ABORTION ESSAY WRITING GUIDE
December 22, 2016>
Abortion is a rather popular topic of discussion. It is a rather sensitive and arguable subject and, therefore, it has a great variety of forms of debate on the issue, as well as various types of essays on it. This article is devoted to the comprehensive reviewing of different types of essays on the topic and providing the reader with relevant information on the most popular types of essays on abortion, including the description of each type, structure, outline, instructions, examples and other useful information.
Argumentative essay on Abortion
An argumentative essay implies establishing a certain position on a chosen, often controversial topic, and persuading the audience with help of pieces of evidence and facts supporting a certain point of view. Firstly, there should be done some research on several sides of the argument in order to collect certain facts, statements of experts, and statistics to support the chosen stance. These steps should be carefully considered before working on the outline of a future essay. When topic and fundamental position on the topic are chosen, the writer should put together an outline in order to substantiate his/her point of view with a sophisticated structure of the essay. The outline should comprise an introduction, a thesis, several pieces of evidence for each argument, refutation of the opposing viewpoint, and conclusion. The structure of the argumentative essay is rather clear, but still, you may have many questions on how to write an argumentative essay about abortion.
It is a rather sensitive topic with polar opinions on abortion itself. Some people reckon it’s a crime, and other consider it to be a free choice of each person. The most significant part of the writing is not to make some statements, but make a research on each and every statement and back up these arguments by facts and pieces of evidence. However, the first step to start from would be defining the topic. Basically, there is plenty of possible topics regarding this theme, but most of them usually come down to one issue on either side. Argumentative essay topics on abortion highlight the problem in terms of pro-life arguments (against this procedure), and pro-choice arguments (for legalization). While doing a thorough research, it is required to dig through opinions of professionals and recent statistics. It is important to be absolutely objective while writing this type of essay; you cannot just think out a fact or evidence which are not backed up by grounded research or a recognized expert. You should consider both aspects of the controversial topic and put the essay together so that it is highlighted in terms of two opposite opinions at a time. Such essays should include arguments in support of one side of the issue in conjunction with opposite opinion on this topic.
For instance, in the argumentative essay on why abortion should be illegal, the writer should make emphasis on four to five basic arguments, strengthened by facts and pieces of evidence. Taking a position on pro-life arguments, you can state that fetuses are human beings and are capable of feeling pain, and later support this statement with numerous pieces of evidence. The 4d scans, in this case, can serve as a proof, and if you look at snapshots, you can notice that after 12 weeks, fetuses are formed human beings, they have eyes and fingers, heart and a nervous system. By 8 weeks’ gestation period, a fetus can already flex its spine, which can indicate that it is already able to feel pain because the nervous system is already formed for it.
This argument should be followed by three or four strong corresponding arguments; for example, the second argument could be that this procedure can evoke medical complications and psychological trauma for women, and the third point can be religious responsibility; the fourth can defend human rights. You can divide your paper into four or five equal parts and just fill in the sections with the necessary content. You can put these arguments in the outline for argumentative essay on abortion in advance, in order to mitigate the writing process. Along with the arguments, which are the main body of the essay, the outline comprises introduction that gives a short information about the topic you work on and a thesis on this topic that come before the main body. If the topic is “Why abortion should be illegal”, introduce the issue in general, write a bit about it and explain your position in thesis by saying why you think that it should be illegal.
For example, it should be illegal, because fetus is a human being, and this procedure can be viewed as a murder. All this should be mentioned in the introduction paragraph for abortion essay. After introducing a general information on the topic and a certain thesis on the issue, you can start presenting the abovementioned arguments and continue with the refutation of opposing views. In this case, you should write why you think those who claim that it should be legal are wrong. For example, you can provide a couple of counterarguments of the opposite point of view. In this case, you can say that there are cases of unwanted pregnancy, but there are many families who struggle with a misery of infertility, who are willing to adopt a child. This will make your essay credible and objective because you will acknowledge the opposite arguments and mentioning them will make your statements even stronger.
