention of terminating a fetus. In different countries due to their different values. However, there is a correlation between the values of humans and how liberal society can be while debating the controversial topic of abortion.
The rational approach to the abortion issue begins by determining when life begins. The embryo is believed to start resolving into distinct parts after conception. During fertilization, a person is formed with a unique genetic identity that stays unchanged throughout the whole life. Abortion is murder; the homicide of an innocent person is not right even though they are not born. The United States regime considers the unborn offspring as people (Boyle 25-30). The national regulations and acts state that any person deliberately killing or attempting to murder a fetus should be punished for murder; this act further indicates; the fetus is one of the species of Homo sapiens (Boyle 25). Fetuses feel pain during the procedure of abortion. According to Boyle and Mary, the spinal flex responsible for the feeling of pain develops at the eighth week of gestation (Boyle 27). There is a finding that the unborn baby detects pain during the first tri-semester. Bernard Nathanson, a doctor, explains that while performing an abortion at twelve weeks old, the fetus in an ultrasound views the baby’s mouth open and moves in a silent scream (Boyle 29).
Eugenic abortion is selective abortion built on genetic abnormalities and is over violation and discrimination. A physical limitation does not mean that someone is less of a human. Americans with Disabilities Act, established in 1990, gives civil rights protections to people with disabilities so that they can live a pleasing life (Sumner 406-410). The history of induced abortions causes about fifteen percent of the first tri-semester miscarriages (Sumner 406). Induced abortions through vacuity aspiration are related to an increased risk of early tri-semester miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies (Sumner 407). The history of abortion is related to an increased danger of breast cancer (Sumner 410).
Abortion constitutional rights are contemplated in relation to the global individual rights dialogue and the way this liaison may bring to a close the debate around the unborn baby’s right to life. There are circumstances when the growth of abortion legislation is underpinned by global commitments to human civil rights and the privileges of females. Allowing abortion conflicts with the unalienable right to life acknowledged by the original fathers of the United States. The announcement of freedom states that all people are formed equal gifted by their creator with certain unalienable rights, including the right to life independence and pleasure. Abortion terminates a life that was intended for every human being.
Human beings have a sense of being attracted by something that is pleasing. Abortion promotes an ethnicity where human life is a throwaway. The support of abortion shows that human life has a small value. Victims of abortion are innocent creatures who will never have a chance to witness the daylight (D’Andrea, 20). If we support abortion, we strengthen the concept that human lives are not meaningful in that we can do away with anyone or anything that brings about inconveniences in our lives. It is crucial to acknowledge that some people are against the concurrence with the regulation that restricts abortion for the earliest six months of pregnancy unless a health condition endangers the life of the pregnant woman.
Every step has a consequence; hence we should see the options in every situation. Conceiving is a blessing; the child can become a source of happiness for the parents. A pregnant woman has a choice about abortion. Abortion may later affect the life of the person performing, for example, the inability to get pregnant in the future and the issue of post-traumatic disorders. These are some of the considerations put forward before the option of abortion is put across.
Abortion involves the deliberate killing of a fetus to stop a pregnancy. The fetuses are creatures biologically though they are known as dependent beings. Notably, the killing of people is wrong, and the conjecture of personhood has descriptive supremacy. It helps in understanding why we are human beings and how human bodies can stop being persons. That supports the moral status of abortion. The right to life makes it wrong to kill them. The right to life states that the fetuses are individuals with the right to life (Sumner and Leonard, 406-410). Fetuses may not have the right to the expectant woman’s body and do not disobey the power by not allowing the embryo to make use of her body (Richards et al., 220-240). Therefore, not until fetuses can be detached from women and positioned in new wombs abortion may not infringe the rights of fetuses, and it may be acceptable. Moreover, this act of abortion prevents the unborn from living and experiencing its valuable future.
