Abortion: Legal and Ethical Perspective

The supreme court's historic decision in 1973 opened the door for a larger debate on the subject of abortion. Discussions frequently focus on moral and theological issues while ignoring physiological and psychological ones. When deciding on the morality and legitimacy of abortion, the majority of people adopt a narrow perspective and rely on misconceptions. In our nation, various states have their own interpretations of the law and set forth specific circumstances in which an abortion may be performed under medical oversight. The external environments continue to be crucial in some jurisdictions when choosing whether or not to allow a mother to have an abortion. The question that arises is on the rights of the females and concept of "my body, my choice". Fundamental rights and the need to protect the mother's life remain paramount and should determine the legality of abortion.

History of Abortion

The essential element in any procedure is to identify the origin and factors that prompted its existence. The periods between the 19th century and the earlier 20th century are integral while discussing the matter of abortion and the history behind the practice. During the earlier 19 century, it was upon the government to control population and according to Reagan, different states had the intention of ensuring certain races are populated (230). The illegality of abortion had no social and economic importance, rather a political aspect was considered in order to create anarchy. During the earlier period, states across the USA focused on ensuring the act remain illegal in order to gain political mileage. During the 1960's the act remained illegal and records indicate that more women opted for the same (Reagan 221). In this case, many faced the danger of being in the hands of unprofessional doctors thus exposing to health risks and resulting in maternal deaths. Many women lost their lives and the ability to bear children due to the inability of the state to categorically put in place measures that would ensure the practice is done in a professional manner and under specific conditions.

Over 10 percent of maternal mortality rates in the country were due to unsafe abortions (Reagan 214). Unsafe abortions created a new risk and affected women across different states and belonging to different social classes. Legislation and danger of public backlash forced women to seek help from unqualified personnel oblivious of the dangers. In the mid 19th century a feminist approach took center stage (217). Activists choose to undergo an abortion as a way of solidarity with other females and an attempt to break away from the social misconceptions. The move worked towards ensuring the state draft laws that worked towards legalization of abortion. The then legislations only specified the health of the mother as the only issue to see into when an abortion takes place. The medical fraternity also was placed in a limbo with no clear laws that defined when a clinician might be deemed to perform a malpractice. Legislators during the last half of the 19th century embarked on a mechanism to regulate the practice (221-25). Legal battles then ensured to make the practice legal across different jurisdictions.

Roe vs Wade

The high court ruling of 1973 created a platform for future abortion legislation. In the case, the court had a 7-2 decision on the matter at hand (Reagan 244). The judges argued that life begins after birth and that a fetus lacked fundamental rights under the United States laws. The case was won because the existing Constitution only recognized human rights for citizens and not potential lives. The lack of fundamental rights meant that abortion remains legal and that the clinician and mother would not be held under the law for murder or clinical malpractice. The judges aimed at protecting the mother and allowing decisions regardless of the social aspects.

The second argument based on the mother's fundamental rights. The ruling argued that under the ninth and the fourteenth amendment, women were guaranteed the right to privacy (Reagan 244-45). The provision meant that whatever choices made should bear in mind the mother's right to privacy under the USA Constitution. The ruling was a plus to any female aiming at controlling the size of her family. The case ruling placed the mother's rights as paramount and insisted on dealing with historical injustices faced by women during the earlier periods of American history. The potential life versus the mother's life would create a debatable scenario. The health of the mother would be the only scenario when an abortion was permitted in the final trimester of the pregnancy, which again was a violation of a mother's right to privacy.

Age Factor

After the landmark ruling, the country was faced with another hurdle. The age of the mother then played a part. Teenagers seeking to abort due to various reasons including rape, incest, and health factors would need a parental consent. In the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa versus Casey of 1992, the court ruled that parental consent was required for minors seeking an abortion (Justia, 1992). The consent of signed document from husband would not play a part when a minor is involved. The main idea was to safeguard the interested of the minor and ensure her life and health was paramount before any procedure in undertaken. The case also indicated that in some scenario contraceptive might fail its intended purpose thus allowing the undertaking of the procedure with less regard to the edge. For married couples or adults a signed document from husband remained a requirement but for the case of minors, it was the parents to provide a signed consent. The aim was to reduce any legal despite arising from a third party. The clinician was to be protected against any legal action.

The Demerits of Abortion

The demerits of abortion range from ethical to religious aspects. The health of the mother and law provisions within different jurisdictions determine the nature in which abortion is perceived.

The Ethical Question

The public over the years subjected to debates fitting those for and against abortion. In most cultures, abortion remained unethical given the nature of the act and the manner of execution. Aspects of ethics and morality arise from cultures and the religious provisions (Raffery 36).


The religious elements highlight moral values and set standards, which remained mandatory to those who align with specific beliefs (Raffery 36). Failure to adhere to these standards would mean that the person becomes immoral. An abortion according to Christianity relates to murder while across different cultures is just perceived immoral (31-7). The cultures identify the family as an important institution and that a child seals marriage institutions. The ethical aspect arises when a person questions the manner in which life is perceived.

The Merits of Abortion

The society tends to focus on the negative elements of abortion but forgets the benefits. Abortion in totality has its positive sides including the psychological factors, the health of the mother, provision within the law, and other long-term effects.

Population Control

Abortion acts as a way of controlling population in events contraceptive fails. The mother, in this case, may not be ready to cater to the needs of the expected child thus opt for abortion (Sherwin 345). The fault, in this case, is not the mother's rather mechanism's which is to set to control birth. The traditional families were made up of more children. Given the depletion of natural resources and the inability of the economy to sustain the population, abortion remains an option while creating a balance between the size of the population and the availability of resources. In the end, controlling birth remains a proactive approach in ensuring the economy recovers given a sizable population that would utilize existing resources without exhaustion. In developing nations, the number of children per family remains high given contraceptives being free (345-50). In this case, the contraceptives fail its intended purpose and thus need to create an alternative model with abortion being the only active approach. Thus, abortion across different jurisdictions remains a solution towards controlling future population in an event the contraceptives fail.

