Running Head: Abortion
Date: 18th August 2010
Abortion has been a subject of debate for many years in different countries. Abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy resulting to the death and removal of the fetus from the uterus before its maturity (Szumski, 1986). There are many arguments that support or oppose abortion. In the United States, abortion is legal and is one of the most performed medical procedures. However, many people have come up with arguments against abortion saying that it is equal to murder. The question that reigns in many discussions today is ‘When does life begin?’
Life begins at conception. This has been my opinion in the debate regarding the beginning of life. In the society we live in, induced abortion has become very common with more women seeking this procedure. Medical experts have often said that life begins after fertilization. Conception is defined as the unification of the sperm from the father and ovum from the mother. The two gametes join together to form a new organism (Steinbock, 1996). This process is also called fertilization. After the unity of the sperm and the ovum, an embryo is formed and this is the earliest form of life between cells. This biological explanation shows that life begins at conception.
There are arguments that say life begins at birth. This is only a justification for abortion since there is proof that an embryo is a living thing. Fertilization is usually the beginning of a new life and it is impossible to prove that there is no life in an embryo (Association of Prolife Physicians, 2010). In addition, during pregnancy, the embryo constantly develops, which is a characteristic of a living being. Ultra-sounds show the fetus moving in the uterus, which is also a sign of life. This means that from the minute fertilization takes place, there is a new life planted in the uterus of the mother. It is the role of all people to protect human life and an embryo is part of human life. Any action that may lead to the termination of the life that begins at fertilization or conception should be termed as murder.
After fertilization, the embryo stars to develop and grow into a fetus that will be delivered after nine months. Scientific studies have shown that the unborn baby can move, suck a finger and is joined to the mother through the umbilical cord, which feeds the baby. The heart can also be heard beating giving all signs that the child is alive (Szumski, 1986). All these are characteristics of a human being. The only difference with the fully-grown person is that the different organs and body parts have not developed fully. This should be no reason to disregard the life of the baby. There are even cases when the baby is born prematurely but the life is still preserved until they mature completely. This makes it the concern of people in the society about the legalization of abortion considering that it is a human life that is carried during pregnancy.
In the society, there are many laws that govern the conduct of each person. In addition, in every culture, there are morals that are upheld to make sure people act in the right way. One of the most commonly accepted morals in all societies is that human life should be maintained and protected at all times (Association of Prolife Physicians, 2010). People have been taught that the termination of human life is wrong and many consequences are attached to any acts that lead to death. Abortion, as seen above, is an act that leads to the killing of numerous unborn babies. Although there are many laws created by the government to protect life, abortion is legal. This makes it difficult to fight for the rights of the unborn children. Life is equal for all people and at all times including before birth. This means that the life of an unborn child should be protected from abortion.
The ‘pro-choice’ movement argues that women should have the freedom to make choices on whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy. People in this movement argue that it is a personal choice that every woman should be able to make (Szumski, 1986). On the contrary, it is important to note that the pregnant woman is carrying a human being. From the moment that she conceived, it was no longer about her life, but also about the life of another human being. Making it a personal decision, gives the woman the power to decide the fate of another human being. She has the power to decide whether to kill the unborn baby or whether to continue with the pregnancy. In the world that we live in, there is nobody who has the power over the life of other human beings. In fact, there are laws that protect death row prisoners from being killed. This means that every human being has the right to life. A woman should not be allowed to terminate a pregnancy since this is outright killing. Those supporting the pro-choice movement should consider the constitutional right to life for everyone.
In conclusion, abortion cannot be justified by the argument of when life begins. Research has shown clearly that life begins at conception or fertilization. The unity between the sperm and the ovum, which are both cells, results in the formation of a new organism in this case a human being. The embryo that is formed starts to grow from that moment and shows the characteristics of living organisms. Arguments that say life begins at birth cannot be used as justifications for abortion since it is proven that life begins at conception. The moral responsibility of a human being is to protect human life and unborn children are part of this life. It is important for the governing bodies to enact laws that do not inhibit some of the constitutional rights of people. The right to life should always be maintained making it crucial to protect unborn children, as they are the evidence of the beginning of life. In addition, abortion cannot be discussed as a personal issue since it affects the life of a human being who is a social responsibility. In summary, abortion should not be a personal choice or a legal one for this case.
Association of Prolife Physicians. (2010, August 18). When Does Human Life Begin? Retrieved from http://www.prolifephysicians.org/lifebegins.htm
My Family Doctor. (2008, July). When does life begin? Medical experts debate abortion issue. Retrieved from http://familydoctormag.com/sexual-health/251-when-does-life-begin-medical-experts-debate-abortion-issue.html
Steinbock, B. (1996). Life before birth: The moral and legal status of embryos and fetuses. New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Szumski, B. (1986). Abortion, opposing viewpoints. St. Paul, Minn: Greenhaven Press