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An argument in favor of the right to have an abortion

Overview[ edit ] In ancient times, abortion, along with infanticidewas considered in the context of family planninggender selection, population control, and the property rights of the patriarch. Then, as now, these discussions often concerned the nature of man, the existence of a soul, when life begins, and the beginning of human personhood. While the practice of infanticide as a form of family planning has largely been eradicated in developed countries, birth control and abortion are still practiced; and their morality and legality continues to be debated.

While modern debates about abortion retain some of the language of these older debates, the terminology has often acquired new meanings.

Discussion of the putative personhood of the fetus may be complicated by the current legal status of children. Like children or minors in the U. Ireland, although this treatment was amended by the Abortion Act of 1967 in England, Scotland and Wales.

Abortion debate

For example, the labels "pro-choice" and "pro-life" imply endorsement of widely held values such as liberty or the right to lifewhile suggesting that the opposition must be "anti-choice" or "anti-life" alternatively "pro-coercion" or "pro-death".

However, these terms do not always reflect a political view or fall along a binary; in one Public Religion Research Institute poll, seven in ten Americans described themselves as "pro-choice" while almost two-thirds described themselves as "pro-life".

Such appeals can generate confusion if the type of rights is not specified whether civilnaturalor otherwise or if it is simply assumed that the right appealed to takes precedence over an argument in favor of the right to have an abortion other competing rights an example of begging the question.

The appropriate terms with which to designate the human organism prior to birth are also debated. The medical terms " embryo " and " fetus " are seen by some pro-life advocates as dehumanizing[15] [16] while everyday terms such as "baby" are viewed as sentimental by some pro-choice advocates.

The use of the term "baby" to describe the unborn human organism is seen by some scholars as part of an effort to assign the organism agency. This assignation of agency functions to further the construction of fetal personhood.

In politics, rights are the protections and privileges legally granted to citizens by the government. In a democracy, certain rights are considered to be inalienableand thus not subject to grant or withdrawal by government. Regarding abortion lawthe political debate usually surrounds a right to privacyand when or how a government may regulate abortion[ citation needed ]. There is abundant debate regarding the extent of abortion regulation.

Some pro-choice advocates argue that it should be illegal for governments to regulate abortion any more than other medical practices. In general the right to privacy can be found to rest on the provisions of habeas corpuswhich first found official expression under Henry II in 11th century England, but has precedent in Anglo-Saxon law. This provision guarantees the right to freedom from arbitrary government interference, as well as due process of law.

This conception of the right to privacy is operant in all countries which have adopted English common law through Acts of Reception. The Law of the United States rests on English common law by this means. Time has stated that the issue of bodily privacy is "the core" of the abortion debate.

  1. This bill passed the House of Commons but was defeated by a tie vote in the Senate. In the US, the compelling state interest test has been developed in accordance with the standards of strict scrutiny.
  2. December 2011 Fetal pain, its existence, and its implications are part of a larger debate about abortion. Other philosophers apply similar criteria, concluding that a fetus lacks a right to life because it lacks brain waves or higher brain function, [60] self-consciousness, [61] rationality, [62] and autonomy.
  3. Supreme Court to rally in support of Roe v. The recent referendum allowed abortions.
  4. This means that it is also punishable by jail time. This conception of the right to privacy is operant in all countries which have adopted English common law through Acts of Reception.
  5. But the mother would never have to give the baby a blood transfusion, no matter what the circumstances were.

The landmark decision Roe v Wade relied on the 14th Amendment, which guarantees that federal rights shall be applied equally to all persons born in the United States. The 14th Amendment has given rise to the doctrine of Substantive due processwhich is said to guarantee various privacy rights, including the right to bodily integrity.

In Canada, the courts have located privacy rights in the security of persons clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 7 of that charter echoes language used in the Universal Declaration of Human Rightswhich an argument in favor of the right to have an abortion guarantees security of persons.

While governments are allowed to invade the privacy of their citizens in some cases, they are expected to protect privacy in all cases lacking a compelling state interest. In the US, the compelling state interest test has been developed in accordance with the standards of strict scrutiny. In Roe v Wade, the Court decided that the state has an "important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life" from the point of viability on, but that prior to viability, the woman's fundamental rights are more compelling than that of the state.

Albert Wynn and Gloria Feldt at the U. Supreme Court to rally in support of Roe v. Abortion in the United States Roe v. Wade struck down state laws banning abortion in 1973. Over 20 cases have addressed abortion law in the United Statesall of which upheld Roe v.

