One of the more divisive moral questions in America today concerns the issue of “reproductive rights.” One side of this controversy declares itself to be protecting life, in particular the life of the unborn, while the other side claims it is defending the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body. At the same time, many try to accommodate both positions, wanting to see everyone’s rights defended.
This moral debate is similar to others in that it consists of several issues brought together into one conversation. Informed, free-thinking people need to form a clear position on this question. So, are you pro-life, pro-choice, or something else?
To introduce the issue, the following bullet points are taken from an online article at news-basics.com on Abortion (Source).
- Women have the right to make their own decisions about what happens inside their own bodies, including the right to end an unwanted pregnancy.
- The vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester, or during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is no bigger than a lime and weighs less than half an ounce. Only about 1 in 1,000 are performed in the last trimester, usually for medical reasons. Gruesome images of mangled fetuses are a misrepresentation of abortion.
- A fertilized egg, an embryo, an early-stage fetus—these represent potential human life. They are not synonymous with the words baby, child, or human being. The difference is what makes abortion morally acceptable; and it’s a difference that U.S. law recognizes.
- A woman’s right to decide whether or not she can take on a lifelong responsibility to a child outweighs the potential person’s right to life.
- The question of when a fertilized egg becomes a human being can’t be definitively answered by anyone. The government should not impose a single definition of the beginning of life on women, since different people hold different beliefs.
- An unwanted pregnancy, if carried to term, can alter the course of a woman’s life, sometimes tragically: often by preempting education and career ambitions, or by making a life of poverty almost inescapable.
- Many fertilized eggs are discarded at fertility clinics, where couples seek help through in vitro fertilization. If this is not considered murder, why should abortion be?
- When abortions are illegal, women seek them anyway. And illegal abortions, often performed by non-professionals, injure or kill thousands of women each year around the world.
- Much of the resistance to abortion rights comes from a puritanical, anti-sexual culture that insists, “You had your fun; now pay the price.” This is demonstrated by pro-life activists’ refusal to promote the use of contraceptives, which would drastically reduce the need for abortions.
- Human life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.
- An unborn child is an innocent human being. Ending his or her life is immoral, and offends our instinctive sense of the sanctity of human life.
- From the moment of conception onward, the genes of a unique human being are present. Abortion means killing this unique human being.
- At its earliest stages, the unborn child doesn’t resemble a baby, and that makes some people comfortable with denying its humanity; but it is a developing person nevertheless.
- The government should not allow women to obtain abortions, no matter how inconvenient the pregnancy is for them.
- Too many women abort their babies without really facing what they’re doing, because it’s easy and legal. If they saw what an aborted fetus looks like—even one in the early stages of pregnancy—they wouldn’t be so quick to make this choice.
- People who aren’t prepared to raise a child shouldn’t have sex.
- There are many American families who want to adopt; if the mother can’t or doesn’t want to raise the child, adoption is the more ethical alternative.
- Even in cases of rape or incest, it’s better to seek a solution that doesn’t involve taking an innocent life.
- Abortion is an ancient, uncivilized, inhumane practice. As mankind progresses toward a higher level, we must do away with such brutal practices, just as we did away with slavery.
Regardless of your position, there can be no doubt that the legalizing of abortion has had a large numeric impact on the population. A graphic representation of this impact is highlighted in the following video.