Abortion as a Crime: Ethical Considerations and the Need for Safe Access

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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Based on the ethical frameworks discussed in class, assigned essays, and ‘The Last Abortion Clinic’, I believe abortion is permissible. I agree with the statement, ‘termination is permissible up to 23 weeks or unviability outside the womb.’ Abortion may be necessary for health and social purposes or as the result of crime, such as rape and incest.

Justifications for Permissible Abortion

To begin, if a woman requests an abortion as a result of a crime such as rape or incest, it should certainly be permissible.

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The mother did not have a choice in becoming pregnant. In the case of rape, the father should be jailed immediately for his wrongdoing, as well as an incestuous relationship. As stated by the text, ‘A woman who is the victim of rape is entitled to defend herself against the continuing effects of such an attack and to seek immediate medical assistance with a viewing to preventing conception’ (Catholic Archbishops of Great Britain, 1980).

Considerations for Young Mothers

Another instance where abortion may be necessary is when the mother may be too young herself. Abortion is necessary in this case since the mother is not capable of raising a child. The choice should be up to the mother of the child as she is ultimately going to be the one raising the child in the future. If she does not feel that she is capable of doing so, then she should be able to make the decision. After all, she will be the one in which the child develops and who will be responsible for the child’s development. If we have control over our own bodies, then women should have control over their reproductive choice.

In addition, a mother will not be able to provide for the child if she is living in poverty. She will most likely not have enough money to care for the child if she is just getting by herself. In this case, abortion should be permissible since the child would not have sufficient resources. Raising young children comes with a price tag. If a mother is already suffering in poverty, it is not necessary to bring another child into the world to only add to her expenses.

Fetal Development and Permissibility

In agreement with the text, embryos and fetuses are not self-dependent and rely on a female for development (Kuhse & Singer, 2013). In terms of human development, an embryo is an unborn single-cellular organism that develops into a multicellular organism over a period of 8 weeks (Finnis, 1994). A fetus is an unborn offspring that develops eight weeks after conception (Finnis, 1994).

Therefore, aborting an embryo or fetus is not ending the life of a human being. In Roe v. Wade, it is stated, ‘the word person as used in the Fourteenth Amendment (in the US Constitution), does not include the unborn’ ( Roe v. Wade: US Supreme Court, 1973). A fetus does not have the ability to feel pain. According to Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ‘most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception’ (Wisniewski, 2011). The cortex is not fully developed and functional until 26 weeks into pregnancy. The movements detected in fetuses are reflexes, and there is no indication of ‘feeling’ present (McDonough, 2013).

Safeguarding Maternal Health and Safety

Abortion procedures that are done by a professional are far safer than performing one illegally. If abortion were to be illegal, women would resort back to the way of aborting before safe procedures were made by using a coat hanger or knitting needles (Morrison, 2014). Hence, allowing women access to trained healthcare professionals is less of a risk to the mother. Obstetricians performing abortions legally and safely ensure a smaller risk of maternal injury and even death. Professional abortions also include pre-abortion counseling and post-abortion care.

Work Cited

  1. Catholic Archbishops of Great Britain. (1980). Statement on Abortion. In The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice (p. 214). Prometheus Books.
  2. Kuhse, H., & Singer, P. (2013). Embryo. In A Companion to Bioethics (2nd ed., pp. 70-75). John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Finnis, J. (1994). Human Embryos: Abortion and Judicial Reasoning. The Monist, 77(4), 571-590.
  4. Roe v. Wade: US Supreme Court. (1973). Roe v. Wade: The Constitutional Right to Access Safe, Legal Abortion
  5. Wisniewski, L. (2011). The Cortex and Pain Perception in the Fetus. Journal of Medical Ethics, 37(6), 357-359.
  6. McDonough, C. (2013). Fetal Pain: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence. JAMA, 310(22), 2401-2410.
  7. Morrison, T. (2014). Abortion, Coat Hangers, and Democracy. The New Yorker.
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Abortion as a Crime: Ethical Considerations and the Need for Safe Access. (2023, Jun 14). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/abortion-as-a-crime-ethical-considerations-and-the-need-for-safe-access/