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Historical Information
Abortion Terminology
Critique Section
The Ethical Question


The Human Argument (For / Against)

Personally, I find both of these arguments to be ludicrous. It is undeniable that the fetus or unborn child is a human being; a quick DNA test proves this. The argument that many pro-abortionists use in this situation is virtually the same as the one they use when debating a fetus' status as a person. In my opinion, many times, pro-abortionists confuse the word "human" with "person," and so base their arguments on this. All-in-all, I don't think the humane status of a fetus is a debatable subject, as it can be proved that the fetus is a human being.

The Person Argument (For / Against)

I consider this question to be what abortion revolves largely around. Abortion revolves widely around the question, "Is abortion murder?" The answer to this question varies depending on who you ask, but let us take a stance on the matter to better explain the topic.

"Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being. Therefore, killing the unborn child consists of killing another human being, and therefore is murder."

A common counter-argument would be:

"Technically, that is true. But how can one even tell if the fetus can feel the pain? If one cannot yet feel the pain and agony of death, why should we consider aborting it murder?"

At this point, a debate about both sides' views on a person are brought out, which raises an important question. When does the fetus become a person? To answer this question, we would have to ask another question: What is a person? This is the question from which abortion stems from. Does a fetus become a person upon being conceived, or only after it has left the womb and has become a completely independent being?

It is very interesting to see the different ways as to how participants in debates can interpret personhood to twist the argument in their favor. In its entirety, using personhood is more of a persuasive manner of debating combined with a bit of corrupt logic. No one can place an indisputable line in time and explain to everyone where personhood begins. Therefore, one can only formulate opinions on when personhood begins. These opinions are what help a person formulate their own opinion on abortion.

An argument I am not particularly fond of would be the following: "A human can only be considered to be a person when it can finally think for itself." If this so called fact were used as a basic means of deciding when an abortion may or may not take place, then, judging by this person's standards, it should be perfectly legal to kill a child before the age of two. After all, it is common knowledge that the farthest any human can recall a memory is to the age of two; anything before that time frame tends to be non-existent in their minds. Therefore, it can be assumed that one cannot think for itself before the age of two (since they have no recollection of anything that happened before then), and can therefore be killed without consequence of conviction of murder. This is, of course, going out on an extreme; however, it is still a valid argument, and a simple technicality destroys.

The argument that life begins at conception, and therefore a human being attains personhood at conception, is another interesting one. Many Christians believe that we were all put on this earth for a reason, and that we were all conceived for a reason; therefore fulfilling the statement that "we are all God's children."

However, some would even go to the extent to believe that miscarriages occur for a reason. Therefore, how can one know what a fetus' life will turn out to be? The only way to find out would be to let it live; otherwise, you are eliminating a potential life form. This was what I meant that "personhood" is used in a persuasive manner: the only way to determine that we were sent here for an actual purpose is to live out our lives. Therefore, by this reasoning, of course abortion should be made illegal.

My own personal opinion is that right-wingers believe that being considered to be a human is the same thing as being considered to be a person – you cannot be one without the other. It does seem logical depending on the importance you place on personhood. Because the value of a potential life is much higher for anti-abortionists than for pro-abortionists, it can be understood why such little emphasis is placed on personhood when debating on the anti-abortionist view.

Likewise, the argument that a human being only receives the status of personhood after birth also roused my curiosity. If a sperm enters the ovum and eventually creates a human being, why should it matter if the child is considered a person or not? This is what abortion is about. A woman should have full rights to her body, say pro-abortionists, and the fact that they consider the fetus to not be a person until actually born strengthens their argument.

I found it quite clever that a fetus’ status coincides with the beliefs of the person. And since every argument is based off the fetus’ status, almost every argument can turn out to be a stalemate ("The fetus is not a person!" followed by, "No, the unborn child is a person!").

Unless one changes their opinion on the status of a fetus – or ignores the status, which is highly unlikely - they will never change their opinion on abortion. And since few people change their opinions on personhood, the arguments and debates about abortion will never end.

