Ctrl + Z Pregnancy: Can it really be Undone?

On the Argument of Forestalling the Worldwide Prevalence of Infanticide

To argue whether or not abortion is ethical, moral, acceptable or not in the currently liberated state of the human society remains one of the biggest and seemingly unending moral battles and disputes. A lot of conservatives are maintaining a strict attitude and response about abortion, while a lot of liberal minds today are pushing for its legalization. After all the war of words and principles, where does the world really stand in this battle? Will it allow such an act? Or will it go against it? Is Abortion murder? Is it a crime against life? In this paper, I will support the premise that although most arguments focus their premises on the conflict about whether life begins outside the womb or inside in order to consider abortion as murder, the mere fact or removing the chance of a premature individual to walk the earth and experience life already presents a prejudicial and undesirable practice which goes against the ethical, moral, and spiritual laws and norms.

Looking back at the earliest causes of infanticide or abortion in past cultures, one may discover that this act was based from deeper underlying cultural and societal reasons such as gender biases, poor economy, and overpopulation. In ancient Arab societies for instance, sexism was very prevalent, and women were seen as weak, undesirable members of the society who are relying on their families and male spouses to survive (Smith, 2008). This was the main reason for female infanticide during that time in the Arab communities. Likewise, early life in China and India was also plagued with female infanticide due to the prevalence of strong gender biases that favor men over women (Smith, 2008). These countries were known to have poor economies; and since women that time tend to grow up as breeders alone, they were seen as non-participative members of the society when it comes to economic survival. Therefore, society chose to kill off young women at birth and even before birth when they are forecasted to have that gender. This historical information provides some light regarding serious and deeper reasons underlying the act of abortion; however, these reasons alone do not appear to be strong grounds of arguing that abortion is acceptable.

People from varied points of view about the issue would often associate abortion to the terms like, unwanted pregnancy, fetus, death, and miscarriage that could basically provide a literal overview of what abortion is as a societal dilemma. However, in talking about its definition in a legitimate and widely accepted sense, it is a completely different story. Legally, abortion is defined as “an untimely delivery voluntary procured with intent to destroy the fetus” (Potts, Diggory & Peel, 1977 p. 21). In simpler terms, abortion would mean the intentional termination of a premature individual inside a woman’s womb. In a harsher term, it is the killing of a developing human being during pregnancy.This is usually where the pro-life arguments center which is understandable since abortion largely involves and affect life. Apparently, the association of the term, fetal death brings more interpretations from conflicting parties. These parties work on creating a standard category or definition as to where life starts. The problematic reality however is that, different parties in different countries have conflicting categories from where to base the life of a premature individual. Some base it on the length of gestation, some base it on the first manifestation of heart beat, while some base it on the fetal weight (Potts, Diggory & Peel, 1977). What this implies is that the definition of abortion will always follow the context of the angle these opposing parties are trying to protect or promote. However, while the varying perspectives argue on a standard definition of abortion, its types are rather standard. As compared to the earlier ways of infanticide, the modern methods of abortion were said to be much safer to the mother. The first type is Surgical Abortion, which is usually applied to cases that cannot go through medications, and must be practiced by licensed medical practitioners in countries where it is considered legal. Medical Abortionon the other only requires the intake of a pill to induce a miscarriage (American Pregnancy Association, 2007). In countries where abortion is honoured, these methods are easily available for women. In some places, abortion clinics even have the liberty to post ads in public places and even in television and print. This is regardless of the reality that in other parts of the world, strong moral convictions are arguing that abortion is murder.Ethically speaking, regardless of the seemingly endless questions and counterarguments, the bottom line is that abortion involves the termination of a premature life. This reality alone makes everything else in the context of this debate a lighter argument.

The premise of whether a life is being terminated in the act of abortion or not is the center of the argument whether the act is a form of further. One of the most common pro-choice arguments would claim that life starts upon delivery of a baby and upon his or her first breath. However, deeper study and exploration of pro-life activists regarding this claim apparently show that life starts in the womb – specifically from the simple, almost microscopic developing cell people know as the zygote. In Mississippi, a group of pro-life advocates gathered and organized a movement that will fight for the right of the zygote in the same level as the right of a mature individual (Blackmun, 1973 as cited in Burleigh, 2011).They were arguing that the zygote regardless of its minute size and premature features is already a person who holds the right to live as what a mature individual has. This is the reason the movement was then called, The Personhood Movement of Mississippi. The rally was believed to be a great leap when it comes to the endless dispute regarding the legality of abortion in the United States. However, most experts believe that this does not promise the ultimate abolition of abortion (Eckholm, 2001) and that the arguments must still base on moral, ethical and even spiritual premises to provide a stronger and more promising defense. A person’s dependence to religion and spirituality may understandably vary in the context of the argument; however, for the sake of discussion one of the most popular and commonly discussed religious perspectives is that of Christianity. There is a direct spiritual pronouncement that God Himself made about a child inside the woman’s womb as being consistent of life and soul as Blackburn cites a passage from Hymn 139:13-16. However, the author also notes that although there is no passage from the Bible which directly counters abortion as a concept people know today, the Holy Scripture clearly refers to children recurrently as gifts and precious blessings from the Lord. These arguments may not present an agreeable premise considering people’s varying religious beliefs. However this alone is a strong disagreement to implied arguments of pro-choice advocates that a child in a woman’s womb is still and lifeless. Today, abortion remains prevalent due to its accessibility as an option for women who would like to escape the chance and responsibility of becoming a mother. The idea has been relentlessly opened to public awareness as a procedure that would easily and painlessly remove a premature human being inside a woman’s womb. This has continually urged ethical questions. Liberal minds would argue, but the statistics and real life surveys and interviews regarding the real detriments brought by abortion can never hide the reality.

