Abortion is a morally painful topic for anyone who finds themselves in the position to have to address this decision. The decision to take a child’s life, whether it be the right thing to do or not is never going to be an easy issue. The abortion debate extends to all manner of moral situations but the key question is;
Is it ever ethically correct to act as God and take a human life?
For many this may be an easy answer and for others it will not. There has and will always be two sides of this debate, those who are Pro – Life and those who are Pro – Choice. It is also difficult to depict between personal choice, drawing upon the fear of losing the ability to have children again and those who have a strong, affirmed opinion.
It is of course first important to address the definition of ‘human being’,
“A being that possesses certain human characteristics in addition to the human genetic code.”
This definition draws us to the issue of at what stage does a foetus become a human being? By definition withholding a genetic code and characteristics is enough. How can anyone make the assumption that a foetus is not born with an identity, a character?
A foetus can be aborted in the UK up until the 24th week of pregnancy. However The Abortion Act 1967 states that certain guidelines must be met, one of which is;
“Two doctors must agree that an abortion would cause less damage to a woman’s physical or mental health than continuing with the pregnancy”
The definition of ‘mental health’ is undefined, it is difficult to depict that whether simply having to deal with an unwanted child is damage enough to cause justification for the termination.
At the stage of 24 weeks the baby’s brain is growing rapidly, taste buds have fully developed, and their footprints and fingerprints are continuing to form. If born at this stage it is officially considered viable, that they may well be able to survive. 36% of children survive when born at this age.
To me it is completely unfathomable that at the age of 24 weeks a baby that could potentially live could be aborted, as though it had never existed. I would like to stress that I am not being naïve or disregarding the fact that even at this stage of pregnancy perhaps, under certain, drastic circumstances aborting a child may be the only option. In the circumstances where the mother could be at risk, abortion is regarded as a justified and sometimes fair option or perhaps a determined disability of the child. However again I would stress the ethical consequences of even this situation. The baby cannot express its will to live, or defend its already affirmed right as a human being, at 24 weeks, to life. Also with today’s developing technology is it ethically correct to make a decision based on judgement that, in the case of disabilty, the child wont have a good quality of life. How can we be sure?
Who are we to decide whether that baby has a shot at living? Does the mother have any more right that than the unborn child?
In terms of equality, that baby has far surpassed the stage of being a helpless, inanimate foetus. Personality is developed from the very early stages of birth if not before. We consider anything that is responsive and feels emotion to be living.
So the real question in hand is;
Does aborting a child when it has a 36% chance of living constitute as murder?
The issue that needs addressing is whether 24 weeks is a viable stage to terminate a pregnancy. I struggle to understand that at this stage what justification there could be for killing a baby in such late development. 24 weeks translates as 6 months, 2 thirds of your way through pregnancy. One would hope that at this stage you are fully aware of the commitment you are taking on and making conscious preparations for the child. Surely at this stage it is not viable to simply decide that having a baby now isn’t for you?
A staggering “97% of abortions take place for convenience or to avoid
It is not defined at what stage of pregnancy this 97% derives from, however this ridiculously high number surely reflects a culture of indespensible life? If the issue of abortion is not addresses now, children will be brought up relying on the ‘saftey net’ of abortion. The ‘no need to fear, abortion will solve the ‘issue” attitude. Being given the gift of life and carrying a child is not something you can just ‘switch off’.
In some rare cases women are unaware of the fact that they are carrying a child. However, it is important to stress that there are other options. At the stage of 6 months surely adoption is a more ethical method. There has been some media attention revolving the abortion debate recently with David Cameron stating he
“personally’ favoured a ‘modest reduction’ from the current limit of 24 weeks,
‘because I think there are some medical arguments for that’. But he said he did
not agree with the 12-week limit.”
With the abortion issue addressed my question to you is;
Is up to the 24 week cap a justifiable time to terminate a child? If so, for what reason?
And at what stage, if any, is abortion acceptable?