The Ethics of Abortion

2307 WordsJul 8, 201810 Pages
Background and Context Abortion is defined as a procedure that is done to remove an embryo or fetus from the uterus of its mother in order to prevent its birth (Roth, 2005). Abortion is categorized as a bioethical issue because it relates to the morals of biomedical advances, policies and research. Abortion is a difficult subject that can involve personal morals and beliefs, legality and religious values. The issue is often viewed from either the side of pro-life, which places emphasis on the fetus and its right to life or pro-choice, which emphasizes the rights of the mother to decide the appropriate action (Roth, 2005). This brings the ethical question of should the government have the right to outlaw abortion into debate. The two…show more content…
In the United Sates, viability is around 24 weeks or pregnancy (Roth, 2005). Viability is defined as the ability of the fetus to live outside of the uterus after birth (Jones, 2007). The autonomy of the mother is addressed with the argument that the mother has the right to decide if she wants to carry the fetus full term or abort it (Jones, 2007). This argument presents that the mother has the right to her life and her body, therefore she gets to choose what is done with the fetus. The mother should not be forced to have the child against her will because this would be immoral and infringe on her rights (Jones, 2007). The right to life of the fetus is addressed with the argument that the fetus has the same equal right to life that all people do (Jones, 2007). An extension of this argument is that society has the moral duty to protect the fetus because it is incapable of protecting itself. Another argument indicates that the fetus is only a potential life since it depends on the mother for existence. This means some consider the mother to be a fully formed life and have a higher value than the fetus (Jones, 2007). Others argue that the fetus is a life that should be valued from the moment of conception because it is part of the “human community” and has intrinsic value (Nobis, 2011). Judith Jarvis Thomson, a philosopher, makes the argument that a fetus may be considered a person but abortion may still be morally justified (1971). Thomson uses the thought

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