Since Roe, abortion has been legal throughout the country, but states have placed varying regulations on it, from requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion to restricting late-term abortions. Legal criticisms of the Roe decision address many points, among them are several suggesting that it is an overreach of judicial powers, [25] or that it was not properly based on the Constitution, [26] or that it is an example of judicial activism and that it should be overturned so that abortion law can be decided by legislatures.

Carhart as judicial activism. It is the dimension present whenever the Court's interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution [. W]hatever the premises of opposition may be, only the most convincing justification under accepted standards of precedent could suffice to demonstrate that a later decision overruling the first was anything but a surrender to political pressure and an unjustified repudiation of the principle on which the Court staked its authority in the first instance.

Canadian judicial involvement[ edit ] Main article: Abortion in Canada With R v. Relying on the security of person clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsthe court determined that, while the state has an interest in protecting the fetus "at some point", this interest cannot override that of the pregnant woman because: Because the courts did not specifically establish abortion as a right, Parliament has leave to legislate on this aspect of the matter; and in 1989, the Progressive Conservative government attempted to do just that.

A bill was introduced that would allow abortion only if two doctors certified that the woman's health was in danger.

This bill passed the House of Commons but was defeated by a tie vote in the Senate. Several additional cases have considered further issues. Although the courts have not ruled on the question of fetal personhood, the question has been raised in two cases, Tremblay v. Both cases relied on the born alive ruleinherited from English common law, to determine that the fetus was not a person at law.

  • These views can often be in direct opposition to each other;
  • The 14th Amendment has given rise to the doctrine of Substantive due process , which is said to guarantee various privacy rights, including the right to bodily integrity;
  • Because pain can involve sensory, emotional and cognitive factors, leaving it "impossible to know" when painful experiences are perceived, even if it is known when thalamocortical connections are established.

Two further cases are notable: Dobson Litigation Guardian of v. Worldwide stances[ edit ] Countries that refuse abortions[ edit ] As of June 2018, there are 5 countries that completely outlaw abortion: Countries with strict laws[ edit ] Ireland used to only allow abortions if the pregnancy is a risk to the woman's life. It was also a very expensive procedure.

The recent referendum allowed abortions. There are also penalties of jail time if an abortion is induced for any other reason. This means that it is also punishable by jail time.

Argentina Senate has rejected bill to legalize abortion [34]. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October 2015 Learn how and when to remove this template message Pro-choice advocates argue that illegalization of abortion increases the incidence of unsafe abortionsas the availability of professional abortion services decreases, and leads to increased maternal mortality.

According to a global study collaboratively conducted by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institutemost unsafe abortions occur where abortion is illegal. If "personhood" is acquired, opinions differ about when this happens. Traditionally, the concept of personhood entailed the soula metaphysical concept referring to a non-corporeal or extra-corporeal dimension of human being which is absent in other creatures.

  • Beginning of human personhood Although the two main sides of the abortion debate tend to agree that a human fetus is biologically and genetically human that is, of the human species , they often differ in their view on whether or not a human fetus is, in any of various ways, a person;
  • Abortion in Canada With R v.

Today, the concepts of subjectivity and intersubjectivitypersonhoodmindand self have come to encompass a number of aspects of human being previously considered the domain of the "soul". When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. December 2011 Fetal pain, its existence, and its implications are part of a larger debate about abortion. A 2005 multidisciplinary systematic review in JAMA in the area of fetal development found that a fetus is unlikely to feel pain until after the sixth month of pregnancy.

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Because pain can involve sensory, emotional and cognitive factors, leaving it "impossible to know" when painful experiences are perceived, even if it is known when thalamocortical connections are established.

In a 1997 letter to the British Medical Journal[53] she noted that the majority of surgical abortions in Britain were performed under general anesthesia which affects the fetus, and considers the discussion "to be unhelpful to women and to the scientific debate.

Anesthesia is administered directly to fetuses only while they are undergoing surgery. Beginning of human personhood Although the two main sides of the abortion debate tend to agree that a human fetus is biologically and genetically human that is, of the human speciesthey often differ in their view on whether or not a human fetus is, in any of various ways, a person.

Pro-life supporters argue that abortion is morally wrong on the basis that a fetus is an innocent human person [55] or because a fetus is a potential life that will, in most cases, develop into a fully functional human being.

Others reject this position by drawing a distinction between human being and human person, arguing that while the fetus is innocent and biologically human, it is not a person with a right to life.