After the main body is completed, you can start finalizing your argumentative essay on abortion. Conclusion should summarize all given arguments and counterarguments and leave readers with something to think about. For example, you can weigh out and assess all the particular cases and possible exceptions, when it might be an option to find way out of a really heartbreaking and difficult situation, and mention that these cases are not considered in this discussion, focus on the easy access to the discussed procedure and try putting doubt in the necessity of making it a fundamental human right. The same structure of the essay can be used in an argumentative essay on why abortion should be legal. Before starting to write about the topic in terms of pro-choice arguments, try to investigate the subject again and conduct a thorough research of the existing reliable sources, including articles, books, experts’ opinions, statistical data, historical reviews of the problem, facts, etc. Make sure that you have enough pieces of evidence to support your position and enough counterarguments to refute the opposite point of view. In order to organize the information, you have to compose an abortion essay outline. You may again recollect that there should be an introduction, in which you can mention that it should be a legal option for everyone, because nobody has right to interfere with someone’s life decisions, that illegal procedures will take place regardless the government’s provision and can result in more problems, and other corresponding ideas supporting abortion. Introduction paragraph may be followed by the pro-choice arguments, which are to be presented in the main body. Two opposite views of the issue should collide and they both should reflect the existing problems in terms of religion, law, morality, medicine, demography, human rights, and personal choice. You can write that fetuses are not yet human beings, that government has no right to decide anything related to the women’s bodies, that it is dangerous to make it illegal as it will provoke making this procedure by amateurs, and it can result in numerous deaths of women, etc.
You are welcome to continue your essay with the abortion counter arguments based on the opponents’ views. It is a really complicated question for discussion as it involves different aspects of life. A lot of factors should be taken into consideration while taking a decision about the age of the women, their financial stability and stability in their relationships. This encompasses certain layers of society: teenagers, unmarried and poor women. Morality is a subject of personal interpretation, and there can be different points of view in terms of morality regarding this issue. There are also many illnesses that may lead to birth defects, and such maternal illnesses can also be reviewed in your essay. Heart and kidney diseases, severe diabetes and other illnesses in conjunction with pregnancy and delivery can lead to irreversible complications and even death of a newborn. You can sum up all the above mentioned facts in conclusion for abortion essay. According to statistics, 51% of parents used contraceptives, but nevertheless, women got pregnant. It is significant to mention that there are cases of rape or incest, and women have no desire to give birth to unwanted children.
Basically, an argumentative essay should consist of pros and cons of your assertion on the debating issue. A good essay should combine different elements that will convince everybody to perceive the subject from your perspective. And it is significant to have strong arguments on the opposite point of view to parry it effectively. It is the essay in which you give arguments for and against abortion. We have also prepared the following plan you can stick to when working on your essay:The Pro-Con pattern should consist of introduction, pro-point 1 + support, pro-point 2 + support, con point + refutation, and conclusion.
- The Con-Pro pattern should contain: introduction, con-point + refutation, pro-point 1 + support, pro-point 2 + support, and conclusion.
- 3-Con pattern: introduction, con-point 1 + refutation, con-point 2 + refutation, con-point 3 + refutation, conclusion. All these three patterns are recommended for short argumentative essay on abortion.
- Claim/Counterclaim pattern. It consists of the introduction, two parts of the main body and conclusion. The first part includes three parts with counterclaim points with refutations, and the second part with three claim points and supporting arguments. The paper should include introduction, counterclaim (cc) point 1 + refutation, cc 2 + refutation, cc 3 + refutation, claim point 1 + support, claim point 2 + support, claim point 3 + support, and conclusion.
- Alternating pattern: introduction, three body parts (claim point 1 + support, counterclaim point 1 + support), and conclusion.
The last two patterns are intended for advanced college writing and are not recommended for a short argumentative essay on abortion. Don’t forget to support your opinion with facts, logical explanations and well-known experts’ opinions. It is also important to distinguish the notions to refute (prove that the point is incorrect) and to rebut (prove that the point is irrelevant or not strong enough) them. You can use both methods to parry the counterclaim. Before submitting your paper, you should make sure that it is completed correctly not only in terms of structure but that it also complies with all necessary requirements: title page, formatting style, citations and references, spelling and grammar. Even though you now have a comprehensive description of how to write an argumentative essay on abortion, you may still need more additional information about it. Maybe you will need some ready works to start your own research or for comparison to make sure that you composed your paper correctly.
