Abortion: An Ethical Tumult

What is one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. That is to say, what one deems as evil, another deems as good, and in this case, the subject is abortion. On one hand, those who are pro-life in general believe that abortion is a wrongdoing—some would say even in cases of rape or incest. On the other, those who are pro-choice believe that the woman has the option to abort, but also the option to keep the child, or set her up for adoption. The issue is not about politics: it’s ethics and a competition against who is more right. I say, can we stop the argument and just legalize abortion so that individuals can just make up their own minds about this equivocal thing?

Those who are pro-life would say that all life is to be valued, everyone has the right to life,  that we shouldn’t “play God” by choosing to have an abortion, that good can come from our mistakes, and aborting a fetus is equal to homicide since life begins at conception. Those who are pro-life for the most part do not support legalizing abortion clinics because of the above reasons, but also because they believe they are more right than anyone and so they should implement their belief on everyone else. Those who are pro-choice believe that because the issue is so “iffy” and the lines between good and evil are gray, they know it’s a case by case issue. I don’t think that most people in support of abortion would say that one should flippantly choose abortion “just ‘cause” but that they should carefully weigh their options as bringing a human into the world is a very big deal.

I have two main problems with those who are pro-life. The first is that the stern disapproval of abortion injects fear and shame into victims of rape and even those who slipped up and got pregnant by their boyfriend—and that doesn’t allow them to fully think through the process regarding all the options they have. If an untimely or risky pregnancy happens, the woman (ideally the couple) should be able to think through their options without feeling dissuasion one way or another. I say to leave it be—nobody likes to be lectured and proselytized at.

The second problem I have is of course with the condemnation of legal abortion clinics. Without legalizing abortion, abortions will still occur—but in the “back alleys” with the most jeopardy possible. Without abortion clinics, law abiding women would be forced to the one option of keeping the child even if the timing was wrong or the birth risky. Recently, a woman on talk radio told about her disapproval of legal abortions saying that she tells pregnant teens she counsels to turn lemons into lemonade—even if been raped by a family member! I realize this isn’t as unheard of as it seems—remember Sarah Palin’s comment about choosing life even if her own daughter had been raped? This view mainly stems from the worldview that there is no gray line between good and bad. No exceptions, right? Thus, abortion=murder. Always. Yet,  even so…can’t it be less wrong than bringing the child into that unwanted situation? Isn’t it less wrong than allowing an unhealthy fetus to suffer its way through life? By the way, choosing to have the child is just as much “playing God” as choosing to not have the child. Some things just happen not because God intended it, but because there is evil in the world. And here is where we should stop it. Being against abortion to me is allowing the evil to persist.

This argument has been back and forth for decades and I know will continue for much longer. This essay (although I was quite biased) is really about the tumultuousness of the issue. Abortion to the conservative is a distasteful and even derogatory act that is seen as purely wrong, whereas abortion to the girl who accidentally got pregnant on some rebellious spree it’s a lifesaver.

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