Abortion: When is it morally right or wrong to end the life of a fetus?

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Of all the issues that have invited controversy over the years, the moral debate regarding the right to end a fetus' life has easily been one of the most divisive and tempestuous. The very fact that a human life is involved makes it all the more sensitive.


If one was to speak in purely biological terms, life is created the moment conception takes place between the male and female gametes. But it is way more complicated than that. The development of the fetus within the womb is an extremely complicated process, characterized by a number of prominent events. The foremost, is obviously fertilization which is marked by the union of the male and female gametes, forming the embryo. The next significant event is implantation, when the embryo gets implanted in the mother's uterus. While both of these events can easily be detected in the human body, critics often argue that their timing is as arbitrary as any other date. They theorize that till the stage of implantation, the embryo is not "human" enough, and thus abortion is not condemnable. The major discerning voices against this notion comes from religious followers, which has been discussed in detail later. Another group of people believe "quickening" to be the stage when the fetus can be termed "human" enough. Quickening refers to the movement of the fetus inside the womb. Interestingly, this idea was supported by a Christian theologian, St. Augustine, who made a distinction between embryo inanimatus, not yet endowed with a soul, and embryo animatus, endowed with a soul.The debate invariably extends to the issue of abortion. ...
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