For this purpose, you can search for the materials online or call upon the assistance of mates or professionals. There is no need to think out something that is not already represented on the web, and you definitely don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can easily find an argumentative essay on abortion sample and compose your own in accordance with the already existing material. If you dig into the debating issue, you will find out a wide range of claims and counterclaims regarding it. And maybe the hardest part of writing will be taking a certain stand on the matter. For example, if you take a glance on the problem from a distance in terms of different countries and decades, different social layers and life circumstances, it will be even harder to provide the final assertion. For instance, abortion is legalized only in 30 countries of the world, and other countries restrict or partially allow abortion. There are many historical, social, legal, religious, moral, medical peculiarities and aspects that can be discussed in this kind of paper, and examples of argumentative essays on abortion can become a good guide if you are given a task to write a paper on this topic.
Such examples can give a certain direction and indicate the right steps to the proper highlighting of the debating issue. They can be helpful in reviewing the issue from the perspective of multidimensional and complex discussion, covering the holistic picture of the problem. They can show some questions that can be mentioned in the paper and can become of interest to the audience. You can easily find free argumentative essays on abortion on the Internet. However, due to the modern technologies, it becomes even a hard task to miss any necessary facts, opinions of experts and logical explanations. One may need to make an effort not to notice a corresponding information. Sometimes, it is not the lack of information, but the lack of time that plays a major role in the process of writing.
Therefore, there is a great variety of different materials on the web that may provide you with a great scope of new information on the subject. You can easily find free argumentative essays on abortion that can save your time in research and make your own writing full of bright and up-to-date pieces of evidence, facts, opinions of well-known authorities and logical explanations. Sometimes, it is more effective to invest your time in the reviewing of already completed papers in order to systemize your own thoughts about the debating issue, to look at the problem holistically and to find the necessary strategy of the upcoming work. No matter what position you have taken, you can find argumentative essay on abortion examples on both opinions with equally powerful arguments. Surely, you can dedicate your time and effort to reading books and articles in scientific papers. But on the other hand, to save your time, you can just check the reliability of the sources provided in already written papers and confidently use the rendered information.
Argumentative essay examples on abortion can come in handy at every stage of the writing process. With help of examples, you can compare your final paper and check if there is something else to be mentioned, whether you’ve missed some strong arguments to maximally get close to the full and objective picture of the problem. For example, some good points are mental and physical illnesses of potential mothers, genetic diseases of the fetus, countries where giving birth is heavily controlled by government and having more than two children is strongly discouraged, personal responsibility of each adult, potential risk of infertility after abortion procedure, etc. An argumentative essay on pros and cons of abortion should be elaborated, the arguments should be reasonable, evidence has to be solid, statistic data needs to be accurate, all expert opinions are to be recognized, sources must be reliable, and all logical explanations should be consequent.
Our tips on how to write an argumentative essay about abortion
TIP 1 – Search
Before you start writing an argumentative essay on abortion, the most important thing you should do is search for information. If you are about to open a new tab, stop for a moment and think about the books, articles in scientific papers and another kind of reliable sources that can be used. Even though it takes more time to find the information there, you can be sure that it is not made up. Afterward, you will be able to understand what kind of information from the Internet is not a complete fiction.
TIP 2- Don’t rush
Do you think you have gathered all the information you need and you are ready to write? The answer is a huge NO. Your desire to start writing is a good sign but be sure that you understand the concept of your future essay. Look through the notes and you will totally find at least a few that you don’t need or that were accidentally duplicated. Also, reading the material again may give you an idea of intro you want or will motivate you to do more searching.
TIP 3 – Strong intro.
