Is it right to have an abortion? Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility



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Is it right to have an abortion?

Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility

Dyanne Ladine

Notre Dame de Namur

August 12, 2014

Maria Carranza

BUS 2010

August 12, 2014



Abortion defined as the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or the fetus.
During the course of history, abortion has been extensively available to women. There have been records dating back to the 12th century before Christ, such as provision 53 of the Ancient Assyrian Code stating that; If a woman aborts her own unborn child, and she has been charged and convicted, she is to be impaled and not buried. If she died during the abortion, she is (still) to be impaled and not buried. Ancient history has an array of methods for abortion and birth control. In Ancient Greece, The Oath of Hippocrates (400B.C.) mentions in its passage “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” Giving evidence that abortion was part of women’s lives during this time. Aristotle also gave his position on abortion on his Politics, Book 7 section 1335b, “for children before birth are evidently affected by the mother just as growing plants are by the earth. As to exposing or [20] rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared; but on the ground of number of children, if it the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it before it has developed sensation and life; for the line between lawful and unlawful abortion will be marked by the fact of having sensation and being alive.” He believed that laws should be made with regards to limiting the population and exposing children with deformities. Many women killed themselves during this time by taking herbal remedies, also known as abortifacients. Lawmakers and pro-aborts criticized all these deaths and passed laws legalizing abortion for any reason up to birth.
Under the early Christian life, abortion was not mention as much because it fell into on the commandments, “Thou shalt not kill” and although there were some controversies as to when did the embryo had a soul. Some Early Christians believed that an embryo did not have a soul at conception therefore it was not a murder to have an abortion. Although, Thomas Aquinas believed that ensoulment happened at quickening, he believed that abortion at any stage was wrong. By the end of the first century abortion was acknowledged as a sin and continue to be to this day.
Early history of abortion in America followed the same laws as the ones in England. Abortion was legal up to the quickening stage of the fetus. Abortion became illegal in 13 states by 1850. During this time prostitution increased in the states and abortion thrived once again. By 1870 all states had criminalized abortion, stating that t was not spirituality that was driving this laws but its immorality and danger of the situation. Contraception became illegal in 1873 with the introduction of the Comstock Law, which stated the information regarding birth control was obscene. In 1890 abortion was only allowed to save the mother’s life. During the Great Depression abortion cases increase with the lack of economic support. As with the number of abortions increasing so did the maternal mortality. In the 1950s a change in the views of abortion started to happen. It was in early 1950’s that hospital formed the “therapeutic abortion boards” were doctors decided on a case by case who was allowed to have an abortion, only if the mother’s life was in danger. Planned Parenthood that was formed in the early 1900s’ by Margaret Sanger had a conference “Abortion in the United States” and launched a discussion reformed abortion laws. In 1960 Pat Maginnis, founded the Society for Humane Abortion, becoming one of the first persons to campaign for legalizing abortion. By 1967 Colorado became the first state to decriminalize abortion in case of rape, incest and in cases were the mother could became physically disable due to the pregnancy. California and Oregon followed the similar laws and Hawaii in 1970, was the first state to legalize abortion upon the request of the mother. In the case of Roe v. Wade of 1973, abortion was declaring a right to privacy and therapeutic abortion boards unconstitutional. Moreover, in the years to come it was ruled that minors and spousal needing consent for an abortion procedure was unconstitutional. There was also the banning of federal funds for abortion procedures. Food and Drug Administration approved the abortion pill RU-486 in 2000. The RU-486 allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy within the first seven weeks from her last menstrual cycle, without having a surgical procedure. George W Bush signed the “partial-birth abortion” bill in 2003. The bill outlaws the procedure intact dilation and extraction (D&X). Four years later the Supreme Court uphold the partial-birth abortion law 5-4 in what would be the first Federal restriction on an abortion method since the Roe v. Wade case. In Mississippi an initiative based on “Personhood” that outlawed all forms of abortion including extreme cases of rape and incest was rejected by the voters. On July of 2014 the only clinic offering abortion services in Mississippi was intended to be closed due to a new law imposed by the state requiring doctors to have admitting privileges to hospitals. Federal appeals blocked this from happening and have abortion end in the state. Now the state of Texas is looking at a similar situation were they have to close some their clinics that offer abortion services to low income women.
Moral Issue and Moral Standards

Is it right to have an abortion?



