Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:English

Document 1

The abortion debate has grown into a legal and political issue with anti-abortion rights campaigners seeking the enactment, maintenance and expansion of anti-abortion laws while abortion rights activists seek the easing or repeal of such laws. There are variations in abortion laws in different jurisdictions, ranging from total prohibition of the practice to public funding for the same. Similarly, the availability and access to safe abortions varies in different parts of the world. There are two sides to the abortion debate, which are majorly influenced by one’s views and beliefs concerning to human life, moral values and personal autonomy over one’s own body. The question on whether human life begins at conception or after birth is of significant influence on the abortion debate.

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For some churches, while abortion is generally considered as being morally wrong, it is permissive in the unfortunate event that the pregnancy threatens the wellbeing and life of the mother. Everyone, women included, have a right to control their own bodies and all their functions including reproduction. As such, even if the fetus were a person with the right to life, abortion is still morally permissible because the woman has a right to her body and should therefore be allowed to make decisions pertaining to her body, even when the decision is to terminate a pregnancy. From this view, forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against their wish in order to protect the fetus’s right to life is a breach of the woman’s right to their own body and its functions.

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In addition, the move to have women exercise the rights they have over their own bodies by being allowed to make the decision on whether or not to keep a pregnancy to term or terminate it is a necessary step in granting women equality with their male counterparts whose liability in having children is not as big as that incurred by women. The practice of abortion does not cause any pain to the fetus and is therefore not cruel or inhumane. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, the fetus is still largely underdeveloped and is therefore incapable of registering feelings such as pain or pleasure. As such, abortions performed during this period will not inflict any pain on the fetus.

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