Wearing: Vintage jacket, tank & boots, Thrifted skirt & bag, Lovestrength concho belt, Assorted jewellery
So I mentioned in my last outfit post that I would like to post the essay that granted me my first HD. So here it is! Please don't leave abusive comments if you disagree with my personal opinion, we will just have to agree to disagree. Please feel free to leave constructive criticism, or just don't read it all!
Pro-choice and Pro-life are the most frequently used terms that recognise the moral issue of abortion, and the differentiating political debate that continues in Australia and many other western democracies. In westernised countries like Australia, Britain and the United States, 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in their life. Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy through a generally low-risk surgical or medical procedure. In Australia, abortion laws vary on a state-by-state basis, however there is one condition that all states have a mutual understanding of: Abortion is a necessary action to take if there is a risk to the physical and mental health of the mother. This argument develops and concerns itself with the moral status of the fetus, and debating the stage at which a pregnancy may be terminated. The other argument considers the autonomy of women, and the freedom of choice that they’re allowed to maintain. However, physical and mental health aside, do women (and doctors) truly have the right to determine the fate of another individual?Here are the references I used whilst writing my essay.
This statement reiterates the largest and strongest argument pro-life lobbyists make; that it is not morally permissible to end the life of an innocent. Moral permissibility in terms of abortion involves evaluating the nature and moral status of the fetus. But there is no clear moral status of the fetus.
Grounds of moral status can be recognized by their varying degrees and implications. Mary Warren states; “To have moral status is to be morally considerable, or to have moral standing. It is to be an entity towards which moral agents have, or can have, moral obligations. If an entity has moral status, then we may not treat it in just any way we please.” Warren goes on to list characteristics that further define an entity’s moral status, such as consciousness, reasoning, capacity to communicate, and possession of a concept of the self.
Personhood is, yet another account of the moral status of fetuses, generally defined in terms of the possession of characteristics, much like those entailed by Warren, in addition to a genetic code, which makes us a biological member of the human race. Warren’s view whilst giving a comprehensive understanding of an entity’s moral status, suggests that if it is morally acceptable to abort a fetus due its moral (or lack of) status then it is upon the same level to murder a newborn. It is widely accepted that the full capacities of a “person” are not evident in the fetal stages of human development, however once a person is born they are given the right to life through the law and tradition. In New South Wales, the definition of the beginning of human life is when a baby “is fully born in a living state. A baby is fully and completely born when it is completely delivered from the body of its mother and it has a separate and independent existence in the sense that it does not derive its power of living from its mother.” This definition whilst technical, grasps the necessity to have a comprehensive understanding of the broadness of the right to life. This definition also undermines the view of many anti-abortion Christians. These traditional perspectives hold that moral status and the right to life is acquired at conception, the point of when the soul manifests itself in a body. The most prevalent of views in western religions, is that abortion is a moral disgrace because God created human beings in His own image. To desecrate against his creation is blasphemous. However, religious arguments do not hold great legal or medical relevance in the abortion debate.
A relevant argument that arises from the concept of personhood and the moral status of fetuses in religion is that of potentiality. Mianna Lotz says; “This is the possession of potential rather than actual, full-fledged personhood, enabling the claim that fetuses are potential people.” This argument is faulty, as it does not have any limitations to where potentiality begins and ends, does potentiality begin as an egg? A sperm? What truly is potential? The argument of potentiality also fails to consider the interests and possible rights of potential persons against actual full-fledged persons.
Whilst we’re all busy contemplating the moral status of potential persons, who may or may not have the right to life, we have failed to address the people who are impacted the most by abortion; women. Women, as autonomous beings with interests, rights and preferences, must be given the freedom of choice to determine whether abortion is ethically justified. If a woman who is pregnant wishes to stop being pregnant, should we prevent her? Attitudes to pregnancy are immersed with how society views sex, women and the fertile woman in particular. An enormous amount of stigma still surrounds the issue of abortion; this stigma inhibits access to and awareness of abortion, allowing for the perpetuation of ill-informed myths and judgment from families and communities to continue to arise.
When a person, or a group of people are opposed to abortion, then it is seen that they are committing themselves to a set of values, which requires that women who become pregnant (intentionally or unintentionally) must endure the process of pregnancy and birth – no matter how stressful, painful and unsafe it is for them. This justification observes the idea of the moral status of the fetus alongside God’s will, and refuses to acknowledge the moral status of a suffering woman. That apparently, a woman’s suffering is a lesser evil than terminating the fetus, regardless of the circumstances in which she came to be pregnant and despite the opportunities for ending the pregnancy. However, due to the illegality (in some states of Australia) of abortion and its costliness women often take drastic and dangerous methods to have unsafe abortions, possibly resulting in injury, infection, infertility and in very rare cases, death.
So how can restricting women’s rights, to mental and physical health, be morally acceptable? That preventing abortion, and giving a potential person priority to life, is the lesser of “two evils’, and clearly a more viable option? The answer is, it is not acceptable. One of the most basic of political and human rights is the right to control fertility, and by denying women these intrinsic rights, that are offered so clearly by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we are not addressing the palpable need for social change.
What we need to consider is why women want abortions. The obvious answer is to prevent or postpone childbearing. There are also many socio-economic factors that play into the desire for an abortion such as; disruption of education, unemployment or poverty, relationship issues with the father of the child, and age related factors. It can be seen that society, and other individuals have no right to impose conflicting decisions upon women. If people are to be free, that freedom must be extended to include the freedom to exercise these personal choices.
The abortion debate will continue to be a controversial, no matter which side of the fence you are arguing from, albeit pro-choice or pro-life. If abortion, being interconnected with the right of self-governance for women, freedom of their bodies and decisions, continues to remain illegal or to be viewed as an unethical action or inaction, like mentioned above, then it sends a negative message that women are not allowed to make autonomous choices about themselves.
- Chan A, Scheil W, Scott J, Nguyen A-M, Sage L. Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia 2009. (Adelaide: Pregnancy Outcome Unit, SA Health, Government of South Australia.) 2011. p. 12
- “Abortion – Better Health Channel” (Accessed October 2013, Last reviewed May 2013.) http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Abortion_in_Australia
- Marsh, Kate. “Access to Abortion: A Human Rights Issue for Australian Women.” (Accessed October 2013. Last reviewed June 2011) http://www.humanrightsactionplan.org.au/nhrap-blogs/access-to-abortion-a-human-rights-issue-for-australian-women
- “Ethics Guide: Reasons for Abortion - When is Abortion Legal?” (Accessed October 2013.) http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/legal/when_1.shtml
- Lotz, Mianna. Ethical Arguments Concerning the Moral Permissibility of Abortion. (Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. University of Melbourne, Australia,) p. 1 http://www.nfaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Ethical-Arguments-Concerning-the-Moral-Permissibility-of-Abortion-Dr-Mianna-Lotz.pdf
- Mappes, Thomas and DeGrazia, David. Biomedical Ethics. 4th Edition. (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1996) p. 434-440
- (R v Hutty  VLR 338 per Barry J 339.)
- Sharvy, Ben. “The Morality of Abortion: A Critique.” (Accessed October 2013) http://members.efn.org/~bsharvy/abortion.html
- Hewson, Barbara. “Reproductive Autonomy and the Ethics of Abortion.” Journal of Medical Ethics Vol. 27, October 2001. (Accessed October 2013) http://jme.bmj.com/content/27/suppl_2/ii10.full#cited-by
- Holmes, Beryl. “Law Reform: Human Rights – Another Look at Abortion.” Australian Institute of Criminology. (Accessed October 2013) p. 127 http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/proceedings/16/holmes.pdf