    • I believe in the right to have free choice.

    • I believe in the right to life.


Morally Responsible Parties

  • Women: They are responsible because they are the one who are pregnant and need to make a decision.

  • Fathers: They are responsible because they impregnated the mother who needs to make a choice.

  • Legislators: They are responsible for creating laws pertaining to abortion rights.

  • Doctors: They are responsible because they are the ones who provide information and perform the procedure.

Women


  • To have an abortion

  • Not to have an abortion


Facts and Assumptions about Abortion
-Is a fundamental right guarantee by the constitution.

-Reproductive choice empowers women by giving them control over their bodies.

-Access to legal abortion reduces the maternal mortality due to unsafe practices

- Modern procedures are safe and have no long lasting effects.

- Women have the option not to bring fetuses with abnormalities to full term.

- Women who are denied abortion tend to have more social problems, such as being unemployed, be on public welfare and become victims of domestic violence.

- Abortion reduces welfare cost to tax payers

- Abortion is justified as a means of population control

- A baby should not come into the world unwanted
Facts and Assumptions about not having an Abortion
-Abortion is murder

-Life begins at conception

-A fetus feels pain during the procedure

-Abortions cause psychological damage

-Abortion is not a form of contraception

-Abortion promotes a culture in which human life is disposable

-Abortion may lead to future medical problems for the mother

-Abortion eliminates the future societal contribution of the human being

-The original text of the Hippocratic Oath, taken by Doctors forbids abortion

-Women should be responsible for their actions


I believe in the right to life

Abortion is murder and the fetus is being denied the right to life. As the abortion is happening the fetus is feeling pain and a life is ending. The women might have the right to choose what to do with her body and she also has the right to not bring an unwanted baby into the world. And, although access to legal abortion reduces the maternal mortality, there is also the psychological damage caused by abortion.



Utilitarian Approach

To have an Abortion


Cost to Society

Benefits to Society

+ Medical Cost****

+ Financial Stability***

- Adoptions ***

-Responsibility***

+Welfare Recipients***

+Population Control***

+Psychological Stress***

- Child Abuse****

13 11

The total cost / benefit to society yields -2
To not have an Abortion


Cost to Society

Benefits to Society

+ Medical Bill Cost**

+ Health *****

+Welfare Recipients***

Responsibility**

+ Population***

+ Adoption Options**

8 9
The total cost/ benefit to society yields +1

The Utilitarian perspective chooses the alternative to not have an abortion because this alternative brings the most happiness to the most people and I conclude this because the benefits outweighs the cost it brings to society. Following the Utilitarian Calculus Benefits bring greater pleasure to society in whole. The pleasure of having good health, having taken responsibility and given others the option to adopt will last a long a time. There will be a low probability that a small chance of displeasure will occur with new responsibility and increment in welfare benefits in society, although they will not be long lasting. The benefits to society will bring pleasure before long. Pleasure brought into society will create more happiness overall. Pleasure cause to society bring no pain, therefore is better for everyone. Overall, more beings in society are happy.



The Justice Approach

To have an Abortion To not have an Abortion

Parties

Benefits

Burdens

Benefits

Burdens

Women

****

*

***

***

Fathers

***

*

**

***

Fetus (unborn Child)




*****

****

**

Doctors

***

**

***

**

Legislators

***

***

*

****

Following the Justice approach, the fetus (unborn child) is the least advantaged party in this issue, because he does not have a saying on the decision that is being made onto it. From the justice perspective the most ethical and fairest issue for the Fetus would be not to have an abortion. I conclude this because it will be protecting the rights of the fetus, since it cannot speak for on its own.


The Rights Approach
Human rights are the foundation for ethics in our society. Rights are not granted to human beings, but human beings are entitled to their own rights. As a society it is our duty to honor the rights entitled to people in our society.
Based on all parties involved in the issue of abortion the hierarchy of rights are as follows:


  • The right to life

  • The right to obtain medical health

  • The right to have freedom of choice

  • The right to privacy

  • The right to pursue happiness

The right to life is at the top of the hierarchy rights list because life is the outmost important right that every human being is entitled to.



