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The Morality Of Abortion: Practically Proven

1281 words - 5 pages

Abortion. The word alone summons controversy and unrest within normally civil conversation. Society has consistently examined and reexamined, debated and re-debated the morality of abortion until defined and perhaps hostile sides have formed. It is my intention to show that abortion within the first trimester of pregnancy is unequivocally morally justified, regardless of the means or consequences of the pregnancy. It is entirely morally permissible for a woman to have an abortion even when her pregnancy is not due to rape, carrying the fetus to term poses no unusual health risks to the mother, and the fetus is not known to be abnormal in any way. The reasons for such a thesis are all quite clear and obvious for any person to understand, while objections to it shall prove to be misplaced and simply erroneous. It is the status of the embryo in the first trimester that is the basic issue that cannot be sidestepped; it remains perhaps the most important point that must be addressed. We must decide whether the zygote-embryo-fetus that is growing inside a mother's womb is living, human, a person, and deserving of human rights. Only after we have examined these issues will we be able to decree the morality of abortion. It is important and necessary to note that an embryo is a living thing. Indeed, "life begins at conception," as so many pro-lifers hastily and joyously exclaim. This embryo, this clump of cells, is "a biological mechanism that converts nutrients and oxygen into energy that causes its cells to divide, multiply, and grow". Of course, it's alive; as is any human organ, i.e. the heart, a kidney. An amoeba is just as much a living thing under this definition. A single-cell amoeba also converts nutrients and oxygen into biological energy that causes its cells to divide, multiply and grow. It also contains a full set of its own DNA. It shares everything in common with a human zygote except that it is not a potential person, but we would never defend its human rights based solely on that fact. At this point, we must differentiate a living thing from an organism. A living being must fulfill a certain criteria in order to be considered an organism. An organism must be able to obtain nutrients from its environment, grow, respond to stimuli - all of which are factors that a human embryo does indeed exhibit. However, an organism must be, by definition, autonomous, able to survive on its own. A human, a tree, even the poor amoeba fulfill all the criteria necessary for organism qualification. Though an embryo is living, it is not an organism. Like any organ (i.e. a kidney) within the human body, the embryo still converts nutrients and oxygen into energy, however it is entirely physically dependent on another being. Naysayers would insist fetal dependence cannot be used as an issue in the abortion debate. They assert that even after birth, and for years to come, a child is still dependent on its mother, its father, and those...

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