Explore some of the arguments in favour of abortion

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Explore some of the arguments in favour of abortion

Abortion, the premature expulsing of an unborn child from the womb, is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. On one side of the argument there is the pro-choice community who believe that abortion should be available to all women, and on the other there is the pro-life community who believe that it is the murder of an innocent human. Deciding what side is correct depends on an individual’s religious, scientific and ethical views. Key issues include the moral status of the unborn child, and whether its rights outweigh the mother’s. In examining the reasons why people support abortion, a good place to start is the human rights of the mother.

Abortion is a situation of conflicting rights – many that are pro-choice believe that the rights of the mother are more important than the rights of the child. To quote Margaret Sanger, “No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.” Proponents of situation ethics especially would believe that we should look at the circumstances behind an abortion, not the morality of the act. The Church of England's position that abortion is evil but may be the 'lesser of two evils' is consistent with a situationist approach. Difficult circumstances include when a woman has been raped. There are traumatic and involuntary circumstances surrounding the conception and the continuance of this unwanted pregnancy may well continue the trauma for the mother and her existing family. The foetus should have no claim on the woman unless the woman has consented fully to being pregnant. Another circumstance where a proponent of situation ethics would support abortion is if the mother’s life is at risk – surely it is better to save one life than lose two.
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Furthermore, the Methodist Church of Ireland released a document in 2012 that outlines their support for abortion in some circumstances: when the mother’s life is at risk; when her mental or physical health is at risk; in cases of rape and incest and fatal foetal abnormalities. They believe that their view is the most compassionate towards both the mother and child. They do, however, emphasise that they are against abortion on demand. The crux of the document is that while Christians may not agree with abortion, they should respect the separation of church and state when it comes ...

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