Abortion and Ethics

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Guttmacher Institute, between 2010 and 2014, there were 25 million unsafe abortions worldwide, accounting for 45% of all abortion instances. ("Worldwide, An Estimated 25 Million Unsafe Abortions Occur Each Year"). According to a CBS News article titled "Abortion Around the World: Where are the Rates Highest?" the Eastern European area has the highest rate of abortion in the world, at 43 per 1000 women. These figures demonstrate the rising number of abortions worldwide as well as the social issues the procedure raises. However, the most interest that arises concerning the issue of abortion is the ethical grounds it holds in the community, and whether the practice meets the moral confines dictated by the society. While some in the society have the perception that abortion is a moral wrong and consider it a crime, other factions justify the practice as a personal choice. Abortion has specific ethical and legal implications mostly dependent on the views and perception of the act to the morals held in the society.

Raanan Gillon’s paper, “Is there a ‘new ethics of abortion’?” investigates the issue of morality and abortion in the society. Gillon looks at the debate of the on theological perspective by analyzing the morality of abortion and its implications in the society (ii5). There exists a divided moral standing ground on the issue of abortion in the nation, with some arguing against it while others insist on its benefits. Indeed the moral grounds on the subject of abortion have different views that are held by the religious beliefs and personal opinions that contradict each other quite often. It is of note to understand the moral implications of abortion help in educating the masses on the harms and benefits of abortion including whether to go through with the act. Gillon’s text aims to give an outlook on the moral debate that is associated with the issue of abortion to help in decision-making concerning the action and whether it should be acceptable in the society.

The paper by Gillon argues on the morality of taking the life through abortion and the legalities involved in the act of abortion. Gillon questions the killing of a newly formed human being at the “pre-embryo, embryo, fetus, newborn baby” stage that often abortion takes place (ii5). The critic of this aspect is essential in trying to establish the legal rights that the newly formed human being has and the morality that applies in this instance. The society perceives the taking of a life of a human being as a criminal act, a sin, or an immoral act that is unacceptable in the confines of the coexisting community and has legal consequences and sanctions if committed. While some communities allow the killing of animals and other living beings for food purposes, the murder of a human being under no threat of self-defense, often is considered inhumane and immoral. Abortion receives equal criticisms since it is viewed as depriving a living being its life despite not being an aggressor at any case in point. Gillon questions when and what the basis of development does the embryo become morally associated with a human being and having the right to life (ii5).

Gillon’s text explores the ethical theories of rights, virtue, and utilitarianism in trying to explain the moral implications of the act of abortion. Baron, Gurcay, Moore, and Starcke describe utilitarianism as the ability to predict the consequences of the actions a person takes (5). Abortion requires the consideration of utilitarian views on ethics that demand the outcomes of the effects of abortion to be considered for both the fetus and the mother. While the rights of the fetus before the act of abortion are explored, it is observed that the society gives superiority to birth for a newborn to qualify as the human being (Gillon ii6). The theory of rights appears to be in consideration in Gillon’s arguments; rights being regarded as ethically correct and valid due to the acceptance by most people in the society. Moreover, the issue of rights is dependent on the acceptable characteristic beliefs of the society provided for its citizens. In most communities depending on the collective moral rights, have a view on the issue of the morality in abortion, which predisposes abortion towards a perceived illegal act, committing murder or a criminal act. Lastly, values of the society are explored in Gillan’s text to aid in answering the moral implication questions that are held on the abortion issue.

According to MacKinnon and Fiala, the acceptance of the practice of abortion in America that has existed since 1973, since the supreme court recognized the need to have respect for the right to privacy for the pregnant woman in deciding to abort (231). However, the authors also note the present debate on the morality and legality that is associated with the issue of abortion, which has created divided opinions by many factions in the society (MacKinnon and Fiala 231). In response to the critical question of the morality of abortion, the effort of legislation in America has been progressively in the frontline to achieve the best cause of action regarding the issue of abortion. While there is a rise in opposition to the act of abortion in the United States, the supporters of the practice are also growing. Equally, MacKinnon and Fiala allude to the sentiments of Gillon on the emotion associated with the issue of abortion and the powerful and intimate aspect it has in people’s lives depending on the opinions they have on the subject. However, MacKinnon and Fiala present the view that while abortion is considered immoral, the law should allow the practice, since abortion involves moral and ethical considerations and in some instances factual matters that take place in the different stages of fetal development (234).

The reading of the text by MacKinnon and Fiala and Gillon aids in the understanding of the societal views on the issue of abortion and provides the understanding of the morality and legal implications attached to the subject. There are valuable lessons to learn in some articles that will help the society in realizing the best solution in handling the issue of abortion. Firstly, it should be understood that abortion is a moral wrong in the society since it is considered as an act of killing an unborn fetus that has the right to life despite its early development stages. Ethically, abortion is perceived by the society as a violation of the rights of the unborn child and an inhumane act to deny the fetus life since the unborn fetus has innocence and is not an aggressor to deserve being killed. However, the legal aspect of the society ought to allow the practice of abortion, as it helps in solving most of the problems that occur in the pre-fetal stages of the childbirth. The complications that arise towards the pregnant women, gives reason to conduct an abortion since it aids in saving the life of the mother. The moral debate on abortion will exist even in the future as long as there are different opinions on the matter, also due to the societal views having various propositions on the subject.

In conclusion, the moral and legal implications of abortion are dependent on the views of the society that are based on the various emotional and religious beliefs that are associated with the subject. However, it is vital to understand that the moral implications of abortion, are dependent on the ethical considerations of the practice that view the practice as an illegal act of killing that is undesirable in a moral and ethical environment. While it is vital to consider the rights of the unborn fetus, it is also crucial to give attention to the values of the society that help in deciding the morally and ethically acceptable practices in the society. Furthermore, the decision between right and wrong is an issue that involves the life of human beings; therefore, adoption of the right course of action on the subject of abortion is the best approach to aid in the justification of the morality involved in the act of abortion. Lastly, it is also important to reflect on the legal implications of abortion to help in rationalizing the action without compromise on the moral and ethical grounds of the society. Abortion is a crime, but valid reasons for abortion are also existent.

Work Cited

"Abortion Around The World: Where Are Rates Highest?." Cbsnews.Com, 2017, https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/abortion-around-the-world-where-are-rates- highest/19/.

Baron, Jonathan, et al. "Use of a Rasch model to predict response times to utilitarian moral dilemmas." Synthese (2012): 1-11.

Gillon, Raanan. "Is there a ‘new ethics of abortion’?." Journal of Medical Ethics 27.suppl 2 (2001): ii5-ii9.

MacKinnon, Barbara, and Andrew Fiala. Ethics: Theory and contemporary issues. Nelson Education, (2014): p. 231-277.

"Worldwide, An Estimated 25 Million Unsafe Abortions Occur Each Year." World Health Organization, 2017, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/unsafe- abortions-worldwide/en/.

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