It is always hard to start writing an argumentative essay. You want the words to lie perfectly on the paper and actually make sense, but sometimes (ok, let’s stop lying, almost every single time) you feel like a five-year-old trying to write a dissertation. Just face the fact: staring at the blank paper as if you have never seen one before will not help. Look at the first sentence of this article. Now you can legally steal it to start your paper. Add some information about political and moral aspects of the question. Try to avoid writing anything about religion and its role in a variety of disputes around the topic at first, as this may annoy some readers. You can always get to it later if you have such a need. Anyway, do your best to ensure the reader that you are taking this topic seriously. One of the best ways to do this is bringing up the statistics. Try to find a trustworthy source that will give you some real numbers and make it look interesting and convincing in the essay.
TIP 4 – Facts, facts and even more facts.
As in every essay, there are two opposite sides, and you need to describe both of them with no bias. Note that it is an argumentative essay, so clean your mind and try to remember only solid facts. Even if you don’t like the argument, because it proves the point of view you do not support, don’t try and twist it, as that will only show your unprofessional approach.
TIP 5 – Apply your knowledge
As you can now produce two completely different points of view, it is time to start writing the heart of an argumentative essay – the main part. This tip includes a lot of information, so read carefully.
Let’s start this part of an argumentative essay on abortion with pro-choice. This is when you need to look at a question from a point of view of a pregnant woman. Most of the resources suggest “my body – my choice” to be the strongest argument ever. But be careful writing this as there is an answer that can knock you out at once – the fetus is not actually your body. It is better to start with some medical facts about why pregnancy termination can or should be legal. Don’t be afraid to support your arguments with the actual numbers, but try not to cross the line, when there is only some raw statistics. Here are the most common situations, when a woman either wants or needs to have an abortion:
- There is a high risk of death while giving birth either for the woman or the fetus. Note that reasons may vary: sicknesses, traumas, etc.
- The fetus might have a genetic disease or any other anomaly, so that it will suffer after the birth.
- The woman was raped or it was incest. In both of the cases woman suffers a high level of stress and giving birth will definitely not reduce it.
- Mental illness. A mentally ill person cannot take a proper care of a baby or give birth safely. Besides, the disease can be passed to the child.
- The woman is too young to be a parent, has no financial resources or the child is unwanted. If she gives birth, there is a high possibility that a child will end up being uneducated, with no opportunities for the future, in jail or even dead at the early age.
- A fetus becomes an actual person when it has an independent body. This is one of the arguments that proves abortion is not a murder.
- A fetus will not feel pain if removed early (mainly, if a woman uses pills or any other non-surgical methods), so it’s only about the woman to choose.
- Women can get pregnant even using contraceptives. So it is not about her being irresponsible.
- Population control. Well, it is a common fact that the world is overpopulated, so there is no need to make the situation worse. This argument sounds pretty rude, even though it is true, but still be careful on this one.
This list is just an example, as it does not cover the wide range of arguments that may be given. Hopefully, everything above is pretty understandable so let’s get to the next part of our argumentative essay that is against abortion aka pro-life. It is important to understand that now you need to look at the situation differently, which is considering a murder. If you want to get more into it, try to read the stories of abortion survivors, they may not change your mind if you are pro-choice, but you will definitely shed a tear.
You may use a similar advice here regarding medicine and statistics. Therefore, here are the examples of the pro-life arguments:
- Serious risks during and after procedure: bleeding, damage of cervix or a womb, ectopic pregnancy and even infertility.
- Abortion is a serious stress for a woman’s body and mind. Firstly, many of them regret not giving a birth, and that usually results in depression. Also, there is a higher possibility to get a breast cancer after aborting a baby.
- Many families want to have children but have problems conceiving it. A woman may not abort a baby but give it for adoption so other people can care about it.
- Many women are just being irresponsible by not using contraception. This is a very unfortunate fact, but in many cases, women abort babies just because they don’t use anything to protect themselves from getting pregnant.
- Baby feels the pain while being aborted. There is no common opinion in how many weeks exactly baby starts feeling pain and no doctor will give you the right answer, but when aborted late – it certainly does.
- Baby is alive inside the mother, so as every being it has its rights. If killing a small child or even kicking a pregnant woman in a stomach is a crime, then why it is ok to kill a child that is growing and functioning with a help of his mother?
- In most religions, abortion is a huge sin. This argument is weak if thrown into the atheist’s face, but in other cases, it is pretty effective.
