Monday, 5 December 2016

Why Abortion is So Controversial

by Katie O'Flaherty

As it has been for longer than living memory, abortion is still a topic hotly debated by many, some questioning the ethics of the decisions, others looking for answers through science. And now, with Donald Trump publicly stating that he would de-fund the charity Planned Parenthood, due to his 'pro-life' beliefs, putting an ever more political spin on the debate. 

Over the years, it seems the primary contenders in this debate are the scientists, against a significant proportion of religious people. And even these 'sides' are not as black and white as they seem. A number of scientists disagree with the principles of abortion, and a large number of religious people also believe in the freedom of the individual to choose. 

In the UK, it is legal to have an abortion up until 24 weeks, yet many argue it is too late, as 'on a different floor of a hospital, a premature baby can be saved at a younger age than 24 weeks'. Then arises the question of when life really begins. Is it when the egg is first fertilised, or after the zygote has formed, or only during birth? And science hasn't provided a solid answer to this question, giving even more scope for debate.

On top of these other questions, the circumstances can drastically alter how many people view the morality of the abortion. Many abortions take place after rape, or if the parents would not be able to fully provide for the child due to health problems. Furthermore, many people would consider an abortion if they found out, before birth, that their child would have a debilitating disease, which may prohibit their quality of life, or limit their lifetime. And many others choose abortions because of an unexpected pregnancy, unplanned for, but which many argue that they could cope with relatively easily. 

Many of these questions can only be answered by individuals, using their own principles and moral compass to find the solution right for them. Therefore, the problem lies in trying to achieve an agreement, as to what can be done 'normally'. Not only this, but many feel it to be their 'duty' to force their own opinions on other people, whose circumstances they have never experienced, and likely cannot understand. And much as many people believe their moral compass is the sole way forward for both them and all who come into contact with them, the likelihood of them understanding the emotional complexities of the situation, and their lack of respect for each person's freedom to make their own decision, is a disrespect that not only generalises so many unique, and sometimes painful, situations, but also partially violates a human's right to make their own decisions.

From this, I am by no means saying that there should be no laws dictating the morality of certain parts of an abortion; for one, an abortion of a baby within a few weeks of when it can healthily be born is not something that should be commonly encouraged in society. The point-blank view, however, that abortions should be made illegal completely disregards the fact that each situation is individual, with its own complexities and emotional connotations. 

1 comment:

  1. Surely the nature of the unborn needs to be established prior to any further discussion on the morality of abortion?
    If it is a human being, one then has to justify why it can be killed.
    If it isn't, why should there be any laws governing abortion at all?


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