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Alana Powell
Dr. Guenzel
ENC 1102-0006
23 April 2013
Pro-life, Philosophical View, and Pro-choice: The Right Answer
After heavily investigating the pro-life versus pro-choice debate in American society, I
am being led to find new evidence in my research of the abortion concern in the United States.
The abortion issue primarily began in 1973 when the court case Roe versus Wade made abortion
legal in the United States. Before 1973 abortion was illegal in the United States with the
exception of New York and California, where still a plethora of boundaries were placed on
reasons for an abortion. Since the court decision in 1973, many individuals have been fighting
for the right to life, while others argue it is the woman’s body therefore it is her choice. While
researching the topic of abortion, I found that in today’s society many breakthroughs have been
occurring, such as the government paying more attention to the debate and developing
compromises for the future. According to an expert in the field, abortion is frequently discussed
in today’s government world however; there are countless issues in actually creating a solution
because of the huge disagreement. Pro-life and pro-choice activists both realize that there are
pros and cons to both sides of the debate (Grant).
Pungent debates over abortion have developed more passionately in recent years because
of the advancement of abortion methods and technology. Pro-life activists argue that it is human
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cruelty and murder; pro-choice activists argue that the fetus cannot be considered a human,
therefore can have no real rights. There is no clear end in sight for these fiery debates over who
is right and who is wrong. While conservatives and people affiliated with religion tend to be prolife, liberals and unreligious individuals tend to be pro-choice. Both sides continue to fight with
separate reasoning behind each viewpoint, making the conflict difficult to compromise. Speaking
of compromise, that may be the only way a solution is reached. Both sides must be willing to
compromise if anything is ever going to be accomplished in ending the debate. It is also
important to look at the philosophical perspective on the issue, for that outlook tends to bring a
moral rationale view to the table. After researching several different viewpoints on the subject, I
have found that all the viewpoints have quality reasoning backing their claims. When discussing
such a controversial subject, it is critical to thoroughly explain the three perspectives researched
in order to accurately illustrate why the pro-life viewpoint proved to be the most substantial
argument (Grant). Overall, after researching the pro-choice view, the pro-life view and the
philosophical view, it is clear that abortion should be illegalized.
To begin, the liberal perspective of pro-choice in the abortion debate has been around
since the mid 1900’s (Grant). To provide a general definition, pro-choice is the sponsor to
woman's right to be in charge of her own body, particularly her right to procure an abortion
procedure. When discussing the pro-choice viewpoint it is important to discuss their claims about
the subject matter as a whole. Pro-choice activists declare that human life does not start at
conception. For example, a former biology and geology professor, pro-choice activist Frank
Zindler argues “in order to be a human, a fetus must have a personality. Since it obviously lacks
a personality, its rights should in no way supersede those of a pregnant woman” (Zindler, 23). To
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provide some clarity, pro-choice supporters state that there is no wrong in procuring abortion
because the fetus is not a living human. It is also important to mention that pro-choice supporters
are not evil or cruel as some say, just simply have differing beliefs. To further explain, prochoice individuals also claim that abortion should remain a woman’s personal choice for quite a
few reasons. One main reason is the fact that the fetus develops inside the mothers own body.
Pro-choice expert George Regas states, “Abortion rights advocates argue that the fetus develops
inside the woman’s body and since the outcome of the pregnancy will profoundly affect the
woman’s life, abortion must remain a woman’s decision” (Regas, 52). To break down Regas’
statement, pro-choice individuals claim that because the fetus solely grows inside the mother’s
body, that it is one-hundred percent wrong to take away her rights and instead give them to
simply a group of cells.
Another reason pro-choice supporters argue abortion should remain a woman’s personal
choice is because they state abortion can be justified. For example, author Christopher Kaczor
states “…it is wrong to deny abortions to women with unwanted pregnancies. Having an
unwanted child can have a very detrimental impact on a woman’s life…unwanted children are
also more likely to suffer from parental abuse and other problems than wanted children”
(Kaczor, 124). To further evaluate, pro-choice supporters claim that forced unwanted
pregnancies are likely to end up physically and mentally harmful to the child and its mother,
therefore stating it is a better option to terminate the pregnancy all in all, than it is to risk
potential harm to the mother or child. Lastly, pro-choice activists claim that abortion is necessary
in rare cases such as rape, incest, congenital disorders in the fetus, and when the pregnancy is
harmful to the mother’s life. For example, pro-choice supporters claim if a woman is raped and
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in turn faces an unwanted pregnancy she should be able to terminate the pregnancy. She was
forced against her will and had no choice in the conception, and since life does not begin at
conception she should feel no remorse in ending the pregnancy. In regards to congenital
disorders in the fetus, pro-choice activists claim the mother should be able to terminate the
pregnancy. Raising and supporting a child with a disorder is a massive financial burden and
some people simply cannot afford it, and therefore should not be forced into carrying out the
pregnancy. Lastly, pro-choice supporters argue that no woman should be forced into a pregnancy
that is harmful to her body. All in all, abortion rights activists have a good deal of support in
regards to the claims of why abortion should not be illegalized.
