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The value of life cannot be questioned. Just as a murderer will pay for his crimes, so will anyone who kills another without just cause be punished by god and society. But, this issue of abortion extends far beyond the taking of life. Abortion requires consideration of what is just and does a pregnant woman have the right to decide. There are many varying views on this issue, but generally speaking, the Christian doctrine determines that the sanctity of life must be preserved at all levels, so the questions we must ask are; At what point is a life begun, and can it be ethically justified to abort in controversial circumstances.
Let us examine what is actually happening when abortion occurs. A woman falls pregnant; she wishes to terminate this pregnancy for a variety of reasons. The key issue to determining whether this abortion is right or wrong is whether the woman is destroying a human life, or merely inhibiting a life to begin. Whether or not this is the case there are still moral issues to consider that apply on both sides of the coin.
Does the woman have the right to terminate the pregnancy because it is her body? She is the one who has to go through with having the baby and thus she should not necessarily have major life changes forced upon her. A young woman who is nowhere near ready to have a baby can be faced with much trauma purely because she made a mistake.
A fetus is determined that it will be born deformed. It cannot function in life to a meaningful degree and will suffer. While the Christian doctrine would provide us with the insight that a life is a life, we must also consider that it may not be a worthwhile life, and perhaps not worth living at all. Although this fetus will still one day be a real person, if not aborted, perhaps it the lesser of two evil to have an abortion to save the pain for both the fetus and the mother.
Is it fair to bring a child into a world that cannot provide it with a meaningful life? If the woman is poor, or cannot give her child a good upbringing, is it having the child the right thing to do?
Abortion in circumstances where the mother is able to take care of the child and support it sufficiently is a more challenging ethical debate. In circumstances where having the baby is obviously a bad choice for the mother and/or the baby, there is lesser grounds to argue that the pregnancy should not be aborted. But if the mother simply doesn?t want to go through with the pregnancy because perhaps it was accidental, or she does not wish to be a mother, is quite controversial. In situations where the baby would be disadvantaged in the world, or the mother is viably unable to play the role of the parent, then quite often, aborting is the logical choice. If the woman just doesn?t want the baby it is far different. It is still her body. She is still in control and free to decide. But whether it is ethical to abort the pregnancy and thus terminate a potential human life is the broad problem that fuels the never-ending abortion debate.
Women do have the right to choose, but many will criticse their choices. However, often the men that father the child that the woman is carrying attempt to play a role in the decision. Generally, this role is supporting and discussive. But when a man decides to abort on behalf of the woman this is wrong. When the woman is pushed into abortion by her partner (or father), the woman has not made her own ethical decision. This is wrong. The woman must reach her own decision.
Christianity sees abortion as a violation of its codes and practices, yet the views of Christianity cant be honored to the absolute degree. If a woman must make the choice about whether to abort or not, they must consider all aspects of the problem. Weigh up their religion and their moral reservations on the issue, and decide based on what they feel is ultimately best for them.
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