Medical ethics provide a shared framework of ideas. There are the specific virtues of the basic ethical principles. The beneficence principle which means doing what is beneficial to the patient, the law of autonomy is all about the patient’s right to self-determination, the principle of justice requires medical professionals to be fair in the delivery of health care, and the fidelity principle states that the specialists should be truthful and faithful in delivering health services. Medical practitioners contain the values in their brains when deciding whether to offer support or participate in the performing of abortion. A number of the principles seem to conflict because of the exceptional nature of the connection between the mothers as well as the fetus. The traditional oath taken by doctors forbids abortion. It says I will not grant a lady a device to perform the abortion, but the contemporary promise still prohibits healthcare providers from performing abortions in the row of work, and above all, they should not play God (Manninen et al., 11-20). Abortion is murder since the unborn life constitutes a legal person from its conception. If women become pregnant, they should admit the accountability that comes with conceiving a child; people have to take responsibility for their dealings and bear the consequences. Engaging in sexual intercourse even where contraceptives methods are in use comes with jeopardy conceiving. The fetus should not undergo punishments for the adult’s mistakes, and when one is unprepared to care for a kid, they should put them up for adoption.
Abortion stops a beating and functioning heart, making it a diversity of murder. Abortion cheapens life in the world and facilitates sexual immorality. Ethical values like value for life and responsibility are the values that conservative and moderate people take seriously. The virtues are fundamental in agreeing that human life is expensive and needs to be treasured. Once a woman gets pregnant under duress, the most common cause is the malfunction of the contraceptives. The right values that come in the ones put on the life of the unborn and the morals we give to the female to give or not to bestow her to another person. When two moral values clash, there may be a lack of a moral conclusion, and we are in the world of making the paramount of terrible choices (Boyle 25-30). When people have moral values, there would be no unwanted pregnancies and tragic abortions, and the moral value and freedom conflict will end.
Contraception also referred to as birth control, has been used since time immemorial to prevent pregnancy. In response to the surge of population growth, most of the nations have adopted modern birth control techniques to minimize population increase, especially in densely populated regions such as Asia and Africa. Health departments of various countries have scaled up awareness and control measures to counter high fertility rates and unwanted pregnancy, which continues to be a major health hazard for populated nations. As such, couples use various birth control measures such as Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD), Oral Contraceptive pill (OCP), condoms, Hormonal Contraception, and Morning after pills. Even though modern birth control is associated with various health complications such as painful menstruation and weight gaining, it continues to counter high fertility patterns and minimize unintended pregnancy amongst most couples.
Historically, the morning pills were used as regular contraceptive pills, often taken in large doses. Today, the pills are more effective with fewer health side effects especially taken with a 24-hour-period of unprotected intercourse (Bentancor and Clarke 2526). Most of the morning pills are sold in pharmacies without medical experts’ prescriptions. Some of the pills widely sold in the market include Next Choice, Plan B, Option 2, and Norlevo (Hubacher and Trussell 420). The morning pills present an array of benefits to their users. For instance, it’s easily accessible; even if the morning pill fails to prevent pregnancy, it is less likely to harm the fetus. Nonetheless, the pills present some health side effects to the user. For instance, it causes irregular bleeding, abdominal pain, and regular usage triggers high blood pressure.
Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD) is arguably one of the most effective birth control measures. A health practitioner usually inserts the device in the uterus within five to seven days of unprotected intercourse. The IUD is available in health facilities and pharmacies through prescription only. Ideally, the IUDs offer several benefits to their users, making it the most effective birth control measure (Karpilow et al., n. p.). It can be used for long-term purposes since it prevents unwanted pregnancies for up to twelve years. Similarly, it can be easily removed in case of a couple of plans to have a baby. However, the IUD presents disadvantages to its users, such as irregular periods, pain when placing the device, and regular backaches.
Hormonal contraceptives include vaginal rings, contraceptive coils, a skin patch, and a birth control pill. The primary goal of hormonal contraceptives is not only to prevent ovulation but also to stop already fertilized eggs from embedding into the womb. Other hormonal contraceptives induce mucus in the cervix area, which in turn prevents sperm movement towards the egg cell (Skovlund et. al., 1157). The major benefit of using hormonal contraceptives is that they are effective and reliable in preventing unwanted pregnancies. In addition, contraceptives relieve menstrual pain, thereby leading to lighter periods. Nonetheless, its effectiveness may be hampered when the recipient is on medication and suffers from high blood pressure.
