Despite the increasing rates of abortion, debates on this matter have only focused on the political and legal aspects of the practice without giving much attention to the fundamental ethics surrounding it. This is partly because many people have believed that the legislation of laws should not involve ethical values, but in the real sense, a good lawyer should be legislated in accordance with moral values. Pro-life campaigners have always held that abortion; is a violation of the infant’s basic right to life, risks the mother’s biological and mental health, and strains one’s social relations.
The basis of the debate on abortion if, however, laid on the rights of the fetus since it is considered as a human from a biological perspective where any organism under the Homo sapiens species is classified as a human being (Cline 2011, p. 1). The other major aspect of concern on abortion is on the moral status of the fetus, which, as a human being, should not be deliberately murdered because it has a right to life like any other human being. This paper, therefore, discusses the in-depth aspects of unethical and immoral issues associated with the act of abortion.
Unethical issues concerning abortion
The unethical values of abortion come in due to the rights of the fetus, and this means that the freedom of women as described in the pro-choice positions is not the sole concern since personal freedom may be limited due to other people’s rights.
However, the destruction of the life of a human being may be an exception in defending oneself even though this argument cannot be used as a justification of abortion. For instance, if a pregnancy occurred due to rape or maybe as a result of another person’s actions, the application of self-defense in killing the fetus can never be ethical by all means. The fact of the matter remains that the life of a human being has been deliberately destroyed, which is actually considered as murder, an unethical act amongst the society. Similarly, the responsibility of one’s action should apply to pregnancies just like it does to any other action or activity.
In this case, one should take responsibility for consensual sex by facing the unintended consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. Therefore, such occurrences as unwanted pregnancy, especially those resulting from consensual sex, should be given the same treatment as that of a lost gamble or a mere accident. Therefore, when a conflict in liberty arises, such as that of a woman’s autonomy rights and a fetus’s right to life, the party causing the conflict, in this case, the woman, has to give way and defer from the rule of self-defense.
Despite the fact that murder can be defended in certain practicable grounds such as in a war where the good outweighs the bad, there can never be a justification in killing an innocent fetus in abortion. This is because there is no utilitarian principle that can justify the killing of a child only to avoid the burden of having to bear and bring up that child. In any case, the party involved, either the pregnant woman or the father of the child, could have used peaceful methods such as abstaining from intercourse or the use of effective contraceptives (Sharvy ND, p. 1).
Therefore, this cannot be used as a justification of murder since the good, in this case, is avoiding to bear an unwanted child, and it does not outweigh the bad, which is destroying a human being on purpose. As much as a pro-choice position can be used against charges of abortion, it is only natural and moral than life get more value rather than personal convenience. In this case, a woman choosing to kill a fetus and valuing her personal convenience of evading to bear the child is considered to be committing an unethical act that is equal to murder. Practically, anyone considering personal interest at the expense of another person’s life is considered to be unethical, and the same applies to abortion.
However, several philosophers argue that a fetus does not have moral obligations because it lacks personhood, which is defined by self-awareness and determination. Regardless of this argument, human beings are thought to have rights simply because they are persons and not biological species. On the other hand, the argument of personhood gives a more clear explanation of why it is unethical to kill a fetus, which is considered as a human being, compared to killing other animals, which have less moral values like flies (ChristiaNet 2008, p. 1).
In addition, pregnant women have ethical obligations to the unborn child since most of them get pregnant after consensual sex and due to negligence of contraception use. As a morally upright woman, it is so obvious that one feels the need to protect the innocent life growing inside her by carrying the pregnancy to term and bringing that child up as any mother would. This is the reason why in the normal social setting, any woman who gets an abortion or even gives up the child, not because of valid reasons but simply because the child was unwanted is considered to be immoral to the point of being despised by society members.
This obligation to the woman should, therefore, be strong enough to limit the option of abortion to emergency cases only when the life of the mother is at stake. Despite many philosophers giving scientific explanations as to why abortion is moral, what really matters is the societal expectations of every member. Thus, as long as abortion is considered an immoral act by society, scientific explanations and legal rights do not justify abortion at all. The sexual activity itself is a major concern of morality as it is the cause of unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, in order to understand the ethics concerning abortion, it is important to look at the ethics of sex itself.
It is only logical that one accepts and faces the consequences of sexual intercourse rather than avoiding or preventing. Therefore, anyone who engages in the act of sexual intercourse should face the consequences in a brave way, which is by bearing the innocent child that has done no wrong. Similarly, the father of the child has equal ethical and obligations to the child and should, therefore, take moral responsibilities to the child by giving support to the woman throughout the pregnancy. This means that it is unethical for fathers to neglect their unborn children since this one of the major reasons for abortions, especially among the youth.
Immorality of abortion
The pro-abortionists have argued that if life starts at conception, even so, do we need to respect the life of the sperm and that of the ovule, but in declaring this, they are overlooking the fact that the sperm and the ovule are akin to any living cell, for instance, a blood cell. The truth of the matter is that it is only after the fertilization of the ovule by the sperm that a human person is formed (life starts at conception). The conceived unborn child has an intrinsic yearning to live – it is, therefore, its right to live. As much as a woman claims to her moral autonomy, much more also does the unborn voiceless baby have a right for life (Cline 2011, p. 1). It is a different person from the mother (with different or the same sex as the mother), entitled to its own rights. It is only when the mother’s life is at stake that abortion can be conceded.
