Essay by anud July 2003

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During the past quarter century, abortion has joined race and war as one of the most contentious subjects of controversy in the United States. It discusses human interaction where ethics, emotions, and law collaborate. Many have contemplated upon the meaning of abortion. One argument is that every child born should be wanted. The people in lieu of this theory are often referred to as Pro-choice activists. The opposing argument is that every child conceived should be born, this theory epitomized by Pro-life activists. A public consensus exists that when human personhood starts, that the law must protect person. Many religions, organizations, and individuals have fervently held conflicting beliefs about when this transpires. This naturally leads to differing policies on whether a woman should have access to abortion or not.

The ethical issue of abortion involves a consideration of the reasons for or against terminating the life of a fetus.

The argument could be narrowed into two categories: whether a human fetus has a right to life, and, if so, whether the rights of the mother ever are stronger than the fetus's right. The first issue deals with the concept of morality from people. A being is a morally significant person when it is a rights holder, and we are under moral obligation to that being. For example, I am a morally significant person and am entitled to the right to life, which others have a moral duty to acknowledge. The problem is to establish a criterion that explains why I am a morally significant person, and a butterfly is not a morally significant person.

So does a person exist at the moment of conception? When we first take the human form (in the fourth month of pregnancy), when our organs become differentiated, and when the fetus can survive outside...