Abortion as level

The arguement


Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy.

Arguments against abortion

People who believe abortion is morally wrong use arguments like the following.

Killing people is wrong

  • killing innocent human beings is wrong
  • human life begins at conception
  • therefore the foetus is an innocent human being
  • therefore killing the foetus is wrong
  • therefore abortion is always wrong
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A foetus is a person

  • A foetus has a unique genetic code
  • A foetus is a unique individual

Killing potential people is wrong

  • it is wrong to destroy potential human life
  • from conception onwards the foetus is a potential human being
  • therefore it is wrong to destroy the foetus
  • therefore abortion is always wrong
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Killing beings with 'a future like ours' is wrong

  • it is wrong to kill beings that would have a future like ours if they lived
  • in most cases the foetus, if not aborted, would have a future like ours
  • it is wrong to kill such a foetus
  • therefore abortion is usually wrong

Causing pain is wrong

  • it is wrong to cause pain and suffering
  • a foetus is sufficiently developed to feel pain by 18 weeks
  • therefore it is wrong to carry out an abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy
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for abortion

The foetus is not necessarily a 'person' with the right to live

  • a collection of human cells does not have the right to live just because it is of the human species
    • otherwise amputating a limb would be murder
  • a collection of human cells only has the right to live by virtue of certain facts
  • these are either:
    • it has reached a particular stage of development that makes it a moral 'person'
    • it possesses certain properties that make it a moral 'person'

It is not always wrong to end the life of an innocent person

  • there are many cases where we have to choose which of two innocent people will live and which will die:
    • conjoined twins, where the operation to separate them may cause one twin to die
    • mountaineering, when one person can only save their own life by cutting the rope supporting a fallen colleague
    • the case of a woman who had to abandon one of her children to save the other
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for abortion

'Potential human beings' don't have rights

  • only 'actual' human beings have rights

The pregnant woman has moral rights too

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