- Aborting a baby is a proof, that human life means nothing. That is where you can turn on your inner philosopher and think deeply about this, but try to stick to the topic.
TIP 6 – Choose the side.
This is the part, where you have enough information to decide whether you are pro-choice or pro-life. Usually, before you even start writing, you know what side you are on. However, in the very beginning, when you just search for the information, you can find the material you have never seen before, and it may completely change your mind and make you rethink many controversial questions that you have had. So at this point, try to be sure which opinion you really support. You may want to reread what you have written so far to understand the choice you make. As you are close to finishing your argumentative essay, be precise about what you want to say. Make reader understand exactly why you support this side. Don’t mention every argument from the main part of an essay, bring something special and original into the explanation.
Persuasive essay on Abortion
Persuasive essay is an essay where you try to convince everybody who reads the paper that a certain idea, which is discussed in it, is absolutely right. It is your opinion on a particular subject that you believe is 100% right. For example, you may want to persuade your boss to raise your salary or to be promoted. It is very useful to enhance your ability to prove your stance, to persuade a reader to take your side or even to change his/her point of view. The task is to show a topic from another angle, so that a reader could change his/her opinion.
Persuasive essays on abortion can highlight the topic from two main sides. In order to start writing it, you should define the position you take on a chosen subject. Decide on the thesis that will perfectly match your arguments. It should be a strong stance expressed in a short assertion, which comes down to one sentence. For example, after making a thorough research on the issue, after checking a variety of reliable sources, opinions of experts and statistical data, you may decide that it is a bad idea, and later you can decide to write a persuasive essay on why abortion should be illegal. As a thesis, you can write that it should be illegal because a fetus is a human being, and it is considered to be a murder, and therefore, abortion is a crime.
When writing this type of an essay, start each paragraph with a mini-thesis statement. It will make your paper cohesive and will support your position accordingly, making it stronger with every paragraph. It is not only important to have your own opinion on the issue, but also to be able to express your beliefs consequently and professionally. Therefore, it is important to know how to write a persuasive essay on abortion correctly. It is important to be objective while writing this type of an essay, to support your claims with real stories, facts, logical explanations, etc. More than that, is if of an exceptional importance to be honest in your essay. Substantiate your arguments with evidence, acknowledging and refuting counterarguments. Pick a couple of ideas defending your opinion and try to persuade a reader that you are right, supplement your arguments with the refutation of a counterargument.
For example, in a 5 paragraph persuasive essay on abortion, there will be one paragraph for introduction, two for claims supported by facts and pieces of evidence, one for the refutation of the counterclaim, and the last paragraph will include a conclusion. It is well-known that there are seven main methods of the induced abortion. Each of them depends on the development of the fetus in the womb. Describe every technique. This could be a good way to introduce the problem to the reader in terms of inhumanity and brutality in the beginning of your paper after you write an introduction for persuasive essay on abortion. Provide the reader with the abovementioned thesis on the issue and proceed to writing next paragraphs which support it with claims followed by pieces of evidence and facts. The following part of the main body can describe a fetus in terms of its affiliation to humanity. Starting from six weeks, it feels pain, from eight weeks it already has fingerprints, after three months the body systems are formed and start functioning. The fetus can hear, sense, sleep, wake up and taste.
The following part of the essay can show the problem from a different angle, in terms of religion, for example. Writing a persuasive essay on abortion is a big challenge, but nevertheless, you can still try to find solid pieces of evidence on the issue in terms of your opinion. The Bible says “You shall not murder”. As the fetus is considered to be a human being, you can use this statement to explain your beliefs against termination of pregnancy. To make it more credible, it should definitely contain some counterarguments and their refutation. It will show that you acknowledge the other side of the issue and take into account the opposing beliefs, not only blindly describing your position and thinking that it is the only possible one.
This is one of the points that distinguish a good persuasive essay on abortion from a bad one. State the counterclaim and refute it. For instance, according to statistics, the most frequent cases of this procedure originate from poverty, negative relationships with partners, and young age. And, you may agree that these life circumstances are considered to be at least hard to combine with an idea of a happy future for the child and its’ mother. But still, it is a rather dangerous surgical interference which can lead to health complications and infertility. There is a risk to make it the last chance to give birth to a child.
