Abortion: The Rights of the Fetus, Mother and Father

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Abortion: The Rights of the Fetus, Mother and Father

Introduction

Increased societal dynamism has contributed significantly to an emergence of diverse social and ethical concerns that require utmost attention. While some seek to uphold the fundamental moral values and virtues that enhance societal cohesion and welfare, some contravene these vital social values and hence culminate in conflicts. One of the issues that have been compounded by various controversies since its introduction in the social sphere pertains to abortion. This refers to the act of removing a fetus from the body of its mother. This process compromises the life of the fetus and in most instances; it leads to its death. The arguments surrounding this issue essentially address the infringement upon the rights of the affected individuals. It is against this background that this paper intrinsically evaluates the abortion conception in light of the rights of the fetus, the mother and the father.

Certainly, the fetus in this respect is the most affected because of the fact that its life is terminated. From a legal point of view, Hull and Hoffer (2001) argue that the fetus does not have any rights to survive. This is because of the fact that the human rights to life are usually accorded at birth. Likewise, proponents of abortion employ the concept of personhood to argue in support of this practice. In this respect, McMahan (2002) asserts that the fetus does not have a right to live because it does not qualify to be a human person. Rather; it is a human being that has a potential to live. Qualities that are used as a benchmark to define human persons include autonomy, consciousness, salience and rationality. Notably, the fetus does not satisfy this criterion and therefore can not be accorded similar rights to life as other humans.

However, some philosophical studies indicate that fetuses need to be accorded a right to life once they develop their identity (Dean, 2004). Essentially, this occurs at the age of six months and hence it is posited that mothers conducting abortions after six months need to be convicted of murder. Religious studies on the other hand believe that life begins at conception. Abortion from this point of view is considered a violation of vital religious values and virtues that seek to protect and enhance human life. Persons practicing this are considered to have contravened the religious commandments that indicate that one should not kill.

From an ethical view point, abortion is an immoral act because of the act that it deprives a potential human a fundamental right to live. In this respect, it is argued that the fact that the fetuses have the ability to experience feelings of pain and suffering implies that hey have a right to live. The value of human life in such instances is compromised as the fetuses are deprived of a chance to participate actively in this. At this point, Dean (2004) maintains that from a utilitarian point of view, the practice is immoral because of the detrimental implications to the value of human life.

With respect to the rights of the mother, Toosley (2009) asserts that regardless of the fact that the fetus might have rights, it should be acknowledged that the mother also has fundamental rights to her body. She has the right to control her body and the sole decision with regard to whether to undertake abortion or not depends on her. It is indicated that the fetus does not have any right to live in the womb of the mother. Rather; it is only permitted to stay in this for nine months by the mother. This permission is perceived to be liable to revocation whenever.............


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