Ethical Arguments For and Against Abortion

The issue of abortion has been a very debated one and it inevitably acquires moral and religious undertones. Know the arguments for and against abortion.

Meenakshi Chaudhary
PregnancyWritten by: Meenakshi ChaudharyPublished at: Jul 08, 2011
Ethical Arguments For and Against Abortion

Debates concerning abortion have time and again triggered an inquiry into what is considered to be ethical. The canvas certainly has more moral overbearing against abortion than for it because of its controversial nature. The debates have been scaled to be very philosophical in nature having religious and moral overtones.

Reasons for Abortion

Listed are a few ethical arguments for and against abortion:

  • The abortion debate is vast enough and one cannot really defend a particular ethical position as the nature and the scope of debate is not exhaustive.
  • People question more about the nature of abortion and how deliberate it is. This includes the intention of the mother, the purpose and the conditions involved. The religious interpretations have often produced a counter-argument regarding the moral responsibility towards the foetus.
  • Abortion knows no particular age. As soon as the girl reaches puberty, she simultaneously acquires the right to explore the abortion rights freely. While census and the population control boards do initiate abortions, ethical debates raise questions on the desires and the preferences of the women who plan abortions.
  • In developing countries, and especially India, many abortions take place after determining the sex of foetuses. Even though sex determination is a punishable offence, the interests of the orthodox community have still managed to work its way out behind closed doors. Many abortions, planned and unplanned, occur to terminate the pregnancy of the mother carrying a girl child which is extremely unethical.
  • Many debates have turned highly philosophical and have gone on to explore the rights of the foetal being: do foetuses have the moral position of a human being? If foetuses have a moral status then, abortions should be constitutionalised under proper laws and sections determining the conditions under which a woman can get an abortion. The purpose of the philosophic inquiry is to attach a moral value and a status of the human life to the foetus.
  • Many medical debates have fought for the survival of the foetus outside the womb of the woman. This would give the foetus the right to life. This is because something living should be treated with equal respect otherwise the difference between the egg of an insect and a human egg ceases to exist.
  • On the contrary, perspectives that support the termination of pregnancy often argue the mental trauma and the physical pain that the woman has to undergo to give birth to the baby, especially if the pregnancy is an unplanned one. This is one of the crucial arguments for women opting for abortions as most of them are not mentally prepared to take responsibilities.
  • There have been counter debates that support abortion in order to truncate an unwanted pregnancy which is actually beneficial for the parties involved. This may be due to reasons such as alcoholic parents who need sufficient treatment before planning a child, couples applying for divorce, or other factors such as financial instability. In such cases, it does become unethical to give birth to the child.


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