Persuasive essay against abortion is designed to persuade the audience, and, therefore, it should be written firmly as you should sound like a real expert. It is also important to mention that from the very beginning, in case the topic was not given to you and you had to develop it yourself, you should take into account that it should be appealing to you. You should be able to argue convincingly on this topic and take into account all opposing opinions. If you reckon that there are no opposite viewpoints on the topic, it means that the topic you’ve chosen is not controversial enough to write a good persuasive essay about abortion. At the same time, if you think that there are too many counterarguments that will be complicated to refute, it would be better to choose another topic. If you want to write a good essay, make sure to dig into persuasive essay topics on abortion and find the most appropriate ones, which will be controversial enough.
This kind of an essay should be relatively short, and as it was mentioned above, it should consist of approximately 5 paragraphs and several pages. Imagine that you have already written the main part of the essay including introduction and 3 main paragraphs, but how to end a persuasive essay on abortion? The conclusion is where you get your ideas together. Here you can list the most compelling arguments and appeal to emotions. In this part of the essay you can expand your statements to a broader meaning, explain why this opinion is important for you, what other issues does this opinion evoke, and what should those who read your essay do after reading it.
A persuasive essay on abortion is a complicated assignment because abortion is a rather sensitive issue to argue about, and you clarify all details you have decided to mention in your essay. You should be sure that you are positioning your point of view clearly enough for understanding, and your opinion should be precise and unambiguous. You should also recheck several times whether your opinion is supported by facts, evidence, logical explanations, experts’ points of views, statistical data or real stories from life. The idea should flow throughout the text coherently. Each paragraph should be connected to one main idea. The counterarguments should be objectively analyzed and persuasively refuted.
Also, it is important to mention that persuasive essay on abortion conclusion should express the importance of your opinion and encourage the reader to take a certain action or start thinking in a certain way. One of the most important parts of writing is a revision. It means that you are supposed to check the text for stylistic and grammatical mistakes, and make sure that everything sounds logically. Maybe you may want to add a new paragraph or rearrange parts of the text body; it is possible that you may want to remove some unconvincing pieces of evidence and replace them with stronger facts.
Even if it is a short persuasive essay on abortion, it still has to sound convincing, stylistically and grammatically correct, as the purpose of this type of paper is to convince everyone that only your opinion on the issue is correct. When you defend the side that speaks out against this interference, you can and should appeal to emotions and credibility as well as to logic (facts, statistics, logical explanations). Your position should be known upfront.
It relates to persuasive speeches against abortion as well. Make an outline for your speech or essay before writing any text. As you now can see, this type of essay or speech has a very clear format. It contains several main elements, which divide the paper into several parts and help to describe your opinion in a clear and convincing way. The outline for a persuasive essay on abortion contains an introduction, where you represent your thesis, body paragraphs that are supposed to focus on one main idea and introduce evidence to support this idea and provide the refutation of opposing arguments, and conclusion. The conclusion should be tied up with the whole text in general, and with each paragraph in particular, summarizing all the information introduced, in terms of the chosen position.
While preparing the abortion persuasive speech outline, make sure to pose a few questions and try to answer them when writing the draft of the speech. Include statistical data on the quantity of abortions performed each year, list all countries that allow termination of pregnancy, mention specific details of the surgical procedure, and assess its safety. Describe the consequences of such interference including long-term and short-term effects. Focus on stages of fetus development and try to investigate the problem of human rights from this point of view. Persuasive speech on abortion should address matters concerning allowing abortions in different countries and cultures at different times and at different stages of gestation. Try to distinguish a matter of free will and necessity. Highlight the preconditions when it may become necessary in terms of medicine, psychological, mental health and life-circumstances. Persuasive essays on abortion should introduce convincing evidence and facts, based on statistics, history, opinions of experts, logical explanations and real life stories. It should persuasively highlight the chosen topic, and its’ thesis in conjunction with the refutation of counterarguments. Stay objective and stick to the facts, appealing to emotions from time to time.