Although modern contraceptives are linked to several side effects to the user, they have been reliable and effective in countering high fertility rates in most countries and minimizing unwanted pregnancies. As such, numerous birth control methods exist in the market to fulfill the demands and needs of couples. For example, pharmacies and medical facilities avail various products such as Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD), Oral Contraceptive pill (OCP), condoms, Hormonal Contraception, and Morning after pills to interested individuals. Despite the contraceptive effectiveness, users have to endure several health side effects such as regular back pain, painful menstruations, and heavy periods.
Unintended pregnancy bears several adverse outcomes for both the mother and the child. First, the mother has to take stigmatization for their entire life, especially when they come from financially unstable backgrounds. The ultimate solution to some of such stalemates is abortion, which then increases both the health and social risks. More importantly, some of these parents may live with guilt and affect themselves with mental challenges. The effects continue to worsen because, children, in this case, have higher probabilities of faring in their school achievements. Again, their emotional ad social development becomes difficult, but they also have more prospects of performing poorly in the labor market.
Apart from the ethical principle, the treatment would violate the laws under the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act of 1990, which only permits abortion in case the fetus could be severely handicapped after birth. The Act provides that being disabled only affects the development of the fetus until its birth and sanctions any abortion acts based on such disability. In the presented situation, the fetus was not specified as severely handicapped, and therefore, abortion would violate the Act. This violation qualifies as a criminal offense since it goes against the legal framework regulating abortion.
When women conceive unintentionally, they try to look for an immediate solution, and abortion remains the most common approach. Nonetheless, not all can access such services, but this has little effect on the possibilities of depression, according to Horvath and Courtney claims. Nevertheless, an investigation by Herd et al. (421) on the implications of unwanted pregnancies indicated that anxiety was also high for those who could not access abortion services as compared to those granted. Moreover, before the Roe v. Wade case, little research was conducted to examine the mental consequences of those with unintended pregnancies, but a study by Herd et al. (421) shows that those who completed their unwanted pregnancies before it was legalized had poorer mental health later in life.
The primary role of prenatal care is to provide regular surveillance on the baby and the mother to prevent health problems throughout the pregnancy period. Nonetheless, with unwanted pregnancies, most mothers may not seek these services either because they do not know or are unwilling. The 2018 report by World Health Organization then continues to explain the threat of such behaviors by claiming that 830 women die daily due to preventable complications during pregnancy, and young people such as teens are at a higher risk of such deaths. Some of the causes of mortality include unsafe abortion, severe bleeding, and high blood pressure that occur during pregnancy.
The principle advanced in the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence is strengthened by emphasizing the moral right of justice for patients. The principle of respect for autonomy goes way overboard the confines of individual health care. The principle of health care as a right for the population often comes with major issues concerning the welfare of individual patients whose rights are sidelined. Involving the principle of autonomy within the ethics of healthcare providers with medication use during pregnancy offers an insightful understanding individuals have the right to decide over their health. Nevertheless, this often compromises physicians who are contradicted by the patients’ decisions and their competence. For example, physicians are always contradicted in the medication of pregnant women between ensuring the safety of the unborn babies and the decisions of the patients over their health on issues such as abortion, ways of giving birth, and more others.
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D’Andrea, Thomas D. Tradition, rationality, and virtue: The thought of Alasdair MacIntyre. Routledge, 2017.
Herd, Pamela, Jenny Higgins, Kamil Sicinski, and Irina Merkurieva. “The implications of unintended pregnancies for mental health in later life.” American journal of public health vol. 106, no. 3, 2016, pp. 421-429.
Hubacher, David, and James Trussell. “A definition of modern contraceptive methods.” Contraception 92.5, 2015, 420-421.
Karpilow, Quentin, et al. “The role of contraception in preventing abortion, nonmarital childbearing, and child poverty.” Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Fall Research Conference, Washington, DC. 2013.
Manninen, Bertha Alvarez, and Jack Mulder Jr. “Introduction.” Civil Dialogue on Abortion. Routledge, 2018. 11-20.
Richards, P., and Allen E. Bergin. Handbook of psychotherapy and religious diversity. American Psychological Association, 2014.
Skovlund, Charlotte Wessel, et al. “Association of hormonal contraception with depression.” JAMA psychiatry 73.11 (2016): 1154-1162.
Sumner, Leonard Wayne. Abortion and moral theory. Vol. 285. Princeton University Press, 2014.