Argumentative Essay on Abortion: the Murder of Human Life or Just a Medical Procedure?

5 pages
1121 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
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Abortion has been a subject of discussion since the start of human civilization. In the United States, for example, the legal status of abortion has undergone continuous changes since the 1800s due to the ever-changing concepts about the subject. Currently, there are two main extreme positions on the issue. First is the anti-abortion (pro-life) which considers abortion as the murder of an unborn child who should enjoy absolute rights like any other human being, and secondly, the abortion-on-request position which maintains that women have absolute power over their bodies and that the procedure is merely a way of removing unwanted genetic material from the body. Contrary to the abovementioned arguments, the definition of abortion should assume a moderate position that considers the life of the fetus and the mother alike, that is, the termination of pregnancy beyond the first trimester is murder unless the life of the mother or the child is endangered.

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Based on the argument that life starts at conception, abortion is murder. After conception, human life in potentiality is existent throughout the development of the fetus. Therefore, it should be valued as if it were already born. Considering the fact that the genetic makeup of each embryo is responsible for unique individuals, the human being should be protected and preserved. Therefore, any harm done to the unborn child should be considered murder. Additionally, the principle of the value of life dictates that life should be sanctified especially when it is innocent and cannot defend itself. Hence, even when conception is through rape or incest, it does not justify the termination of innocent life. When people decide on abortion, they should not only consider their wellbeing but also put into account the life and health of the unborn child.

However, even though the value of life principle is essential, it is not the only factor that should be considered. Other principles are observed even in the case of the existence of an innocent unborn baby. Families have the right to procreate of their own will. Additionally, the integrity of bodily life, which entails the protection of human beings from dangerous situations, for example, war and capital punishment among other life-threatening events is also a significant factor. Moreover, individuals, that is the mother, and the unborn baby has the freedom to lead a life they deem best for themselves. As a result, there is no assurance of the absolute right to life even for the fetus. Thus, abortion in the early stage of the pregnancy, especially within the first three months, can be done by mothers who do not want a child. As argued from a moderate point of view, termination of a pregnancy in the first trimester can be completed because a fetus has to undergo some degree of development before a person can legitimately equate it to an individual human being.

Unless the continuation of the pregnancy will cause complications to a mother and the conceptus, termination after the first three months is murder. Although women have the right to their bodies, their decision to abort conceptus after the first twelve weeks is limited. Upon the completion of the first trimester of the gestation period, the unborn baby has significantly developed and showcases more resemblance to the human being. Therefore, the extent of the human rights that apply to this unborn baby will also increase. Unlike the earlier stages, when the mother could quickly abort without restriction, the procedure has to be approved by qualified physicians due to the increased value of life. Thus, since the woman’s health and life interfere with the life of the fetus, it is a mother’s moral obligation to uphold the value of life principle when dealing with her life and the life of the unborn baby.

In instances where the life of the mother is in danger, abortion is a necessary medical procedure. A woman has the right to choose to save her life over that of the unborn baby. Therefore, when a woman’s life is at risk due to a complicated pregnancy, abortion is a permissible means of saving her life. Furthermore, in such situations where one has to choose between the two entities, the life of a pregnant woman takes precedence over that of an unborn conceptus. Special reasons such as severe malfunction of the unborn child are enough reasons to justify an abortion. And, from viability, that is after the first twenty-eight weeks of the gestation period, abortion can be done following the death of the fetus or when the fetus is severely unhealthy and will die immediately after birth. Also, the effect of the pregnancy on the health of the mother necessitates the need for abortion.

The issue of unwanted or deformed children attracts different points of view about the justification of the abortion procedure. Sometimes, embryos develop with malfunctions that would render these kids handicapped after birth. Therefore, they are considered unwanted children or genetic materials that need to be removed from the body through abortion. Instead of bringing this kind of child into the world and leaving them to suffer in addition to transferring the burden of taking care of them, abortion is perceived as the quick medical solution to the problem. However, from an anti-abortion point of view, many viable alternatives can be adopted. According to the pro-life people, the fact that a parent does not want her kid is not enough justification for them to be murdered. Moreover, many institutions, both private and governmental, are always willing to help in taking care of these individuals.


Generally, the debate about the morality of abortion has persisted for a long time. While others argue that it is just a medical procedure, some believe that it is an act of murder on innocent and defenseless life. The life of the unborn should be treated with value. However, a fetus does not enjoy an absolute right to life since other factors should be considered. For instance, the safety of the mother in addition to the willingness by the parent to give birth is very crucial in the justification of abortion as a medical procedure. In summary, after the first trimester through to the viability period of gestation, any unjustified abortion should be considered as killing a human being. This definition of abortion can be exempted in cases where the mother’s health would be in jeopardy if the pregnancy continues or when the fetus is dead or will eventually die shortly after birth. In considering the morality of abortion, the life of the mother and the unborn child should be equally considered

Work Cited.

Thiroux, Jacques P., and Keith W. Krasemann. Ethics: Theory and practice. Glencoe Publishing Company, 1980.

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