The Ethics of Abortion

Abortion is a much debated topic. A while back I posted this post trying to describe the ethics of abortion. So here is it again for easy and quick reference. What I am going to do now, is defend the position that women should have the right to have an abortion if they want to. I come across a lot of “pro-lifers” but they usually don’t know about the ethics of abortion, as do some of the “pro-choice” people.

The argument starts off with the following premis:

“the vast majority of humans are sexual beings.”

Whether you like it or not, almost all of us have sexual needs. People will have sex. Abstinence can lead to awful and disastrous things. Just look at those priests trying to live up to their celibacy oath. We all know what happend to a lot of them and we all know who’s lives they ruined.

Once you concede the fact that we are all sexual beings and that people will have sex, we can move on to the following thought experiment.

Imagine yourself waking up one day just to find out that your liver has been attached to the body of President Obama for nine months. The president hasn’t got a liver anymore so he is dependent on yours for his survival in those nine months. Are you obligated to sustain the presidents life? You didn’t ask for him to be attached to your liver, it just happend without your consent. What are you gonna do?

The same goes for being pregnant unwanted. Something or someone is using an organ of yours without consent. Sure, I’ll grant you that fetuses have a right to life, but the right of the woman to cut off that which is using an organ of her unwanted is more important to me. So the right of the pregnant woman/girl and that of the fetus are at odds with each other. And since the fetus is using the woman’s womb without her consent, she has the right to remove the fetus.

A typical response would be that people should abstain, but this is not really an option given our current nature. Another one would be that people should only have protected sex. Use a condom or birth control to prevent getting pregnant. This is of course a reasonable option. I think educating people about this is absolutely necessary if you want to reduce abortions.

If you don’t want to get pregnant, you should do your upmost best not to get it. But still, even using condoms and birth control, things can still go wrong. There is always more you can do not to get pregnant but unwanted pregnancies are a fact of life. People are going to have sex, it’s an evolutionary thing and sometimes when people are going to have sex, they are not going to pay attention to things like birth control or condoms. So it’s important to be pragmatic about this.

Let’s imagine ourselves living in a country where abortion is illegal. What would a pregnant woman do if she really doesn’t want to have a child? She will get an abortion. Where will she get an abortion? Perhaps abroad or perhaps using some illegal method. The minute you start making abortion illegal people will find other ways of getting one if the really want to. And a lot of these methods can be seen as unsafe or even hazardous to one’s health. When you legalize abortion, the government can monitor what’s happening and make sure the quality of the service is top notch.

If your argument is that abortion is wrong because God thinks it’s wrong and therefore prohibits it, you should first find proof this God of yours really exists as I am not going to listen to arguments based upon an imaginary being.

This pretty much sums up the argument. If you guys have any thoughts about it, I would love to hear them!


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