There are a lot of persuasive articles on abortion on the Internet. They can become very helpful in your research on the topic. You can boldly refer to them as well as to other reliable sources of information, such as those mentioned above. In order to illustrate the process of writing this type of paper, it would be reasonable to give a short example of a persuasive essay on abortion.
Abortion is the practice of termination of pregnancy by the removal of the human fetus from the womb. It was forbidden in the United States of America until the well-known court case that took place in 1973, and today it is known as Roe v. Wade case. Roe was the first pregnant woman who won the case, and since then, abortion became legal. Even though a numerous amount of pregnancy termination procedures has been performed since its’ legislation in the U.S., the debate whether it should have been approved is still rather hot and many citizens of the United States continue discussing legalization of abortion. Their opinions are polarized into two main groups: pro-choice and pro-life. The Pro-choice argument is that abortion must be legal, and there should be no interference of the government, and the pro-life argument is that fetus is a human being from the moment of conception, and it is wrong to resort to the abortion in terms of human rights, law, and morality. However, some people claim that abortion must be legal as the fetus is not a human being yet.
Humanity has practiced the termination of pregnancy since ancient times. However, there is no mention of abortion law. Today, the procedure is legal in many countries; it is allowed to perform it on the basis of a woman’s request only, without specifying the reasons for the operation in 29% of all countries. Among the approved reasons are preserving physical and mental health (more than 60% of countries support it), if the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape, it is allowed to terminate it in more than half of the countries, 34% of the countries allow it if women are in poor economic or social conditions. However, it is allowed in 97% of the countries in terms of salvation of a maternal life. At the same time, Stuart W.G. claimed that a fetus is not able to feel pain, and at the early stages of pregnancy, it is just a clump of cells. So is it really a human being?
Bridget, a woman who was pregnant once, found out that her son will never be able to live as a full-fledged human being because of the congenital disease. The legislation of abortion gives her a choice to decide whether or not her son should be born and live with severe medical problems incompatible with life and whether he should suffer during his lifetime.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that it is a rather sensitive issue that leaves nobody indifferent. However, the debate on it continues to leave the opinion on it uncertain and divided, mostly when it comes to the economic, social, personal reasons, which are considered by many to be insubstantial. However, there are specific circumstances that may cause women from all over the world to resort to the termination of pregnancy. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the number of operations performed in the countries where it’s legal equals to the amount of operations where it is banned. It is not reasonable to make it illegal, as it will not change the situation, and it will lead to the increase of the number of victims who die from poorly performed surgical procedures. This statement can be used in a high school persuasive essay on abortion, and many previously mentioned ideas can provide a basic understanding of how to write a good essay on this topic. The advanced paper would demand more information and attention to the details.
Research paper on Abortion
As now the subject is rather clear, there are several next steps to take in order to write a good essay on this subject. The first one is narrowing the topic. In order to find an appropriate one among the variety of the abortion research essay topics, use books, articles, encyclopedias and other reliable literature to define the final topic. While looking through the above-listed sources, try to find the information about people who have faced the issue, define your own point of view on the topic, explain to yourself why it is considered to be an important subject to write about and, how, when and where has the problem developed. This will be rather helpful in order to make your topic clear and give the further understanding of how to write a research paper on abortion. For example, “termination of abortion should be illegal” is a good topic, but it may not be good enough. The better topic would be the one answering the question why you think it should be illegal. So, the better topic would be: “The termination of pregnancy should be illegal because a fetus is considered to be a human being.”
There is a vast variety of the abortion research paper topics to choose from, all you need to do is to find the most appropriate for the requirements of your research. The next step would be to define your thesis or objectives. You should keep in mind that it is better to avoid a form of question and it should be written in a sentence, and you will have to exclude such phrases as “I think”, “In my opinion”, “To my mind”, “From my point of view”, and the paper should not be written in a figurative language. Your purpose in writing of this type of paper is to prove the validity of your thesis. Therefore, the thesis should not be an indisputable fact or a point of view that can’t be proven. For example, “It is ethically and legally wrong to resort to the termination of pregnancy as a developing embryo can be equated with a human life.” After you are done with the abortion research paper thesis, compose a good outline of the essay. It will organize your notes when you start the investigation. Start with listing the themes that you want to highlight in your paper. Then, divide the topics into main topics and subtopics. Your outline should contain an introduction and a thesis statement, several paragraphs of the body and conclusion. You can also think of a format in which you will write the essay; it can be written in chronological order or in a comparison-contrast format. Abortion research paper outline example is the following:
- Introduction (thesis at the end) “It is ethically and legally right to resort to the mentioned above procedure as a developing embryo cannot be equated with a human life.”