It is, however, an interesting and researchable topic as to how one interprets the life of a fetus; some hold it on par with their own lives, whereas others wouldn’t mind dispensing of it. These are both extremely different views on life, virtually on opposite ends of the scale of life, and so I found that to be a notable ideology. All in all, personhood is what decides a participant’s stance on abortion. The more one cares for the life of a fetus, the more one would dislike abortion. The opposite is also true.

The Murder Argument (For / Against)

To begin, I would have to say that I, personally, do not believe religion should play a role in deciding the fate of an unborn child's life. My reasoning for this would be the situation where, if an atheist woman requests an abortion and is denied one, should the doctor denying it say that it was due to God's influence? Not everyone believes in the same God, nor is everyone a member of the same religion. Therefore, I would say that, when debating abortion, one should keep their faith separate. The various churches can have whatever stance they wish on abortion, but they should not use their God's powers and beliefs as a basis for their arguments.

Aside from that, it is interesting to read up on the various arguments as to whether or not abortion is actual murder. It all relates to the previous question asked: "Is the unborn child / fetus a person?" Murder has been defined as the "unlawful killing of one human being by another." Therefore, technically, killing a fetus should be considered murder, as they are a human being.

However, some would go to the extreme extent to say that the previous definition for murder should not be taken into consideration when deciding the laws for or against abortion. After all, a human hair follicle contains the exact same DNA as a human fetus. They would compare aborting the fetus to losing your hair. Therefore, murder should be defined as the "unlawful killing of one person by another."

I found it very difficult to understand how one person can compare a fetus to a human life, whereas another person can compare a fetus to a hair follicle. A person and a hair follicle have two completely different meanings in life, and therefore, are not relative at all (to each other).

Therefore, let us analyze both arguments. When saying that the fetus is on the same level as any other human being, it sounds right. After all, a human being was once a fetus; the only difference is that they were allowed to gestate and grow. Here is where I believe one's morals would affect a belief. The woman should either have full rights to her body during pregnancy, or less rights to her body during pregnancy. When considering both of the aforementioned statements, it seems as though we, as "people," are moving backward in time, to when a certain person's life meant more than another person's life. If the woman was granted full rights to her body, it would mean that her own personal needs – not necessarily her life – would mean more than that of the fetus'. However, if we assume that the fetus is a person and cannot be aborted, than we are placing the fetus' life over the life of the woman.

Therefore, in my opinion, when looking at the consequences to both situations listed above. We can make the assumption that deciding as to whether or not an abortion is murder would lead us into an endless loop of discussing human rights. Should a woman be granted complete rights to her body, giving her control over the fate of another dependent human life? Or should she be granted rights up to the point where she cannot control the unborn baby's life? The argument is an entire loop because, depending on how you look at it, choosing one side over the other would mean a loss in the freedom of a human either way.

The Availability Argument (For / Against)

The availability arguments are very hard to critique, as they are based purely on bias and morals. It is more of an understandable argument as to why someone would be for or against the availability of abortions.

When making an argument that is for the availability of abortions, I find myself somewhat agreeing with what they say. It does seem logical that making abortions widely available would decrease the amount of illegal abortions performed. However, an issue I have with this is the cost of an abortion. An average approximate cost for a legal abortion would be somewhere between four to five thousand dollars (in Canadian currency). Therefore, would the increased availability of abortions necessarily make a difference in the amount of illegal abortions performed?

The "using abortion as birth control" argument seems to be a bit extreme, considering the previously stated price tag placed on a legal abortion. Besides that, there are several psychological side effects to abortions that would actually prevent someone from considering abortion a s a method of birth control. The argument makes it sound as though a woman having an abortion cares very little for the fetus inside her; however, this is not (always) the case. Many times, a woman may feel psychological side ffects and may, in extreme cases, lose the ability to work because of it. Therefore, can abortion really be considered a method of birth control?