Since the Supreme Court made abortion a legal procedure in the United States over three decades ago, the issue of abortion has continued to elicit highly charged debate both in the political and social scenes (McCoy 45-50). In such a context, inflammatory anti-abortion versus pro-choice sentiments are inevitable, hence the need to use a rational approach in this crucial topic.
In this paper, I discuss the litigious issue of abortion on a moderate position. I argue that the act of abortion is morally wrong and problematic. However, minimal/slight moral permissibility of this act should be allowed especially during instances of need to restore the health of the mother.
The Moderate Position of Abortion
The moderate position on abortion is a mid-position that agrees to the moral permissibility of some abortions, but at the same time considering suffering and pain both on the part of the mother and fetus. Therefore, the moderate position regards the mother and fetus as having certain entitlements and rights.
It also recognizes that permissibility of abortion causes suffering to both the mother and fetus. In this sense, a moderate position considers the moral permissibility of some abortions while at the same time having a sense of loss of entitlements to the mother and fetus. In the moderate position, abortion is only indicated in the hardest instances e.g. abortion may be considered in cases where the life of the fetus greatly puts the life of the mother at risk (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
Why I Agree With the Moderate Position
A moderate position on abortion is a strong and comprehensive argument against the act of abortion, especially regarding issues of morality and permissibility. This is because philosophers have argued that a woman has duty to protect herself while at the same time having much consideration to the life of the fetus (the moral status of the fetus) (McCoy 45-50).
In this part, while I concur with the liberalist position that the life and the agency of a pregnant mother should take precedent over fetal life, such people must also bear the consideration that the life of a fetus is a potential human life and the act of aborting a fetus entails ending this life. Therefore in this context, I consider the right to life and other entitlements of the fetus as important discussions which should be engaged especially when addressing litigious issues of abortion (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
Since the conservative approach towards abortion strictly prohibits abortion, it denies the mother the rights and entitlements she should access, such as the right to life. A moderate position is an important position which I adopt because it prohibits the act of abortion, while giving a chance for slight/minimal permissibility where the life and entitlements of the woman have to be protected.
In this case, I adopt this position because I consider the act of abortion of a fetus which endangers the life of the mother as being morally permissible and therefore the moderate position on abortion is a more comprehensive solution and should be adopted. In addition and from a philosophical perspective, a mother who continues to carry a fetus which greatly endangers her life denies herself the ‘perfect duties’ which she should accord herself and her body (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
The moderate position regarding abortion is the best position I adopt because it does not set the bar too low regarding the permissibility abortion. This is because this position is considerate of the fetus as a potential human life which has rights and entitlements.
In this case, moderate positions on discussions of abortion prohibit approaches which tend to lie greatly towards permissibility while at the same time refuting conservative approaches which insists on absolute impermissibility of abortion. Therefore I consider this position the best which should e adopted as a societal approach to curb increased permissibility of the act or total impermissibility.
For instance, the argument by liberalists on this matter that abortion should be allowed in various circumstances and a wide range of moral justifications contravenes the right to life of the fetus as a potential human being. This is because in my perception, the liberal position sets the bar too low regarding the permissibility of the act of abortion e.g. the suggestion that abortion should be allowed in certain instances like maintaining the bodily integrity of the mother is ‘a bar too low to set’ regarding the permissibility of abortion.
In addition, philosophers e.g. McCoy have argued that a woman who aborts or considers an abortion just to maintain her twenty six inch waist denies the fetus the right to life and goes against the natural orientation which perceives women as having the natural and ethical desire to love, nurture and care for their children (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
Therefore in my argument, I settled on the moderate position because it does not set the bar too low regarding permissibility of abortions. In my opinion, a woman who aborts because effects of pregnancy and motherhood are incompatible with her life projects contravenes the rights to which the fetus is entitled e.g. the right to life.
Therefore, the moderate position is best to be adopted. For instance, in my view, it is morally permissible for women to have abortions in cases of great need to safeguard their life but such reasons propounded by liberalists such as rewarding hobbies, once-in-a-lifetime trips, and important careers are imperfect choices which should not be morally and legally permissible (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
The rights Ethical Approach
Therefore the moderate position which I adopt to argue the issue of abortion emanates from the rights ethical approach. In the moderate position, I argue that abortion should only be allowed for the hardest of indications e.g. safeguarding the health of the mother or a deformity of the fetus.
From the rights ethical approach, I have mentioned that the act of abortion is morally wrong and should be permissible only during hard indications. Since the fetus is a potential human life which has rights and entitlements, it should not be aborted unless strongly indicated.
Therefore, the most ethical choice for women is to carry the pregnancy to term, as aborting the child for reasons short of ‘hard indications’ is unethical and a disregard of the fetus as a potential human life which has a right to live. In addition, using this approach, the mother has an ethical obligation to the fetus as she knew that the act of sex which she got involved in would result to a pregnancy.
It is also natural and ethical for women to desire to love, nurture and care for their children, thus abortion is regarded as unethical unless indicated. Furthermore, the fetus is a potential human life with moral standing and complete with rights and entitlements. Thus aborting a fetus for reasons below the ‘hard indications’ bar is unethical, morally wrong and a contravention of the right of the fetus as a potential human life (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
How People Who Don’t Agree With the Moderate Position Might State Their Position
Since my argument in this paper lies in the moderate position, it is inevitable that it is likely to elicit debate in different scenes such as philosophical and social scenes. A conservative approach to the issue of abortion adopts a position of absolute impermissibility; hence such conservative positions should be moderated to adopt some extent of permissibility.
Similarly, the liberal approach should be moderated to adopt slight permissibility of abortion. Therefore, liberalists should not set their bar too low (regarding permissibility) and the conservatives too high (regarding impermissibility) (Shannon and Kockler 82-88; McCoy 45-50).
In the above paper, I have adopted the moderate position to explore the issue of abortion. I have also used the rights ethical approach to explore this topic. As abortion continues to raise heated debate in various parts of the world, the moderate position is the most comprehensive approach towards addressing issues of permissibility. This is because a mid-position considers the rights and entitlements of both the mother and fetus.
McCoy, Ronny. The Morality of Abortion, Coe College: Coe College Press, 2011. Print.
Shannon, Thomas, and Kockler Nicholas. An Introduction to Bioethics, Paulist: Paulist Press, 2009. Print.