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Abortion: the Right of the Mother or the Right of the Child?


One of the endless debates the remain to be strong today is the issue of abortion. A number of groups have endorsed a number of views not only on the morality of the abortion but its legality as well. Pro-life groups have presented arguments in which it defends the right of the unborn child whereas pro-choice groups have argued the validity of preventing the potential suffering of the unwanted child.

In terms of abortion’s legality, some countries and governments have passed on laws allowing legal abortion laws whereas some of these laws can be considered to tread a certain grey area due to a number of technicalities in the definition of the procedure. For example, by definition, abortion is a means to remove an embryo or a fetus from the womb of the mother, and as a result, this removal will lead to the fetus’ death. Since there is the incident of “killing” involved, arguments have spanned as to whether abortion in itself should be considered as a crime. In this case, it is being debated as to whether an embryo or a fetus can be already considered as a human being, in which case technically, abortion can be considered similar to the act of murder. However, given the number of cases in which some mothers do not want to carry on with the pregnancy and they end up resorting to drastic measures in order to get rid of the unborn child, some countries and states have resorted to making abortion legal.

It can be observed, on one hand, that the amount of legality has been also become a subject of debate as politics are constantly being watched by moral rights groups. This is to say that some jurisdictions allow abortion based on certain conditions such as the pregnancy critically causing the mother’s or the baby’s life. In any case, given the growing complexity of the issues that have become involved in the arguments for and against abortion which have involved issues on morality, legality and ethics, what remains to define the grey area in this issue is the after-effect of the act and which and whose rights will champion the decision.

Pro-Life: Against Abortion

Morality is the main issue among the pro-life groups who have long been fighting for the eradication of abortion as a choice. These issues on morality are usually founded on religious reasons, which is why religious groups and congregations have passed on their stands on the issue of abortion. The Catholic Church and some Christian churches have announced their denouncement of the act, and usually, it can be observed that the moral choice has also had its foundations based on the interpretations of the Biblical Scriptures.

However, since rationality has started to gain its influence to the people in the modern world, these moral groups have also emphasised the issue of morality and ethics when it comes to the act. For example, as previously mentioned, one of the strong arguments of this side is that a human life already starts upon conception, hence, there is the utilisation of guilt and conscience when it comes to the conveyance of the act as something that is outright criminal.

The right to life argument is another point raised by this side. Although the subject of “life” is debateable at that stage of conception of the child, rights have been already vested to these embryos and fetuses. This is to say that their conception was not necessarily their fault as it was the act of their mothers that led to the conception in the first place, hence, they should not suffer for actions that they had nothing to do with. Hence, the unborn child is considered already an individual on his own who possesses all the rights his or her mother also has claims to.

Another dimension that is discussed in the anti-abortion claims is the condition of these mothers who were probably miseducated and misled when it comes to the definition of their responsibilities. Abortion cases usually involve mothers who do not have the capacity to raise children based on a number of reasons, including those who think that the conception of the child was merely an “accident”. Hence, abortion is seen as a solution for women who do not want to have a child, and anti-abortion groups have been also advocating for educating these women who are encouraged to do the “right” choice of keeping the baby and giving the baby a chance to have a normal life not necessarily with the baby’s biological parent.

Pro-Choice: Abortion Should be Allowed

The main argument of pro-choice groups is that a woman has the right to decide what to do with her body, and in the case that a woman carries an unwanted child, the woman has the right to choose what to do with this incident. Although pro-choice is mainly based on the individual’s beliefs, the biological and social elements involved in the choice of having an abortion has been always seen with a rational point of view. This is to say that harm can be potentially minimised if this sacrifice is conducted, especially if the mother is not interested to carry a child for the next nine months.

Outside the argument of choice there are also support factors on abortion that come from some areas of the scientific/medical community. Instances of critical pregnancies have led to the encouragement of abortion since it can potentially harm the life of the mother and the child. Although pro-choice groups do not outright argue that abortion is the answer to the mothers’ problems, their main stance is that women should be able to make the choice whether the choice is based on their selfish reasons or reasons that are aimed to look after the welfare of both the mother and the unborn child.

However, another critical point raised by this group is that by allowing abortion, especially when legalising it, unwanted pregnancies are able to be responded to by the medical community. This is to say that if abortion is allowed and legal, mothers who want to get rid of their unborn child do not have to resort to measures that will do harm to her such as conducting the abortion herself through “abortive” medication or going to illegal and unsupervised surgical procedures. Hence, abortion is regulated in a sense that the mothers will receive more proper counselling for the choice they are about to make, and in the case the mother does decide to abort the child, the process is executed by a medical professional who can do the procedure within controlled conditions.


It can be observed that the arguments on abortion can be classified into two: arguments to prevent it and arguments to control and regulate it. Clearly, anti-abortion groups continue to rely on their arguments on morality and ethics as to the wrongness of the act. However, the opposing side does not necessarily encourage abortion but rather, having an open mind about this procedure is seen as a rational and responsible route for regulating the procedures. Hence, the former addresses the issue from an idealistic perspective where instances of pregnancies are based on choice and intent whereas the latter addresses the issue from a realistic and responsive point of view in which abortion is seen as a fact and a reality that cannot be easily prevented.