Abortion: A Controversial Issue

Abortion: A Controversial Issue

For years, abortion has been an extremely controversial subject. One important aspect of the controversy is whether a woman should be permitted by law to have an abortion and, if so, under what circumstances. Another is whether, and to what extent laws should protect the unborn. People who wish to legally limit or forbid abortions describe themselves as pro–life. Those who believe that a woman should have the right to have an abortion may refer to themselves as pro–choice.

Arguments against abortion are based on the belief that an abortion is the unjusti..ed killing of an unborn child. Most people who oppose abortion believe that human life begins when a sperm fertilises an egg. Another argument against abortion is that laws
allowing it on demand will increase irresponsible pregnancies and lead to disrespect for human life. The Roman Catholic Church is a chief opponent of abortion. Conservative branches of other religions also oppose abortion.

Many people approve of abortion under certain circumstance. Some approve of abortion if a woman’s life or health is endangered by her pregnancy. Others recommend bortion when there is danger that the child will be born with a serious mental or physical
defect. They also approve of abortion when pregnancy has resulted from rape or incest.

Many people who think that a woman should have the right to choose to have an abortion distinguish between human life and personhood. They argue that personhood implies both the capacity for self-conscious thought and acceptance as a member of a social community. These people believe a fetus is not a person and is thus not entitled to rights normally given to a person. Such pro–choice supporters agree with the view that birth represents the beginning of personhood.

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