Abortion as an Ethical Issue
In our everyday lives, we have to deal with a variety of different ethical issues. We as individuals with our different thought processes deal and view with these issues in different ways. Abortion is one of the most controversial ethical issues within the health care profession. Abortion is a topic that can cause heated ethical discussions within the healthcare community. Abortion contains legal and ethical issue. Abortion mean ending a pregnancy before the fetus (unborn child) can live independently outside the mother. An induced or “therapeutic” abortion is caused deliberately in order to end the pregnancy.
The practice of abortion is legal in the United States. Abortion law has many sources-constitutions, legislative statues, administrative regulations, and court decisions. The foundation of abortion law is the United States Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court (McBride, 2008). Constitutional law does not directly regulate abortion, but it sets limits on the powers of the states and the federal government to regulate abortion. The authority to regulate abortion has been reserved to the states by the Constitution because Article I, which covers the legislative branch.
This does not give Congress explicit authority to regulate medical practice. Nonetheless, Congress does get involved in abortion policy through its power to spend money and regulate interstate commerce (McBride, 2008). The Court has established this constitutional law of abortion through a series of decision, called case law, especially Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. States do not have constitutional authority to prohibit the medical practice of abortion before the fetus is viable; any laws that make abortion criminal before viability would be unconstitutional.
After viability, that is, when an unborn child is able to live on its own outside the mother, state governments have the authority, but not the obligation, to prohibit abortion, except when medical judgment decides that abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother (McBride, 2008). This means that abortion is legal in the United States without condition before the fetus is viable. After viability, abortion is prohibited in some but not all states except when the health or life of the mother is in danger. Roe v. Wade gave strength to a woman’s right to privacy in the context of matters relating to he own body (Pozgar, 2008).
This would include how a pregnancy would end. The Supreme Court also has recognized the interest of the states in protection potential life and has attempted to spell out the extent to which the states may regulate and even prohibit abortions. In Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court held the Texas penal abortion law unconstitutional, stating this: “State criminal abortion statutes…that except from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved is violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Pozgar, 2008).
With Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court went on to describe what regulatory measures a state lawfully may perform during the three stages of pregnancy. In the companion decisions, Doe v. Bolton, where the Court considered a constitutional attack on the Georgia abortion statute, further restrictions were placed on state regulation of the procedure. The provisions of the Georgia statute establishing residency requirements for women seeking abortions and requiring that the procedure be performed in a hospital accredited by The Joint Commission were declared constitutionally invalid (Pozgar, 2008).
In the case law Planned Parenthood v. Casey the Supreme court affirmed Pennsylvania law restricting a woman’s right to abortion. The Court was one vote shy of overturning Roe v Wade. The Supreme Court ruling, as enunciated in Roe v. Wade reaffirmed: The constitutional right of women to have an abortion before viability of the fetus, as first enunciated in Roe v. Wade. The state’s power to restrict abortions after fetal viability so long as the law contains exceptions for pregnancies that endanger a woman’s life or health.
The principle that the state has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus. About three years ago, a difficult situation presented itself upon me. I was sitting in the doctor’s office six weeks after giving birth to my first-born. I was there to get my Mirena® birth control. The doctor walks in and asks me if it could be possible that I was pregnant. I told her no I received birth control Depo-Provera® right before being discharged from the hospital.
The doctor then says well let me have my nurse do a blood test so that we can know for sure, and make sure it’s not just a chemical pregnancy. A couple of days passed and I return to the doctor’s office to receive my results. My doctor tells me what I had been dreading. I was pregnant again with our second child. I went home with my newborn and I cried until my husband came home from work. I cried because this news was much unexpected. We had carefully planned the timing for our first-born. We were in a perfect financial situation to be able to commit to one child.
Two infants would really be pushing our financial limits. I was thinking how unfair this was. I had taken every precaution to ensure that I would not get pregnant, but I somehow ended up pregnant. When my husband came home that afternoon I was still crying, and I explained the whole situation to him. My husband was overjoyed at the news of having another child. I was confused by his emotions because I thought he would be feeling overwhelmed as I was. After I told my husband, I also told him that I was planning to get an abortion. He wanted to know the reasoning behind my decision.
I told him that we were only financially equipped for one child, but two children would cause a financial burden. I refused to bring a child into this world knowing that I could not financially take care of that child. I know that people are quick to say why not give the child up for adoption. Anyone who can say that I know they have never experienced a pregnancy before. Could you imagine the emotional distress of having to give up a child that you have carried around and nurtured from almost ten months? You would also be giving your child up to a couple that you would probably only get to see after passing the baby along.
Also, imagine the emotional aspects of the child. The child would be thinking about how their birth parents were able to give them away. My husband and I talked over the financial aspect over it, and decided with help from various family members that we could survive. We would just have to make sacrifices within our everyday lives. During my sonogram appointment when I was four months pregnant I received another dose of bad news. At first the doctor saw what he thought were cysts on the brain. The doctor then told me that I should terminate the pregnancy because of the difficult life the child was about to go through.
I thought long and hard about what the doctor was saying. I felt like I had a strong support system that would help me get through any obstacle that life throws my way. Finally, the birth of my youngest takes place, and she was diagnosed with Lissencephaly. Lissencephaly is the condition of having a smooth cerebrum without convolutions(Merriam-Webster). Before we were discharged from the hospital, my husband and I were told to take her home, and treat her as if she is normal, and not to expect her to live past three months old. My daughter just had her third birthday May 5.
This is why I have a deontology view on abortion. The deontology view is compatible to the abortion pro-choice decision. Utilitarianism really does not have a lot to say on this issue because there are too many other issues tied into the ethical issue. They would probably have arguments about if the fetus is a person or even if someone has the right to determine what goes on in their own body. They would also argue about if it were okay to kill a baby why not an adult. In my opinion, these are two different topics. We would assume through virtue ethics that killing a human adult is wrong.
Don’t get me wrong killing an adult human is wrong because that is life that has already been birthed, and established. Abortion should be a choice that we are able to make on our own. This is my body I should be able to freely decide what to do with it. We are able to freely tattoo and pierce our bodies without any type of interference from the government. So why can I not make a decision to end a pregnancy that I carefully tried to avoid. I also feel that abortion when done early on in the pregnancy would not cause any harm to the fetus.
According to pregnancy. rg a fetuses nervous system does not develop until after five weeks into the pregnancy. After that period the baby has already began to develop major organs and the nervous system. An egoist view on abortion would be based on one question. According to socyberty. com, an egoist would focus on what will be in her best interest. This would not mean the woman is selfish or self-centered. For example, maybe the women would be in a predicament where she would be a single mom. On the other hand, maybe she has not emotional of financial support to help er care for the child. In her case, her best interest would be to abort the child because it is in her best interest.
Egoism states that everyone should act in her or her own self interest, regardless of the interest of others, unless their interest also serve as hers(http://socyberty. com/issues/abortion-an-ethical-analysis/). With the abortion this women can now complete her education. Others might argue that she could have just gotten a job, and still have been able to attend school. When making decisions you need to think of every possible scenario.
What is there is a complication early in the pregnancy that requires complete bed rest or hospitalization. If this were to happen, where would her income come from? She would have to drop out of school. She would then have six months to get back into school or she would have to begin the repayment of her student loans. How can she do any of this without financial support? There are several ethical views on abortion. All the different views would explain why or why not to have an abortion. Abortion can be a controversial ethical topic. No one person will ever have the same stance on the topic. It is one of those topics when you just have to agree to disagree. You will just have to respect and listen to the opinions that others have on this ethical issue.