Abortion is the process of abolishing a pregnancy, leading to the pulling out of an embryo before it survives outside the womb. Induced abortion refers to an abortion that occurs when deliberate procedures are taken to terminate the pregnancy (Baker 2019). The reasons for carrying out abortion are diverse and vary worldwide. Reasons can include lack of support, wishing to continue with education, domestic violence, inability to raise a kid, or advancing career. The controversy around abortion is an ongoing debate and battle in the United States and worldwide. It is the most alienating issue in the discourse of the American public. Abortion views encompass religious, political, cultural, and political connotations. There are various moral and ethical reasons why a woman would opt for abortion that individuals and social support. This study focuses on the two most commonly cited moral and ethical reasons for abortion, which include bodily autonomy and quality of life for both the mother and the child.
Ethical Reasons for Abortion
Partner and Family Issues
The majority of women who chooses to procure an abortion are married. According to a Forbes report on abortion, 85% of those who had an abortion in 2019 were single women (Fuentes & Jerman, 2019). The fact that some of these women are not married contributes to deciding to seek an abortion alternative. More than 8% of the women responding to a survey on reasons for procuring an abortion, particularly not that they are not ready to be single mothers and about 4% of women say that their decision was family influenced because they believe they will not get any support from their family (Kortsmit et al., 2020). Also, a minor percentage of women say that friends and family directly pressured them to carry out an abortion. Other factors, such as unhappy or abusive relationships or marriage, can also affect a woman’s decision. According to data produced by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, over 2.5 million women, approximately 2%, reported pregnancy due to the incidences of rape in their lifetime (Kortsmit et al., 2020). Their former or intimate partners contribute to almost 75% of these incidents. Other studies revealed that 1% of women unfold their reasons for conducting abortion due to incest, and over 50% of women who have been victims of rape choose to have an abortion (Bearak et al., 2020).
Reproductive autonomy is one of the fundamental ethical reasons in favor of abortion. The principle of Reproductive Autonomy holds that people have the right to decide on their bodies. Also, it recognizes that reproductive decisions are personal and that an external force should not be imposed (Potter et al., 2019). The principle of reproductive autonomy is relevant in the case of unwanted or united pregnancies. A woman may not be ready to become a parent when the pregnancy is unintentional. In such a scenario, the reproductive autonomy principle recognizes that a woman can terminate or continue the pregnancy. The right includes access to safe and legal abortion services that help ensure women decide with their values and personal life.
Ethical Reasons Against Abortion
Sanctity Against Human Life
Many believe human life should be valued, protected, and fostered from conception to death. People should obey their lives and the lives of others. All human beings have a right to life regardless of their situation or development stage (Andrews, 2019). According to the bible ethical and moral order in which people will be held accountable. Ultimately, people will stand before God and be accountable for their actions. According to this notion, abortion is morally wrong because it involves the deliberate termination of human life.
Potential For Fetal Pain
Another controversy against abortion is that the fetus can suffer immense pain. Fetal pain can occur during the trimester (12 gestation period) because the neural pain pathway exists as early as 12 weeks gestation (Thill, 2021). Those believing that abortion is immorally upright on this basis argue that it is cruel to inflict pain on a developing human being and that this should be avoided as fast as possible.
Ethical Egoism states that people are required to do what is in their interest. According to this phenomenon, people should pursue their satisfaction and happiness independently and decide based on self-interest maximization (Tilley, 2022). In the case of abortion, ethical egoists can argue that fetuses have the right to live and that terminating a pregnancy violates the right to life. This conflict between loyalty to self and the community can be incredibly challenging in the case of abortion, as it is a highly stigmatized and politicized issue that can elicit strong emotional reactions from others. Individuals can get worried about being ostracized or judged by their community if they choose to have an abortion, or they can feel pressured to conform to certain cultural or religious beliefs about pregnancy and motherhood.
Social Contract Ethicist
Social contract theory is a moral theory that members of society live together following the contract establishing moral rules and behavior (Loewe et al., 2021). In the context of abortion, social contract ethicists can argue that society is responsible for protecting the unborn baby’s rights. It can include the argument that social agreement between the individual and the society includes an implicit contract to protect the susceptible members, including the unborn baby. The collision between personal and national obligations on abortion can manifest in different ways. For example, in countries where abortion is illegal or heavily restricted, individuals seeking abortions can feel compelled to travel to countries where the procedure is legal and accessible, which can be costly and difficult to navigate. This creates a tension between an individual’s obligation to make choices about their own body and the national obligation to enforce laws and policies that protect the interests of the unborn.
Professional Code Ethics
The American Medical Association (AMA) sustained a campaign in the mid-19th century denouncing abortion practices. The AMA played an essential role in proliferating the ethical argument on abortion. The campaign became effective, with lawmakers proposing bans in each state. Even though abortion was a criminal offense in each state, some states had an exception in cases where a woman’s life was in danger or the pregnancy was due to rape or incest (Baker 2019). Abortion raises questions about the responsibility and obligations of healthcare to the patients and the rights and preferences of the patient’s family patterns; however, healthcare professionals must provide their patients with adequate medical information and the best healthcare services.
It is worth noting that abortion has side effects. The most dangerous one is death. Abortion leads to killing an innocent human being. Killing is against God’s commandments but also against the law of almost all states in the world. A woman can only be allowed to carry out an abortion under exceptional circumstances, including rape, incest, and medical issues. Access to comprehensive healthcare, such as contraception and counseling, can help people make informed decisions about their health.
Andrews, C. (2019). Alabama’s abortion law is not about protecting life. Anthropology Now, 11(1-2), 85–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/19428200.2019.1647697
Baker, R. (2019). The structure of moral revolutions: Studies of changes in the morality of abortion, death, and the bioethics revolution. Mit Press.
Bearak, J., Popinchalk, A., Ganatra, B., Moller, A.-B., Tunçalp, Ö., Beavin, C., Kwok, L., & Alkema, L. (2020). Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: Estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019. The Lancet Global Health, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.1016/s2214-109x(20)30315-6
Fuentes, L., & Jerman, J. (2019). Distance traveled to obtain clinical abortion care in the United States and reasons for Clinic Choice. Journal of Women’s Health, 28(12), 1623–1631. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2018.7496
Kortsmit, K., Jatlaoui, T. C., Mandel, M. G., Reeves, J. A., Oduyebo, T., Petersen, E., & Whiteman, M. K. (2020). Abortion surveillance — United States, 2018. MMWR. Surveillance Summaries, 69(7), 1–29. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6907a1
Loewe, M., Zintl, T., & Houdret, A. (2021). The Social Contract as a tool of analysis: Introduction to the special issue on “framing the evolution of new social contracts in Middle Eastern and North African countries.” World Development, 145, 104982. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.104982
Potter, J. E., Stevenson, A. J., Coleman-Minahan, K., Hopkins, K., White, K., Baum, S. E., & Grossman, D. (2019). Challenging unintended pregnancy as an indicator of reproductive autonomy. Contraception, 100(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2019.02.005
Thill, B. (2021). Fetal pain in the first trimester. The Linacre Quarterly, 89(1), 73–100. https://doi.org/10.1177/00243639211059245
Tilley, J. J. (2022). Does psychological egoism entail ethical egoism? The Review of Metaphysics, 76(1), 115–133. https://doi.org/10.1353/rvm.2022.0047