For example, Mary Ann Warren suggests consciousness at least the capacity to feel painreasoningself-motivation, the ability to communicateand self-awareness. Warren concludes that as the fetus satisfies only one criterion, consciousness and this only after it becomes susceptible to pain[59] the fetus is not a person and abortion is therefore morally permissible.

Other philosophers apply similar criteria, concluding that a fetus lacks a right to life because it lacks brain waves or higher brain function, [60] self-consciousness, [61] rationality, [62] and autonomy. Critics of this typically argue that some of the proposed criteria for personhood would disqualify two classes of born human beings — reversibly comatose patients, and human infants — from having a right to life, since they, like fetuses, are not self-conscious, do not communicate, and so on.

Warren concedes that infants are not "persons" by her proposed criteria, [67] and on that basis she and others, including the moral philosopher Peter Singerconclude that infanticide could be morally acceptable under some circumstances for example if the infant is severely disabled [68] or in order to save the lives of several other infants.

On this approach, a being essentially has a right to life if it has a natural capacity to develop an argument in favor of the right to have an abortion relevant psychological features; and, since human beings do have this natural capacity, they essentially have a right to life beginning at conception or whenever they come into existence.

Philosophers such as Aquinas use the concept of individuation. They argue that abortion is not permissible from the point at which individual human identity is realized.

Anthony Kenny argues that this can be derived from everyday beliefs and language and one can legitimately say "if my mother had had an abortion six months into her pregnancy, she would have killed me" then one can reasonably infer that at six months the "me" in question would have been an existing person with a valid claim to life.

Since division of the zygote into twins through the process of monozygotic twinning can occur until the fourteenth day of pregnancy, Kenny argues that individual identity is obtained at this point and thus abortion is not permissible after two weeks. Thomson's variant of this argument draws an analogy between forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy and forcing a person to allow his body to be used to maintain blood homeostasis as a dialysis machine is used for another person suffering from kidney failure.

It is argued that just as it would be permissible to "unplug" and thereby cause the death of the person who is using one's kidneys, so it is permissible to abort the fetus who similarly, it is said, has no right to use one's body's life-support functions against one's will.

For example, it is argued that the fetus is the woman's child as opposed to a mere stranger; [78] that abortion kills the fetus rather than merely letting it die; [79] and that in the case of pregnancy arising from voluntary intercourse, the woman has either tacitly consented to the fetus using her body, [80] or has a duty to allow it to use her body since she herself is responsible for its need to use her body.

John Noonan proposes the scenario of a family who was found to be liable for frostbite finger loss suffered by a dinner guest whom they refused to allow to stay overnight, although it was very cold outside and the guest showed signs of being sick.

  • Religion and abortion Each religion has many varying views on the moral implications of abortion;
  • Worldwide stances[ edit ] Countries that refuse abortions[ edit ] As of June 2018, there are 5 countries that completely outlaw abortion;
  • On this approach, a being essentially has a right to life if it has a natural capacity to develop the relevant psychological features; and, since human beings do have this natural capacity, they essentially have a right to life beginning at conception or whenever they come into existence;
  • The Law of the United States rests on English common law by this means;
  • Others reject this position by drawing a distinction between human being and human person, arguing that while the fetus is innocent and biologically human, it is not a person with a right to life.

It is argued that just as it would not be permissible to refuse temporary accommodation for the guest to protect him from physical harm, it would not be permissible to refuse temporary accommodation of a fetus. They argue that if a baby was born into an environment in which there was no replacement available for her mother's breast milk, and the baby would either breastfeed or starve, the mother would have to allow the baby to breastfeed.

But the mother would never have to give the baby a blood transfusion, no matter what the circumstances were. The difference between breastfeeding in that scenario and blood transfusions is the difference between using your body as a kidney dialysis machine, and gestation and childbirth. According to this argument, those who deny that fetuses have a right to life do not value all human life, but instead select arbitrary characteristics such as particular levels of physical or psychological development as giving some human beings more value or rights than others.

Criticism of this line of reasoning follows several threads. Some reject the argument on grounds relating to personal identityholding that the fetus is not the same entity as the adult into which it will develop, and thus that the fetus does not have a "future like ours" in the required sense. Argument from uncertainty[ edit ] Some pro-life supporters argue that if there is uncertainty as to whether the fetus has a right to life, then having an abortion is equivalent to consciously taking the risk of killing another.

According to this argument, if it is not known for certain whether something such as the fetus has a right to life, then it is reckless, and morally wrong, to treat that thing as if it lacks a right to life for example by killing it.