While examining different perspectives in regards to the abortion debate, it is important
to look at issue from a philosophical stand point. To provide some background information,
philosophers tend to view situations and debates from a moral perspective, and in turn offer a
valuable point of view in the debate. Philosophers focus on what is morally sound instead of
what is appealing to them personally. When philosophers are going about discovering if abortion
is morally correct, they tend to ask questions based solely upon a moral standpoint. According to
philosophy professor Allison Jaggar, she first questions if embryos, zygotes, and fetuses obtain
moral worth and if so, how far does that worth take them? While it does depend on the
philosopher, the majority answer the question with a solid yes because according to Jaggar, as a
general rule philosophers argue any form of a living human has rights. Another set of questions
philosophers ask is “when, if ever, is it ethically permissible for an individual to seek or assist in
an abortion…and what factors are relevant to answering that question” (Jaggar, 121-123)? The
general philosophical answer to these questions is that abortion should only be procured in
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absolute mandatory cases such as rape or harmful to the mother, and even then other alternatives
such as adoption should be considered. For example, philosopher Charles Cozic makes a
powerful point by stating “There is no such thing as an unwanted child-there are only un-wanting
people among those who are born” (Cozic, 131). To further elaborate, Cozic is stating that
people tend to say that a mental disorder is a reason for aborting a child, but the truth of the
matter is that even though they do not want a child with a mental issue, many others would be
more than happy to accept one. In fact, in the year 2011 alone over 800,000 individuals were
looking to adopt a child no matter the mental or physical disability. With nearly one million
individuals seeking to adopt any child no matter the disability it may have, there is no reason that
any woman should terminate her pregnancy only due to a fetus’ congenital disorder. As stated
by Tooley, Philosophers tend to go by a case by case rule when it comes to abortions being
determined morally correct; this can be a good way of looking at the situation, but unfortunately
it is unrealistic. Overall, most everything in philosophy is based upon moral judgments, hence
why as a whole abortion is looked down upon. Tooley explains that from a philosophical
standpoint, abortion is seen as a decision made that has a healthy alternative, and philosophers
claim that adoption should be considered. All in all, philosophers provide a rational and informed
point of view in supporting finding the morally correct answer in regards to the abortion issue
(Tooley).
Lastly, the conservative pro-life perspective is a viewpoint that like the pro-choice view
has also been around since the middle 1900’s (Grant). A general definition of pro-life can be
described as supporting the authorized protection of human fetuses and embryos, particularly by
supporting the prohibition of abortion on the position that it is the seizing of a human life. Just
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like when discussing the pro-choice and philosophical standpoints, it is also vital to discuss the
pro-life claims about the subject matter as a whole. To begin, pro-life activists argue that human
life begins conception. To further explain, biologist Roy Avik states “there is one fact that no one
can deny: the life of biological human beings at conception” (Avik, 17). Coming from a
biologist, he is stating that there is absolutely no question from a scientific standpoint if life
begins at conception or not, because after extensive research it has been physically proven that it
does indeed (Avik, 18). To elaborate further, pro-life activists argue that abortion should not
remain a woman’s personal choice for several reasons. For example, pro-life expert George
Grant digs a little deeper into the debate by claiming “the freedom to choose abortion deprives
women of the experience of childbirth and mothering, and in the process snuffs out the lives of
their innocent babies” (Grant, 59). By arguing that the process of abortion kills innocent lives,
Grant makes the claim that women need to experience childbirth and mothering to have truly
lived. The fact is that since life was physically proven to begin at conception, abortion
technically is going against that fetus’ right to life completely. Also, according to the United
States constitution all individuals have a right to life, and by obtaining an abortion the
constitution is being violated. To continue, pro-life activists also declare that rape does not
justify an abortion. To further explain, Randy Alcorn, an expert in the pro-life field explains that
out of over one thousand abortions, only a mere three cite rape as the reason (Alcorn, 20).
Overall, after substantial research it is clear that the pro-life perspective has solid evidence and
proof supporting its claims, making the argument very strong and credible.
To conclude, it is clear that the pro-choice, philosophical, and pro-life perspectives all
have evidence and proof supporting their individual claims, but that the pro-life perspective has
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the most evidence supporting its own claim of the right to life by far. For every argument that the
pro-choice or philosophical perspective presents, the pro-life perspective has a science and fact
based rebuttal that provides the most solid grounds for their claim. After discussing such a
controversial subject, it was critical to thoroughly explain the three perspectives researched in
order to accurately illustrate why the pro-life viewpoint proved to be the most substantial
argument. Even though these three sides have different opinions, they must be willing to
compromise in order to move forward. A suggested compromise could be that women procuring
abortion must have serious grounds and if not, then adoption should be the legal answer. Overall,
after researching the pro-choice view, the pro-life view and the philosophical view, it is clear that
abortion should be illegalized.
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Alcorn, Randy C. ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah, 2000.
……….Print.
Cozic, Charles P., and Stacey L. Tipp. Abortion: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego,CA:
Greenhaven, 1991. Print.
Grant, George. Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-life Movement from the First Century
the Present. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991. Print.
Kaczor, Christopher Robert. The Ethics of Abortion: Women's Rights, Human Life, and the
Question of Justice. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.
George F. Regas, “A Priest on Abortion: Woman as the Proper Moral Agent,” Los Angeles Times August
………6, 1989.
Roy, Avik. "Pro-Choice and Pro-Life." NRO. National Review, 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.
Tooley, Michael, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine, and Allison M. Jaggar. Abortion Three
……….Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Frank R. Zindler, “An Acorn is Not an Oak Tree.” American Atheist, August 1985.
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