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What is Abortion and is it Morally Permissible - Essay Example

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In order to determine the ‘rightness’ or the ‘wrongness’ of the issue of abortion, virtue ethics can frame the issue, but the questions becomes how to define what is virtue and by whose standards it is defined. In deciding how to discuss abortion, defining the morality of the procedure is dependent upon the personal morals of the individual as they are influenced by their beliefs systems concerning the value of the life within the womb. The effect in the UK as abortion was made legal was profound. After the Abortion Act of 1968 came into existence the first observable consequence was a dramatic drop in emergent medical care as a result of poorly executed and illegal abortions. The number of abortions performed in the first year in England, Wales, and Scotland numbered at 23,641, which rose to 54,819 in 1969 and 160,000 in 1972.1 Through an examination of the statistics, the numbers reveal that a great number of people have determined that the procedure has value to them and that the morality of having the procedure either is irrelevant or they are in support of abortion as a moral choice. In addition, the number of women dying each year from poorly executed illegal abortions between 1926 and 1935 was between 400 and 500 per year.2 From this perspective, legal abortion saves the lives of women who might otherwise seek an illegal procedure. The morality of abortion can be related to defining the meaning of the concept. From a social standpoint, however, the definition of abortion becomes much more complicated. Abortion is a cause, it is a crime, it is a political stance, and it is a perspective, all depending on the belief systems within which it is being considered. One perspective on the impact of abortion on gender relations is that it was a contributing factor to increased freedoms for women so that they could participate in the public sector, having jobs and conducting business on an equal basis to men. From another perspective, abortion has contributed to an increase in promiscuity which is based on the premise that pregnancy no longer must be a sign of immoral behaviour as the consequences to that behaviour can be eliminated.3 Thomson relates an example of how abortion can be viewed as a right for women. The parable that is used is based on the idea that a grown musician is in medical peril and the music association decides to attach the musician, through a tube, to another person in order to continue his life. Although the person has not given permission for the tube to be attached to save this person’s life, the removal of this tube will kill the musician. The moral question that Thomson poses is whether or not the person who is facilitating the life of the musician is morally obligated to continue to do so because cutting off the ties between them would kill the musician.4 Thomson is suggesting that the individual who is tied to the musician has a right to leave the situation as they were not given the option or choice in facilitating the continuation of the musician’s life. The morality involved is about choice. The right thing to do is dependent upon the choices that an individual makes about how they perceive their obligations within this world. A person who believes that the initial crime of being hooked up to another individual without permission is the moral parable that defines the situation will believe that abortion is a natural extension of individual rights and is morally acceptable. The decision to abort a foetus that will become a child that cannot be cared for appropriately or whose existence will irreparably damage the life of a woman may exert a sense of morality over ...Show more
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The definition of abortion is defined by social, political, and cultural parameters from which the act takes on issues of morality. Whether or not the act of abortion is morally permissible is a complicated question…
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What is Abortion and is it Morally Permissible
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