Parties

To have an Abortion

Rights

To not have an Abortion

Rights

Women

Right to life, to obtain medical health, freedom of choice, privacy, pursue happiness

Right to life, to obtain medical health, freedom of choice, privacy, pursue happiness

Fathers

Right to life, to obtain medical health, privacy, pursue happiness

Right to life, to obtain medical health, privacy, pursue happiness

Fetus (Unborn Child)




Right to life, medical health, freedom of choice, privacy, to pursue happiness

Doctors

Right to Life, medical health, privacy,

Right to life, medical health, privacy, pursue happiness

Legislators

Right to life, medical health

Right to life, medical health, privacy, pursue happiness

Based on the rights perspective the alternative that best reflects the hierarchy of rights is to not have an abortion because the right to life is present the most for all the parties. It is our duty to protect the life of all human beings. Everyone involved in the issue of abortion has the right to live, be protected and, should not be deprived from life by another human being.


Conclusion
Abortion is a difficult issue that has been part of our society for many years and it is not an easy subject. I believe that everyone has the right to life, although I believe that women also have the right to freedom of choice and privacy. A women should be allow to chose what she wants to do with her body and how she does it should not concern anyone but herself. Having said this, I can say that the question in my moral dilemma: Is it right to have an abortion? Is a hard one to answer.
Life is precious and all human beings should cherish it. I believe in the right to life. Everyone in entitled to the right to live. Life begins at conception in the first four weeks after conception the embryo has developed a primitive brain and the spinal cord has appeared. The heart, muscles, and digestive tract begins to develop and by the end of the eight week the embryo has develop many body structures and its sense to touch begins to develop. By the end of the first trimester the fetus nervous system, organs, and muscles become organize and connected there is more behavioral capacities such as thumb sucking, opening the mouth and kicking occurs. It is around this time that women have an abortion when the fetus has become more viable. Women do have the right to freedom of choice and they can decide what is best for them but it is our duty to educate society about the importance the life holds within us. We cannot end the life of another human being especially if they cannot speak for themselves.
Looking at this issue from the Utilitarian perspective we can say that although women have the right to freedom of choice and privacy, not having an abortion brings greatest happiness to the whole society. The benefits of not having an abortion outweigh the costs. The cost of not having an abortion would be in increment in population but really how can that be of great impact to society. Overall, not having an abortion is the most responsible action that society can accomplish.
The justice perspective will take into account the benefits and burdens that the issue of abortion brings into society. Focusing in the justice approach not having an abortion is the most fair alternative to take because although the benefits and burdens are not completely even, they can be seen as the most fair from the least advantaged party that is the unborn child. From the moment of conception, “personhood” becomes the status of the zygote.
The Rights approach focuses in the hierarchy of rights and which one is the most ethical for the issue being presented. In this case the right to life is most important and it comes with to not have an abortion. The right to life is the most important because everyone should have the right to live and no one has the right to take away life. Choosing not to have an abortion gives the fetus the right to live since it cannot speak for itself.
In conclusion to not have an abortion would be the best approach from all three different ethical perspectives because it gives everyone the right to life.

Bibliography
Tyson, Peter. The Hippocratic Oath Today (PBS). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today.html

Middle Assyrian Law Code (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jewishchristianlit.com/Texts/ANElaws/midAssyrLaws.html

Aristotle, Politics (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0058:book=7:section=1335b&highlight=abortion
Scarlet Letters: Getting the History of Abortion and Contraception Right. (n.d.). Retrievedhttp://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/news/2013/08/08/71893/scarlet-letters-getting-the-history-of-abortion-and-contraception-right/
Phillips, R. (2011, November 9). Mississippi voters reject anti-abortion initiative. Retrieved http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/09/politics/mississippi-election/index.html
Wilson, J., & Mears, B. (2013, January 22). Before and after Roe v. Wade. Retrieved http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/22/health/roe-wade-abortion-timeline/
Robertson, C., & Eckholm, E. (2014, July 29). Judges Block Abortion Curb in Mississippi. Retrieved http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/us/mississippi-abortion-clinic-federal-court-blocks closing.html?module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=U.S.&action=keypress®ion=FixedLeft&pgtype=article
Fernandez, M. (2014, August 8). Out-of-State Clinic Is Central in Texas Abortion Law Fight. Retrieved http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/us/out-of-state-clinic-is-central-in-texas-abortion-law-fight.html

Abortion ProCon.org. (n.d.). Retrieved http://abortion.procon.org/







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