Restoring Dignity

Incest and rape highlight scenarios under which the law permits for abortion. In this case, the mother may opt for the same given the nature of the pregnancy. The law requirement acts as a way of retaining women dignity and the same time saves the child from future social segregations (Porter 133-37). Rape results in personality disorder. The mental disorder may be triggered by events related to the horrifying experience. In this case, the child would remain a permanent reminder and may aggravate mental disorders including posttraumatic stress and personality disorder. Allowing abortion may be a psychological boost and a way of dealing with external factors while managing recurrence of a mental disorder. Cultural factors take center stage while dealing with matters incest. A baby conceived because of an incest intercourse risks hereditary disorder. These disorders include sickle cell anemia, dawn syndrome and other mental disorder. An abortion may prevent the possibility of the hereditary genes thus work effectively towards a generation with no genes of hereditary diseases. Those against the medical procedure fail to understand the future benefits of a mother undergoing an abortion.


Safe abortion according to McBride is permitted across different states (109). The provision ignores the right of the mother to choose and determine what is best for her in the near future. The law allows safe abortion in scenarios where a mother's life is in danger but fails in its attempt to ensure mothers and potential mothers access the services. An Abortion could be a life-saving operation and work towards reduced maternal mortality thus denying a mother the right to abortion may be a gateway towards her grave. Mothers suffering from high blood pressure may be advised to abort in order to stabilize her blood levels. A consented agreement is usually but in place in order to reduce litigations (McBride 108-12). A doctor who performs the procedure is protected from any form of legal actions given the provision within the law. The legal nature of abortion highlights positives and highlight situations under which the same can be performed. The doctors have the final say thus creating room for safe abortions to take place. The legalization of abortion has created room for women to make a maternal decision (Porter 153). In this sense in countries where abortion is considered a crime, women seek self-induced models that in the end have a negative effect on their health.

The constitution offers the women and other citizens the right to choose. In this sense, the decision made by the women as long as it does not affect the right of any other citizens is protected within the USA constitution (McBride 31). It remains unfair for the law implementers to only select abortion as the only scenario the right is denied. The first trimester of pregnancy, highlight the beginning of a woman's transformation. A mother may decide on terminating her pregnancy due to unforeseen occurrences and this needed to be protected under the current constitution. During a baby scan, a mother may release the baby is deformed or terminally ill and may not survive for a longer period (Sherwin 153). A mother may opt for abortion due to the nature of the child and a way of protecting future psychological and physical sufferings. The period is appropriate since the bond between a mother and a child is yet to form. The law allows for safe abortion, as it is a woman fundamental right. The child born with deformities and other terminal illnesses may create a psychological effect on the mother given the inability to provide and watch the suffering undergone by the child. Terminating the pregnancy would reduce psychological suffering to the mother and family members and at the same time save the fetus from future segregation and social backlashes.

The Social Effect

Societies in the world tend to link children to the social status of their parents. The ability to offer amenities and ensure proper education would work towards increasing literacy levels and at the same time improve the social status (Sherwin 345). A mother may be overwhelmed by the size of the family. To avert the expansion of the current problem a mother should choose abortion to increase the survival of the rest of the living children. The failure by families to meet their children demands result to social wrongs with a higher percentage of children getting involved in drugs and theft. As a long term, solution abortion within the less privileged women would reduce social evils and create a sizeable family that can be taken care of by the mother especially when the mother is the sole breadwinner (152). In the end, abortion would work towards reducing social evils across different societies. Few opportunities with the social space may mean people seek alternative and compete for available resources. Aborting the unwanted pregnancy works towards reducing future competition and ensure each person gets an equal share of resources.


Constitutionally, economically and health-wise, abortion remains a positive practice and should be utilised along different jurisdictions. Those against abortion fail to understand the constitutional provision and circumstances that led to mothers terminating pregnancies. The constitutional allows for the same under specific provisions. In law, a mother has a constitutional right and her privacy should be protected it is unfair to exclude abortion from the rights enjoyed by women. A mother's health could be at risk may have been impregnated because of rape or incest. The only way to end the traumatizing experience is to abort. People tend to judge without analyzing these scenarios. The stigmatization of those who opted for safe abortion tends to be based on those who have zero percent of getting pregnant or fail to understand the female anatomy. Understanding the life cycle would allow opinion makers to understand the benefit of abortion and the need to legalize it across different jurisdictions. It is clear that regardless of whether abortion is legal or illegal the procedure always takes place. Thus, it is certain that the act needs to be legalized in order to reduce stigmatization and deaths of mothers seeking medical assistances in terminating a pregnancy.

Works Cited

Justia. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992). US Supreme Court, vol. 505. October 1992. Web. 20 July, 2017

McBride, Dorothy. Abortion politics: Public policy in Cross-cultural Perceptive. New York: Psychology Press, 1992. Print.

Porter, Elizabeth. Feminist Perspective on Ethics. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.

Rafferty, Philip. What's Really Going on with Pro-Roe V. Wade Catholic Politicians. Mustang, Oklahoma: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC, 2011. Print.

Reagan, Leslie. When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1997. Print.

Sherwin, Susan. (1991). "Abortion Through a Feminist Ethics Lens." Women and Values . Ed Marilyn Pearsall. Belmont , CA : Wadsworth, 1991, 344-354. Print.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price