An Inquiry into the Morality of Abortion

May 17, 2008

Every query, at its core, surrounding the issue of abortion finds its roots from a singular, fundamental question: is abortion equivalent to murder? Indeed, this would imply that abortion is a matter of morality – and that, it is. Abortion entails an imposition of the mother’s will over her own growing child’s, such that it leads to the death of the latter. This description may rouse attempts of refutation, particularly on whether what is growing in the mother is alive – and whether it is human. More so would this have connotations on society as a whole: if a culture permits abortion, would it not be very much telling of its ethical destitution? To the issue in general, I claim that the definition of abortion as murder is valid, and that abortion is a morally corrupt concept and act.

First, I must defend that abortion is equivalent to murder. Murder is defined as “premeditated killing of a human being.” Definitely, abortion is premeditated. There is a plan that is initially formulated before proceeding to the procedure. Further, the act is intentional, not accidental as a miscarriage is. Whether there is killing is clear, too: abortion is marked by the loss of life, particularly within a mother’s womb. The main point of contention is whether that life inside the womb is a human being.

Its solution can be found in the field of biology. During sexual intercourse, sperm cells travel to the egg cell in the uterus. When a sperm cell has successfully entered the egg cell, the two are united as a zygote, and from there commence the processes vital for life. But is this human life? Definitely, as the formation of the zygote is seminal solely to the birth of a human being; it would not create anything else.

Given that, abortion is, therefore, equivalent to murder, and is subject to regulations and sanctions as such.

To return to the original fundamental question at hand, it seems that in face value, any response to this brings about a wide array of implications on society as a whole. Abortion, as a concept and as an act, is inextricably linked with other phenomena in human life, just as morality cannot be isolated to each act but amalgamated with all acts in reality. Because abortion has been proven to be equivalent to murder, given the discussion above, to legislate regulations that permit the practice of abortion is, itself, equivalent to establishing institutionalized murder. Suffice to say, ethical frameworks and legal frameworks that concede to this institution would prove themselves self-defeating, and must therefore be discarded.

Because I have admitted that morality deals with acts within reality and never in isolation, I must also admit that morality must consider context. On the contrary, the strongest point in favor of abortion stems from the outcome of sexual abuse. Rape and molestation entail the dominance of a single actor’s agency at the expense of that of another, an expense that extends far beyond the act itself – namely, unwanted pregnancy. The very same empathy that drives me to protect the welfare of the child, drives me also to protect the welfare of the abused woman. I concede that I, and anyone else besides the mother, do not have the right to impose upon the mother the responsibility borne from the outcome of a traumatic experience. Even more so is it cruel to hold her responsible for something that she did not intend. Solely under these circumstances, I find abortion permissible to an extent.

However, I say “to an extent” to mean “with reservation.” Returning to the circumstances above, it is deemed necessary to consider the unwilling mother as burdened. There is great difficulty in this, however. It is insensitive to ask what the burden is, more so if it is asked whether the child is the burden. Figuratively, this would be likening the child to a malignant tumor that has to be excised in order to free the body from illness. The child, however, is not absolutely malignant, to say the least. While the tumor guarantees nothing more than suffering, the child may become a cause of joy for the mother, even a pioneer of something excellent. The removal of the tumor is assuredly auspicious, but the termination of a child is followed by total annihilation of the chance that it may grow as a stellar individual.

Nevertheless, I still concede that the emotional and psychological aftermath faced by victims of sexual abuse are undeniable and cannot be discounted in the face of an outcome-turned-great. Still, I remain steadfast in maintaining my stance on the matter: life is sacred and must be protected. In the case of impregnated victims of sexual abuse, the best course of action is to provide free psychological counselling to help them cope from the experience and to possibly provide subsidies for maternal welfare and child welfare. At best, the mother would be allowed to give her child to adoption, should circumstances prove it inimical if she keeps it. 

Ultimately, what is at stake with abortion is whether the loss of life can come with a gain. The loss of all human life, surely, cannot arrive at any gain on part of humanity. Even if one posits that this loss comes at the benefit of the mother, it is still a loss, large in a way that it accounts not only the impossibility of the human being formed from conception but also the impact that it can make, for better and for worse. 

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