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Abortion - Controversial Issue

Essay by review  •  December 25, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,422 Words (6 Pages)  •  809 Views

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In our society, there are many ethical dilemmas that we are faced with that are virtually impossible to solve. One of the most difficult and controversial issues that we are faced with is abortion. There are many strong arguments both for and against the right to have an abortion which are so complicated that it becomes impossible to resolve. The complexity of this issue lies in the different aspects of the argument. The essence of a person, rights, and who is entitled to these rights, are a few of the many aspects which are very difficult to define. There are also issues of what circumstances would justify abortion. Because the issue of abortion is virtually impossible to solve, all one can hope to do is understand the different aspects of the argument so that if he or she is faced with that issue in their own lives, they would be able to make educated and thoughtful decisions in dealing with it. The definition of a person is an aspect of the abortion issue which raises some very difficult questions. Is an unborn baby a person? When does the unborn baby become a person? This is a difficult question because in order for one to answer it, he must define the essence of a person. When describing the essence of something, one needs to describe the necessary and sufficient conditions of that thing. So how does one define the essence of a person? Some people define the essence of a person from more of a biological standpoint. Nevertheless, defining the essence of a person is a very difficult thing for a group of people to agree on. One's own definition of a person would most likely greatly impact his opinion on whether abortion is morally justified or not. This becomes even more complicated when one takes into account potentiality. This raises the question of whether the fetus is an actual person or a potential person. Many would argue that a fetus is a potential person because it is has the potential to become what it is not yet. However, does a potential person have potential rights? An example was used: does a potential doctor have the rights of a licensed doctor? When one is describing potentiality, all he is really describing is what that thing is not. By declaring that a fetus is a potential person, one is also stating that a fetus is not a person. As one can see, this issue of the essence of a person and whether a fetus is a person is a very complicated one. This becomes seven more complicated if one takes into account the issue of rights. Now, the concept of human rights, that is to say, what American society dictates as human rights, conflicts heavily with itself. On one hand, we form a deep and heavy opinion on one's right to life. On the other, we hold an equally strong opinion on one's freedom to live that life as they please. American society by and large has a firm belief in an individuals right to live. Therefore, if one comes to the conclusion that a fetus actually is a person, then that fetus should receive the protection to it's right to live, as much as you or I. This society also holds the firm belief in one's right to the sovereignty of his or her own body, equal to that of one's right to live. In this case, it is imperative that we understand what liberties we can and cannot take upon ourselves concerning our lives. Case in point, suicide. Society dictates what we are allowed to do, and how we are allowed to live, by law. Most of American laws are written to preserve one's rights to individuality, and one's right to take the liberty to live their lives as they see fit. However, laws are also written to undermine those who's actions compromise the liberties and freedoms of other individuals, thus protecting the concepts and ideals of agency and liberty. Based on our society's laws, essentially, we believe that what you do to yourself is your choice, and is accepted by law, so long as it doesn't stop or impede the lives and freedoms of others. The difficulty in this dilemma lies within the question of whether an abortion falls into a category of protection of a woman's right's over the sovereignty of her own body, or whether it falls into a different category of an action which is not permissible because, according to some people, the fetus is a person whose life and freedom is being compromised. The question of rights is further complicated by the different circumstances where the abortion issue could be raised. Many people would argue that abortion should not be used as birth control or as a means to deal with the consequences of promiscuous sex. However, how does one address the abortion issue in the circumstance of rape or incest? Many say that in these circumstances, abortion is justified. The confusing thing is that the outcome is the same in both circumstances.

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