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Abortion as a Moral Intractability and a Pro-Life Movement

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A moral dilemma occurs when there is a conflict in which you must choose between two or more actions and there is ethical reasoning behind each action. The conflict of abortion has been an ongoing debate since the early 1800’s. An abortion is the procedure a woman can choose to undergo to terminate her pregnancy. In most cases a woman would choose to take such an action if the fetus is unhealthy or the fetus is detrimental to her health. Another reason she would perform an abortion is due to finances. On average, there are around six million pregnancies that occur each year in the United States and, surprisingly, more than half of those are unplanned. However, many people believe that abortion is the same as murder and that it should be illegal. Others believe it is the woman’s choice because she will have to deal with the present circumstances and future consequences. Due to the moral pros and cons it has been an ongoing debate of social ethics.

Since every person’s situation is unique, the question that arises is how we can generalize when its traversable or negotiable and when its erroneous.In my opinion prochoice is not morally incorrect because if the situations are exclusive to an individual, the decisions should not be based on the principles of morality. There is always a rational or medical reasoning behind every termination. Prolife on the other hand just stands for pro birth as providing a life counts in providing a good education, food and housing system. Pro birth does not necessarily provide a baby with an apt life. In utilitarian terms, to have a universal idea of either for or against reproduction is very hard to rationalize. Each case would have its own relevant and specific features respectively. The theory of utilitarianism is concerned only with pleasure and pain as a result.

Therefore, the amounts of pleasure and pain involved when abortion is permitted must be contrasted with the amounts of pleasure and pain when abortion is forbidden. It might be suggested that the main consideration would be the interests of the fetus: not only can its future life be expectedly happy it might also be the case that the abortion itself is painful, particularly if it occurs later in the pregnancy. As many Utilitarian’s would agree, that the rightness or wrongness of abortion can be determined generally by considering the effects on those directly involved - the parents, the doctor, and the fetus. That thought process is precariously limited and unsophisticated. Unlike deontology and utilitarianism, Care ethics’ focuses mainly towards the care of the patient and understanding an individual/person as an interdependent being who requires physical and emotional support. Care ethicists explicit their decision based on objective consideration after having a deep understanding of the patient’s circumstances and their choices similarly to a person in a relationship shows empathy.

For an individual to carry out this act he/she must be willing to put another person before him/herself. It is certainly important in terms of care ethics to consider all of the relationships that are affected by the case; not just doctor-patient relationship. Even though some people consider termination of pregnancy as unethical but in the current scenario abortion has been accepted by many societies. The health of the mother holds crucial priority. Pregnancy and birth are major life events and should not be compared to menial issues. Pregnancy could also sometimes cause immense discomfort and disruption to the lives of many women. The justification given for abortion is usually based on an abstract notion of the value of “fetal life”, rather than the circumstances or the distress that a female body has to go through.

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Extreme opponents of abortion argue that abortion is equivalent to murder and that, no matter how much women may suffer, they cannot be allowed to “kill their children”. the problem is that if it is sometimes permissible to kill a fetus, where is the dividing-line between this and killing a normal baby. There has been news of people killing their newborns because they are no longer able to take charge of their after-baby situation. There could be plenty of reasons behind this heinous act such as disruption of education or employment, lack of support from the partner, poverty, unemployment or inability to afford additional children, relationship problems with husband or partner, and a woman's perception that she is too young to have a child. Decisions such as Abortion could save such unethical crimes. According to Mill, to compel such women to bear unwanted children is a form of absolute authority. It is apt to be free to make our own choices for certain extremely personal decision such as reproducing.

For those who believe that fetuses are human beings, the explanation is apparent, that the woman's suffering is less malicious than terminating fetal life. This raises the question whether they tolerate the taking of “innocent” human life in other circumstances, such as accidents that are pertinent to reckless driving. Subsequently an unwanted fetus is analogous to an invading organism, especially when it is viewed as a human being, an argument can be made that the woman is entitled to refuse to act as a life-support system for it, and to abort as an act of self-defense. Of course, many women will not accept the distress that comes along with continuing the pregnancy and they may decide to take steps accordingly. In countries where safe abortion is illegal or frowned upon, this results in self-imposed or non-sterile abortions. The act of which is followed by a row of undesired events such as an injury or infection to the uterus which furthermore could cause infertility, and even death. It is striking that complications from unsafe abortion are estimated to result in 13 per cent of maternal deaths worldwide. It is unacceptable that a female life is condoned in the name of ethics. According to Ann Furedi the society is respecting the life of the unborn more than the life of a woman who is carrying that life.

As an argument to people against abortion what happen in the scenario when a young woman is raped or deserted by a lover or is a victim of domestic violence, is it ok for her to choose abortion or is it ok for her to make her ends meet by resorting to prostitution. Although it is politically incorrect to say so, but abortion could aid in family planning too. A woman right is not diminished merely because its consequences might appear morally repugnant. The autonomy of everyone should be respected even when the reason or motive behind it appear commendable. The mere principle of Autonomy is discounted if the adults were compelled to agree without their consent on procedures being performed on their body. In my opinion prochoice is guided by the four major bioethical principles which are Autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Autonomy in a bigger picture means self-rule. Patients should have the right to make autonomous decisions and society and medical authorities should respect their choices. Beneficence entails that medical authorities should act in the patient’s best interest which might be difficult in certain cases to follow by the medical authorities, but an individual’s choices need to be respected.

Nonmaleficence describes to do no harm and to not impose any redundant or undesirable burden upon the patient. Abortion is a ethical dilemma and whenever we are faced by such catch-22 situations we need to be guided by these propositions.The reason I chose this topic is because the inner me has always argues why prochoice is considered immoral. My friend got arranged married at the age of 18 and she conceived soon after her marriage but was not ready for it. Her reasoning behind the termination were several- it was unplanned, she was not ready to be a mother , she didn’t even know her husband or her family at that time, USA was new to her and the doctors suggested her uterus was weak and she might face a miscarriage etc.. I helped her make her pros and cons list and ultimately, she decided to terminate her pregnancy. This incident is 16 years old but still fresh in my mind. Abortion is never an easy choice to make. There must be some imperative reason or circumstances behind this decision that a woman must make.

The reason I believe in prochoice even after its objection that is considered a murder, is very humane. It is immoral for a 13-year-old who is a victim of rape to not have a right to abortion. Pro life just sounds as pro birth not pro life and the difference is that a child might be born with the prolife slogan but not raised or fed or housed in favorable conditions. Indeed, the appropriateness of prolife needs a bigger discussion on what theories and rules is morality is based on.

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Abortion as a Moral Intractability and a Pro-Life Movement. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
“Abortion as a Moral Intractability and a Pro-Life Movement.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
Abortion as a Moral Intractability and a Pro-Life Movement. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Feb. 2024].
Abortion as a Moral Intractability and a Pro-Life Movement [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Feb 23]. Available from:
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