Abortion entails ending a pregnancy through removing the fetus or embryo from the mother’s womb when the fetus cannot survive by itself outside the mother’s womb.  Induced abortion is common and done through the use of in-clinic and abortion pills. Abortion is the most controversial issue in modern society. This issue has a long history and the common discussions surrounding it include the morality and legality of abortion. Some argue that abortion is morally justified and others argue that its an immoral thing. The opponent of abortion argues that abortion deprives the fetus the right to life failing to recognize other factors including the right of the mother to self-defense, to decide what happens to and in her body, and that the fetus does not meet the requirements for personhood and thus do not have the right to life.

According to Thomson (50) abortion is permissible to save the life of the mother. If performing an abortion would save the life of mother them it is the right thing to do. The fetus has the right to life so do the mother. They both have an equal right to life and thus an abortion would be killing the child and without the abortion would be killing the mother.  As Thomson (51) puts across, abortion cannot be considered to be murder if the mother wants abortion to save her life. It is not logic that the other refrain and sit by and wait for her death. Thomson continues to add that one does not commit murder if one wants to save her own life.

Therefore, the right to self-defense would make abortion the permissible. According to Thomson (), there is a drastic limit to the self-defense right. If one is threatened by another person to torture someone else to save one’s life, them one does not have the right to self-defense. However, in the case of abortion, two people are involved, the one who threatens one’s life (fetus) and one whose life is threatened (mother). Both the child and the mother are innocent but the mother can intervene. The mother has the right to defend life against the threat then the fetus poses even if it involves the death of the child.

Additionally, the mother has the right to decide what happens to and in her body.  This statement answers the question, what about those women whose lives are not under threat from the child but choose to do abortion? In the view of human life, the mother has a claim to her body and can decide what happens to her body (Petchesky 263).  Petchesky notes that woman have a reproductive right and thus have the right to make choices regarding their reproductive health. According to Thomson (), the mother has a just, claim to her body and thus she has a right to decide what happens to and in her body. To deny the women to carry out an abortion is to deprive her what he ash a right to and this is unjust.  Besides, the right to live does not entail the right to be given the means needed for survival.  The fact that for continued life that the fetus needs the continued use of the mother’s body does to establish the fetus has a right to be given continued use of the mother’s body. That is, the fetus has no right to use the mother’s body without the permission of the mother and thus the mother is morally justified not to give the baby the house (body) to use.


Also, abortion is permissible since the fetus does not satisfy the conditions of personhood. According to Tooley (), the fetus does not constitute what defines a person and thus has no right to life. Tooley notes that the conditions that qualifies an organism as a person and grants that organism the right to life include possession of the concept of self as a continuing subject of experience and   other mental states and believes itself such as continuing entity. This is self-conscious requirement and it is a necessary parenthood condition. The failure of an organism to satisfy this condition denies that organism classification as a person. Therefore, the fetus fails to meet this requirement and thus does not have the right to life.

Additionally, English (152) supports Tooley in justifying abortion by noting that the fetus does not meet the conditions for personhood which gives on the right to life.  English groups the conditions for parenthood to five sections. One, biological section which entails having extremities, eating, and sleeping. Two, social section which entails belonging to various groups, love, and sympathy. Three, legal section encompassing capability to make contracts, being a citizen, and to be a legal addressee. Four, the psychological section which entails communication ability, self-consciousness, ability to use tools, emotions, and perception. Fifth and final is the rational section encompassing reasoning, learning from experience, and ability to make generalization. According to English (153), there are no sufficient features that the fetus possesses to qualify as a person and thus the fetus lies where the personhood concept is hard to apply.

Luke (53) argues that throughout the western history, the fetus’s moral status has been ambiguous.  The idea that abortion is indistinguishable to murder due to the fact that fetus is the moral tantamount of the child it will become has existed with the notion that a fetus is a moral order than already-born child and therefore that abortion is not equivalent to murder. The Roman law denies the fetus the personhood status, and the legal abortion regulation in the Roman empire has been quite lax. The Christian and Jewish Bibles do not address the issues of induced abortion as murder. However, the church councils which laid the legal foundation for early Christianity set penalties only for abortions done after sexual crimes including prostitution. In the early 19th century, the American law did not prosecute early abortions and even late abortion prosecutions were ambiguous under common law.

However, the opponents of abortion argue that the fetus is a person from the conception moment. Therefore, the fetus has the right to life and hence abortion is not permissible as it denies the fetus the right to life. However, various scholars have contended this position. According to Thomson (), killing is self-defense is permissible and thus abortion to preserve the mother’s life is acceptable. Additionally, according to (), the fetus does not meet the requirements for personhood.  An individual qualifies for personhood upon having self-consciousness, rationality, capacity to reason, to be a legal addressee, and have a sense of belonging. Therefore, there is no immorality in abortion since the fetus does not meet the criteria for personhood or the right to life. Besides, even if the fetus meets the personhood criteria, the mother has the right to decide what happens to and in her body and having the right to life does not guarantee the right to be give the use of or continued use of the mother’s body for survival.

In conclusion, abortion is morally permissible. The mother has the right to self-defense and save her life even if it means the death of the fetus. Also, the mother has the right to decide what happens to and in her body. Besides, the fetus is not a person since it does not meet the necessary requirements to classify an organism as a person and therefore does not have a right to life. The opponents of abortion base their argument on the fetus’ life to life but there is no consensus on when development of a person begins and the fetus lies where the personhood concept is hard to apply and hence the right to life does not apply.  Thus, abortion is morally justified.

Do you need high quality Custom Essay Writing Services?

Custom Essay writing Service