Abortion Debate

While legal aspect of abortion has been the subject of extensive debate during the last 35 years, abortion itself has been around for thousands of years. The religious and social moral codes have played a major role in both preventing and encouraging abortion. The religious beliefs have generally been interpreted as against abortion while the behavior and circumstances have often necessitated abortion of unwanted pregnancies.

The truth is that abortion has always been available to those who seek it. Hundreds of thousands of women undergoing abortion die throughout the world each year. 'The illegality of abortion in some countries forces these women to back street clinics and in the hands of illiterate and untrained midwives.

The arguments for and against abortion favor a careful approach where abortion is kept legal within a specified term of pregnancy and women are educated to seek help as early as possible in the course of pregnancy.

Banning abortion under 'any circumstances' will only bring unwanted and unloved children into the world bringing misery to the parents, burden on the state and a phenomenal increase in maladjusted children who live on the streets, and turn to crime and drugs and affect the society.

Introduction survey of attitude about abortion in the UK and USA showed that 41% of the young girls surveyed, supported unconditional access to abortion (Smartgirl, 2002). Another 33.5% girls favored abortion provided certain conditions regarding term of pregnancy and health or circumstances of the pregnant woman justified abortion. 85% of the girls favoring unconditional access to abortion thought that it was 'a woman's right to choose issue'. Reading a quote about abortion and woman's right to choose by Esther Langston, a professor at the University of Nevada made me think about the validity of this right. Esther Langston said:

QUOTE] "What we are saying is that abortion becomes one of the choices and the person has the right to choose whatever it is that is...best for them in the situation in which they find themselves, be it abortion, to keep the baby, to adopt it, to sell it, to leave it in a dumpster, to put it on your porch, whatever; it's the person's right to choose."(In Hanegraff, 1997) [UNQUOTE]

Should a person really have an absolute right over another being? Can we allow an unborn child to be aborted a few days before it is delivered? What about fetus that is known to have defects of life and limbs such as Thalidomide children? Is it ethically acceptable to permit abortion in such cases? The religious arguments affect human psychology, after listening to the arguments regarding 'sanctity of life' abortion due to necessity at a particular time can have psychological effects later. Abortion is indeed a complex issue justifying exploration for this important ethical question.


In most of our discussions regarding the abortion debate, our focus is normally on the society we live in. For most of Europe and North America, the society has grown tolerant to unmarried parenthood. In these societies children born 'out of wedlock' are fully accepted and being an unmarried mother does not have the stigma it had, say a hundred years ago.

In most of the developing countries, catholic countries of South America, Muslim countries of Asia and among other conservative societies having a child outside marriage is unthinkable and brings the whole family into disrepute, it is not uncommon for family members to kill a girl who becomes pregnant…