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Compare and Contrast Essay of Abortion

Abortion refers to a surgical or medical procedure to deliberately terminate a pregnancy. In the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the United States supreme court judges ruled that the United States constitution provides women with the right to abort before the fetus’s viability. This ruling allowed states to control but not completely prohibit a woman’s access to abortion from the first to the twelfth week of pregnancy. Since then abortion has been a controversial issue in our society today. Different groups have their viewpoints and opinions concerning abortion. There are pro-life activists and pro-choice activists. The debate seems to be fairly balanced regardless of position or side. While pro-choice feels that women have right over their body and that the Government should not dictate what happens to a woman’s body, pro-life activist believes Fetuses are human beings. However, either has a counterargument for the other group’s argument.

One of the main arguments for the pro-choice activist who advocates for legal abortion is that women have the right over their bodies and to decide what happens with their bodies. According to Tzaneva et al.,” restrictive abortion laws and policies not only contravene human rights law but also “negate [individuals’] autonomy in decision-making about their bodies” (Tzaneva et al. 1). This means that women have the right to bodily integrity. Therefore, even though women are meant to be mothers by nature, not all women desire to be mothers, or under certain circumstances such as age, health, or other personal reasons, they do not feel fit to be mothers. Moreover, suppose a woman is sexually abused by a stranger or family member and conceives. In that case, she has a right to take action in such circumstances, including offering the child for adoption, abortion, or keeping the child. All these are options for the females and their bodies to make. Moreover, Roxburgh observes that the woman arrived before the fetus (Roxburgh 1). Therefore, maternal autonomy should not be limited by anything, including the father, fetus or family. Based on Roxburgh’s argument, women are more powerful than the fetus, and what they opt to do must not be shamed or discriminated against. Everyone has the right over their lives control, so women must also be allowed to enjoy that right.

On the other hand, pro-life activist counter argues pro-choice argument by contesting that Women’s right to choose what happens to their bodies are limited when human life is considered. For instance, Catholic philosophers argue that ‘All living things, including mindless plants, have a good or an end proper to their species toward which they naturally tend to develop from a formless or potential state (Morgan 1). This means that fetuses and embryos are potential personhoods entitled to full political and social rights. And therefore, women’s rights over their bodies should not be allowed to deny to potential humans their rights. Moreover, pro-life activist observes that even though women arrived before the fetus, they both have equal rights. This means the fetus should be treated as part of the mother but as an independent person whose rights should not be compromised. Therefore, according to pro-life activists, women’s rights should override the fetus’s rights.

Another major argument of the pro-choice activist is that the Government has no right to dictate what happens to a woman’s body. According to Tian, Fei et al., “Government controlling what happens to women’s body, it is intrinsic to regulating one’s life (Tian, Fei, et al.1). This means that the decision to bear or not to bare a kid, is central to females’ life, to their dignity and well-being. It is a decision that women should make by themselves. When the federal or state Government regulates that decision, the woman is treated as a less mature adult. Moreover, the pro-choice argues that establishing laws restricting abortion does not prevent the practice but instead leads to unsafe abortions (Tian, Fei, et al.1). This means that anti-abortion laws stop safe procedures and increase life-threatening abortions. Studies have shown that nations with anti-abortion laws have the same abortion rate as nations where abortion is legal (Fiala et al.7). This means that making abortion illegal does not minimize the number of procedures because once abortion is restricted, the requirement is still there and women will turn unsafe services to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, the Government has no right and can’t dictate what happens to a woman’s body.

However, pro-life counter attack this argument, arguing that the Government legislate other kinds of morality, such as prostitution and illegal drugs. According to Morgan, establishing laws against abortion is important for women’s health since abortion is associated with various risks and side effects (Morgan 1). For instance, abortion is associated with cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting, affecting women’s health negatively. Abortion is also associated with significant complications such as infection, bleeding, and organ damage, sometimes leading to the death of both fetuses and abortion women. Thus, Government needs to criminalize abortion for the good of women. Studies have also shown that abortion is associated with reduced physical and emotional health (Tian, Fei, et al.1). This means that abortion has negative emotions that might be very strong and impact women for many years. Moreover, some women are forced to abort by men who feel that pregnancy deprives them of sex. Thus, abolishing abortion is essential to prevent such abuse. moreover, if police and other criminal justice did their work perfectly, there wouldn’t be illegal practices of abortion. Therefore, the Government is mandated to control immoral practices such as abortion with a harmful effect on its citizens.

Moreover, there is an argument that anti-abortion legislation will only make abortion illegal for poor women. Manella observes that affluent women always have a way of interrupting their unwanted pregnancies (Manella 1). For instance, they can hire a physician who carries medical abortion procedures for an exorbitant cost or travel to nations where abortion is allowed. This means that restricting safe abortion access keeps peasant women in extreme poverty, restricts them from social mobility and causes wealth to remain with the rich, specifically white women. Studies have shown that deciding when to get a kid is essential for women’s physiological and economic well-being (Manella 1). It has implications for women’s educational advancement and career development. Therefore, restricting abortion will only increase the gap between the poor and the rich.