However, this is a great injustice to the voiceless unborn child; for sure most abortions are done for the reason of convenience, not for a physical or medical reason. God is the author of life, and He alone has the right to take that life, so whatever dilemmas women may be in, it is quite obvious that God would give them a way out; but this can never be through killing the unborn child. This can be illustrated by the law of justice, which states, do to others what you want them to do to you, suppose the pro-abortionist mother was aborted by her mother; would she have had the opportunity to even fight for her rights to moral autonomy?
Justice should, therefore, be accorded to the unborn for they have their advocate – even their Maker (ChristiaNet 2008, p. 1). No one knows what the future holds for these young ones. It may well be that these unwanted ones may prove important in the near future. Moreover, the laws of modern society prohibit murder, and legalizing abortion would contravene the very justice the law purports to uphold (Sharvy ND, p. 1).
Health risks associated with abortion
Abortion is associated with grave immediate and long-term risks causing eventual deaths or prolonged biological health disorders to the mother and children in case of failed miscarriage. For instance, many children are now being born with mental disorders related to prematurity due to previous abortions by their mothers. Now that the law has not entirely authorized abortion, many women secretly subject themselves to the mercy of unauthorized personnel, thus undergoing a risky abortion, which may result in health implications such as damage to their reproductive system, extensive bleeding, blood clots, infections, sterility and ultimately death. Maternal deaths have been on the rise with 2009 abortion statistics giving an annual approximate of1.4 million abortions in the United States.
This translates to more than 3000 abortions every single day and one abortion every 22 seconds. The reluctance of women from consistent medical attention also accounts for increased post-abortion complications. Venereal diseases, for instance, Gonorrhea, if present, cause difficulties for an induced abortion to be carried out. Moreover, the fallopian tube is very delicate, and any infections in the womb can spoil it permanently. Abortion has also been known to be the cause of future premature births, breast cancer, and repeated miscarriages to those who did it. All these risks sap and wane the mother’s biological faculties dismantling the hope of ever having a healthy child. In addition, the medical processes involved in abortion are complex; in difficult situations, blood transfusion is performed in which case the risks of infection and death are heightened.
Psychological effects of abortion
With all these possible outcomes, it is quite evident that a productive Nation would advocate for a healthy citizenry. In the long run, abortion psychologically hurts the mother’s mental health; the guilt of the cruel and unmerciful act of terminating the life of an innocent person weighs heavy on the shoulders of the offender. It afflicts one with a festering incurable wound of remorse, for, with the victim out of sight, the hope of making amends is narrowed.
The stress which comes with this burden of guilt ultimately drives one to despair accompanied by emotional breakdown expressed in the form of nervous tension, sleep disorders, hopelessness, and a higher degree of suicidal attempts (Anti Essays 2011, p. 1). Although it may be argued that the post-abortion patient gets some relief in having aborted successfully, one should not overlook the fact that such relief halos are always followed by sporadic emotional paralysis, under which state one is momentarily out of touch with their feelings.
The deteriorated mental health consequently leads to low self-esteem, which adversely affects post-abortion patient’s social relations. At the family level, this is characterized by sexual dysfunction for the married, in the form of fear for male companions, reduced sexual desire, and heightened pain during intercourse. Other post-abortion patients resort to moral deliquescence such as prostitution, promiscuous living, child abuse, and child neglect. Chronic family disorders ultimately lead to unforeseen family conflicts, domestic violence, and divorce.
This destabilizes the moral strength of our society and strains our children psychologically. At times children are baffled when they know that quite often, their mothers/ relatives abort innocent infants. In a bid to overcome the challenge at hand, many post-abortion patients justify their actions, and this rationalization renders them easy bait for repeated abortions. Low self-esteem subjects post-abortion patients to self-denial, limitation complex, and escapism, in which case they seek solace in drugs and alcoholism (Anti Essays 2011, p. 1). Their health is thus negatively affected, narrowing their chances of survival and reducing their lifespan.
Abortion rates have increased over the past several decades, especially due to the degrading economy. Many arguments have been raised on the debate on abortion with the pro-choice activists arguing that women have rights over their bodies; thus, they can legally choose to keep pregnancies or not. On the other hand, there are pro-life activists who argue that a fetus is a human being and should, therefore, be accorded its moral valued accordingly. These rights include the right to life, which prohibits any human being from killing another deliberately.
Abortion is therefore considered murder and hence a violation of the fetus’ right to life. This is because, despite the fact that the fetus is an unborn child, it has life and should have equal rights to all other human beings. Similarly, the mother of the child has ethical obligations of taking responsibility and facing the consequences of having engaged in sexual activity. A morally upright woman and a father, too, would prioritize the life of the unborn child before their personal interests. There is no doubt that abortion is unethical and immoral in aspects except for a few cases, such as in cases where the life of the mother is in danger.
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Sharvy, B. (ND). The morality of abortion: A critique. Web.