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Abortion: Right or Wrong

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Abortion: Right or Wrong

Abortion is a difficult issue to discuss. Abortion is an ethical matter because it affects people's rights, happiness, and well-being. Not only is the woman aborting the baby affected, but so is the fetus. Which brings up a significant amount of ethical questions such as the nature of a person's rights, the extent of state authority over personal decisions, and whether the fetus is a person or not. If the fetus is considered a person, is the person aborting the baby a murderer? If one does not abort the fetus because they would be considered a murderer, is it ethical to give birth to an unwanted child? There are more questions that can be brought up about this subject. The basis of this paper is to identify abortion as a serious ethical problem, because it affects people's rights, happiness, and well-being.

Abortion is stated as a deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. There has been a debate for years between 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life'. Pro-Choice is an organization that believes that woman should have the option to choose abortion. They believe in reducing the need for abortion, as well, by supporting access to birth control and teaching young children about sex education, which includes topics such as 'safe sex'. Pro-life is an organization that is dedicated to saving babies lives. They offer information on alternatives to abortion, such as adoption. They even have hotlines one can call when faced with a difficult decision, such as abortion (Prolife Across America, n.d). The debate between the two organizations is pretty clear. Pro-life supporters argue that abortion is murder and should be illegal. Pro- choice supporters argue that the fetus is part of the woman's body, so it is the woman's choice how to deal with the fetus (ProChoice America, n.d). Yet, this still does not mean that abortion is ethical. Is it ethical to give birth to an unwanted child? The life versus choice debate does not necessarily clarify any argument, it is possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice (Chaloner & Jones, 2007). Chaloner and Jones gives us an example that a pro-life campaigner could still be an advocate for freedom of choice in different areas other than abortion because that standpoint is generally supportive in concepts such as individual rights.

Abortion has raised many ethical questions, such as is it morally right to have an abortion? If we make abortions illegal, are we denying women their rights to do what they want with their own body? What about the fetus? Is the fetus a human being, if so, is it ethical to deny the fetus of living a full life? What if a woman has an abortion, because of serious health issues that will put her or the fetus in danger if she continues on with the pregnancy? Is it ethical to put her life at risk, by making the decision that abortion is unethical and make it illegal? What if the mother wanted an abortion but cannot because it is illegal. If she keeps the child and is cruel to them, was it ethical to force her to take care of an unwanted child? Is it ethical to make a child live in a home that they were not wanted at? Is it ethical to make a child live in pain, or live with a life-threatening illness, because abortion was not a choice? There are many more arguments on whether or not abortion is ethical or not. I do not think anyone will ever agree how to fully resolve the issue of abortion.

Resolving an issue such as abortion may seem impossible. This is probably true. Yet, we can still try and find guidance to help people obtain a decision as to whether abortion is ethical, or not. Virtue ethics is an ethical theory that looks at the character of the person performing the act, rather than the consequences of the act, or the reason or rule that guided the act into place (Mosser, 2010). Virtue ethics seeks to determine what makes a person virtuous, not whether the act was good. Virtuous is having or showing high moral standards. Virtue ethics can be said to be focused generally by good character (Lu, 2012). "Virtue ethics is commonly held to be at a disadvantage because its central moral concepts are accounted vague and obscure, largely because they cannot be adequately captured in terms of rules or laws" (Lu, 2012, p.103). Virtue ethics tend to focus mainly on the question of what makes for a virtuous man or woman. "Right action is best understood derivatively as how the virtuous man would act in some particular set of circumstance in expressing the virtues of his character" (Lu, 2012). When placing the option of abortion into different woman's hands, some may make the decision to abort the fetus within them, while others may not. While you may look at the ones that did not choose abortion as the virtuous one, the description of virtue ethics may take a different turn. Virtue ethicist Rosalind Hursthouse speaks about abortion in her book, Beginning Lives, 1991(Lu, 2012). Hursthouse thinks we cannot derive some abstract principle that will always allow us to pick out which are legitimate abortions from those which are not. Rather we must approach each case individually and ask whether in this case the goods being pursued are commensurate with the ones that abortion cuts off"(Lu, 2011, p.108). Therefore, for a particular abortion to be justified in virtue ethics, it must be done in pursuit of some real good or to avoid some real evil (Lu, 2012). This concept of virtue ethics can relate to the same point of view of ethical relativism.

Relativism is stating that moral claims must be interpreted in terms of how they reflect a person's viewpoint (Mosser, 2010). The debate about abortion has gone on for years. Every person has their own viewpoint about abortion. Either they consider it right or wrong. Or, even though they consider an abortion wrong, some may think that it can be justified in certain situations, and others may not think this way. The conclusion of whether or not an abortion is morally acceptable varies from person to person. Thus, we can claim that the issue of abortion is a serious ethical issue, that can be neither right nor wrong, when basing it off of one's own morals or circumstance, or the society of which one lives in.

If we look at the issue of abortion, from emotivism, we can see some similarities in the two theories. While emotivism and relativism may seem similar, they



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