Abortion. The word alone summons controversy and unrest within normally civil conversation. Society has consistently examined and reexamined, debated and re-debated the morality of abortion until defined and perhaps hostile sides have formed. It is my intention to show that abortion within the first trimester of pregnancy is unequivocally morally justified, regardless of the means or consequences of the pregnancy. It is entirely morally permissible for a woman to have an abortion even when her pregnancy is not due to rape, carrying the fetus to term poses no unusual health risks to the mother, and the fetus is not known to be abnormal in any way. The reasons for such a thesis are all quite clear and obvious for any person to understand, while objections to it shall prove to be misplaced and simply erroneous.
It is the status of the embryo in the first trimester that is the basic issue that cannot be sidestepped; it remains perhaps the most important point that must be addressed.
We must decide whether the zygote-embryo-fetus that is growing inside a mother's womb is living, human, a person, and deserving of human rights. Only after we have examined these issues will we be able to decree the morality of abortion.
It is important and necessary to note that an embryo is a living thing. Indeed, "life begins at conception," as so many pro-lifers hastily and joyously exclaim. This embryo, this clump of cells, is "a biological mechanism that converts nutrients and oxygen into energy that causes its cells to divide, multiply, and grow". Of course, it's alive; as is any human organ, i.e. the heart, a kidney. An amoeba is just as much a living thing under this definition. A single-cell amoeba also converts nutrients and oxygen into biological energy that causes its...