Though arguments of the pro-choice movement often involve supposed acceptable situations that call for abortion, the effects of such procedure to women provide considerable basis for it to be banned. First of all, the physical trauma which a woman goes through from this process is substantial. Lee reports that this is a usual angle being blurred out by pro-choice activists. However, based from the author’s studies, the trauma from abortion is way beyond the measure of grief and regret (Lee, 2004). Lee argues that the physical pain and the actual physical torture that a woman experiences is way worse than fear and doubt. Aside from physical detriments, most experts also report psychological risks as one of the most significant perils of abortion. MariAnna adds that abortion may in some extend desensitize a woman from the sense of compassion especially toward a child in her womb. The author cites a woman quotes from her collection of real stories about abortion to say, “I didn’t feel guilty or anything. It was so weird” (2002, p. 117). These effects are not simple assumptions.These observations were based from complex scientific studies and surveys, that expert conduct in order to have a complete picture of how abortion affects a woman’s life. And apparently, even rational science researches speak of the dreadfulness of abortion causes (Lee, 2004; MariAnna, 2002).

Abortion can be performed based on the pervasive liberal arguments in the contemporary society or in contravention to the conservatives whose arguments are based on the premise that life begins at conception. However, the question of its ethics surrounding it is not a debate that will come to an end any time soon.  Perhaps a debating methodology that would change the minds of either pro-choice and anti abortion is not anything that can be conceptualized any time soon. On either side there seems to be strong points of arguments for the position taken on abortion. One important nexus in these debates is that the pro-choice side seemingly is tending not appear bigger than life itself by positing that there are conditions that should be certified for a woman to actually consider an abortion as a solution to terminate a pregnancy.

On the other side Schuster (2005) concluded from a study conducted in Cameroon in 2005 that women in that country who could procure illegal abortion despite the country’s conservative laws that viewed the practice as illegal. In the country, a woman is generally allowed to procure induced abortion if her life is at risk which sounds more of a liberal pro-choice. However, anyone found performing illegal abortion has no choice but to face up to a maximum of five years in prison plus a fine. Many women in that country have therefore resorted to illegal abortions that Schuster (2005) argued to be more risky to the women because of the unprofessionalism with which some service providers gives the survive.  The bottom line in Schuster (2005) argument was, women in generally just like in Cameroon where the mortality rate from unsafe abortion was particularly high. Citing the high mortality rates for women who procure unsafe abortion from scrupulous abortionist is another line of argument that pro-choice side has used to drum their point home. The life of an adult who faces her own peril by solving a problem by creating another because of the law is a pointer to both sides of the debate to engage in a more holistic debate concerning the issue.

Based from all the arguments and premises presented earlier, it is observable that the finality of this argument regarding the legality and acceptability of abortion may not be even be getting near. The emotional and psychological trauma that might forever alter that person’s life is something serious and substantial to consider. Scriptures of one of the world’s major religions speak loudly of the sanctity of that premature life inside a woman’s womb; however, regardless of the spiritual implications, the ethical barriers of abortion must speak loudly on its own. Is it ethical for people to identify a crucial starting point of life just to differentiate abortion from murder, hence disregarding the uncompassionate termination of that premature person’s chance to live a life? Apparently, this question poses a deep moral questioning. Thus, although the central argument of most disputes are on the premises on whether life begins outside or inside the womb in order to consider abortion as murder, the mere fact and thought of actually terminating the life of a premature individual already does a damaging and objectionable practice which violates not just the ethical, moral norms of the society but as well as some spiritual pronouncements and laws.


American Pregnancy Association. (2007).Types of Abortion Procedures.Retrieved November 17, 2011 from http://www.americanpregnancy.org/unplannedpregnancy/abortionprocedures.html

Blackburn, W. R. (2005). Abortion and the Voice of Scripture. Human Life Review, 31(2), 67-85. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier.

Burleigh, N. (2011, October 20). “Mississippi’s Choice: Personhood and the rights of Zygotes.” Time U.S.Retrieved November 20, 2011 from http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2097340,00.html

Eckholm, E. (2011, October 25). “Push for ‘Personhood’ Amendment Represents New Tack in Abortion Fight”. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/us/politics/personhood-amendments-would-ban-nearly-all-abortions.html?ref=abortion

Lee, E. (2003). Abortion, Motherhood and Mental Health: Medicalizing Reproduction in the United States and Great Britain. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

MariAnna, C. J. (2002). Abortion: A Collective Story.Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Potts, M., Diggory, P., & Peel, J. (1977). Abortion. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schuster, S. (2005). Abortion in the moral world of the Cameroon Grassfields. Reproductive

Health Matters, 13(26): 130-138. Retrieved on July 3, 2012 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3776484

Smith, B. G. (2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Woman in World History. New York: Oxford University Press.

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