However, the pro-life believe that the poor will not be affected by the abortion ban because contraceptives will replace abortion needs. According to Robinson, birth controls are ideal for marginalized women compared to abortion (Robinson 1). This is because surgical abortion may cost thousands of dollars. On the other hand, birth control is very cheap; if covered by insurance, it can even be cheap or free. Therefore, even without restriction, most poor women may not access surgical abortion due to high costs. Moreover, birth control is associated with fewer complications compared to abortion. Complications associated with abortion are very expensive to treat, thus, affecting poor women’s financial status negatively. According to Robinson, if marginalized women are provided with adequate contraceptive education, there will be no need for abortion (Robinson 1). Therefore, it is not true that restricting abortion will expand the social stratification gap.

The main pro-life argument is that fetuses are human beings and abortion is a form of murder, plain vindictive or infanticide. The pro-life activists believe there is no legitimate or ethical excuse r for a woman to carry an abortion, irrespective of the circumstances. Symons et al. observe that “neither the federal law nor state law should deprive life of any human being of the time of conception without law’s due process (Symons et al.1). In line with this argument, the pro-life contends that human life starts from conception. Moreover, fetuses and embryos display genetic code physical features that are adequate for being a human. Therefore, if it is morally long to destroy a human being, it is illegal to abort since embryos and fetuses have similar biological characteristics as born humans. Moreover, Symons et al. argue that a fetus or embryo has the right to life regardless of medical conditions (Symons et al.1). This means that just-born individuals act to preserve their life; it is immoral to take innocent life just because they do not an incapacity to react. In the abortion context, because they (women) appreciated living and were not aborted, they should also not destroy the fetus through abortion. Therefore, abortion in this context is not morally right.

However, this notion that fetuses are human beings is highly contested by pro-choice activists. For instance, Roxburgh argues that while pro-life activists contest that human life starts from conception, this is not true because sometime after conception, the embryo can divide into twins (Roxburgh 1). This indicates that at the time of conception, the embryo is just a clump of cells undergoing chemical reactions, not a human being. Moreover, biological attributes of the fetus or human can not make a case for ethical obligation surrounding killing or abortion. If this was the case, this reasoning could be used to argue that killing anything that indicates biological life is morally wrong. Moreover, Heaney and colleagues argue that it is morally right to terminate pregnancies based on fetal anomaly (Heaney et al., 1). This is because the woman may experience emotional and financial challenges in raising a disabled kind. Moreover, it is better to terminate a pregnancy than to have a child who requires continuous medical intervention and is always in pain. Therefore, the fetus cannot be considered human, and some medical conditions justify some abortions.

In conclusion, pro-choice believe that women have right over their bodies and that the Government should not dictate what happens to a woman’s body, while pro-life activists’ main argument is that Fetuses are human beings, but both groups counterargue each other group’s argument. For instance, while pro-choice believe that women have the right to decide what happens with their bodies, pro-life believes that women’s right over their bodily integrity is limited where another person’s life is concerned. Moreover, pro-choice feel that government control over women’s decisions on reproduction is demeaning them. On the other hand, pro-life activists feel that the Government need to control immoral activities with harmful effects on its citizens. Also, the pro-choice argument that restricting abortion maximizes social class gaps is contested by pro-life activists on the ground that abortion is very expensive compared to birth control and is mostly accessed by the rich only. Most pro-life arguments are based on the fact that a fetus is a potential human being and is entitled to life. The pro-choice counter attack this argument, contending that fetus is not human, and life begins at birth.

Work Cited

Fiala, Christian, et al. “Abortion: legislation and statistics in Europe.” The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care (2022): 1-8.

Heaney, Suzanne, Mark Tomlinson, and Áine Aventin. “Termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly: a systematic review of the healthcare experiences and needs of parents.” BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 22.1 (2022): 1-29.

Manella Libardi. ” Anti-abortion laws: a war against poor women, 2021.

Morgan, Lynn M. “The potentiality principle from Aristotle to abortion.” Current Anthropology 54.S7 (2013): S15-S25.

Robinson, K. Mayer, “How Is Birth Control Different From an Abortion: WebMD

Roxburgh, Nina. “Whose rights are the most, right: The Dilemma of Autonomy in a Society: On Abortion, Women, and Human Life” Australian Institute of International Affairs: 2016

Symons, Xavier. “Ethically speaking, is a fetus a person.” O&G Magazine 20.2 (2018): 2-20.

Tian, Fei, et al. “Transcriptomic profiling reveals molecular regulation of seasonal reproduction in Tibetan highland fish, Gymnocypris przewalskii.” BMC Genomics 20.1 (2019): 1-13.

Tzaneva, Rada, and Jaime Todd‐Gher. “Amnesty International’s updated policy on abortion: A resource for medical providers.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 153.2 (2021): 363-369.


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