- Main body:
- Statistics, laws
- Stages of fetus development
- Conscious awareness
As you can see, the introduction paragraph for abortion essay of this type should be formed of general information on the topic, a short historical review, and a thesis statement. It should also capture the reader’s attention and shortly introduce the main ideas. The main body should expand the ideas from each section of the outline. And the conclusion should summarize your research and prove your thesis. If you decide to write a research paper against abortion, make sure to explain your position on why you are against it, search for reliable sources that demonstrate the negative influence of such procedures, introduce the real testimonies of those who have resorted to it, discuss the political and social matter of the issue, use scientific research that defends your statement. Drawing upon your outline and notes, you can also turn to research questions about abortion. They can be different, for example, is it a matter of human rights or, are is it a matter of women rights, or maybe both? Should people reference to Bible when discussing this issue? Is it better to make it illegal and would it be a good or bad decision?
After you have finished your final outline, it’s time to start writing a draft. Eventually, this draft will be revised and there no need to focus on stylistic requirements and avoiding grammatical mistakes. You should focus on the content of the research essay on abortion, taking into account your outline, drawing upon your notes. After having completed the draft, check if each topic in the main body correlates with the thesis, also take notice of pieces of evidence, check if each idea is supported by facts. After that, compose a final draft. Here you should pay attention to stylistic requirements of the paper. It should contain citations and references, title page if required. These steps can help you start completing your assignment and elucidate how to write the research paper. We do hope that these tips will help you write an excellent paper, and in case you face too many difficulties, you can buy research paper online at our website.
Cause and effect essay on Abortion
A cause and effect essay is a paper where writer introduces causes and then describes the possible implications. First, you should decide what should be the cause and what exactly should be the effect. If the termination of pregnancy is the cause, then you will want to describe possible consequences, such as physiological and psychological complications. If the procedure is the effect, you will describe the causes that have led to this measure. Choose your strategy and mind that the essay can be informative or convincing. It will give direction to the flow of the essay while gathering data and making notes. Usually, this type of an essay consists of 5 paragraphs, including introduction, a paragraph where the cause of the issue is introduced, the paragraph where the effect is highlighted, and the paragraph where these two are combined. As usual, they are followed by the conclusion. We believe that the tips mentioned above will help, but if you need more information on how to write a good cause and effect essay, you can always count on us and ask our support team in chat.
Satire essay on Abortion
This type of an essay uses irony, humor, and hyperbole to ridicule the topic. This essay is intended to entertain the readers, but it also should be eye-opening and useful. The main purpose is to make readers see the absurdity of the issue, which is discussed. You can resort to exaggeration in order to criticize it or say something absolutely opposite to what you really mean to express discrepancy between the expectations and real happening. Make jokes in order to receive the desirable reaction, because this is the shortest way to make the reader think as you do. For example, “men should be illegal” – is a bright example of a satirical expression in terms of the issue under discussion.
Explository essay on Abortion
This type of essay implies the explanation of a certain topic or a number of ideas to a particular audience. It doesn’t require a deep research; it rather demands your own thoughts on the issue. It has basic requirements, though. It contains an introduction and thesis, main body and conclusion. It also should be a 5-paragraph essay, where the main body consists of three paragraphs. It can be more sections of the main body, but not less. So let’s start with the details. The subject is abortion; the topic can be “Abortion should be illegal”, and the thesis “Abortion should be illegal, because it is inhuman”. A 5-page essay on abortion can comprehensively describe the topic and explain the main points. Compose your outline, list certain examples, which can demonstrate the main points of your topic. It can be a personal experience or real stories from life. Make sure that there is a connection between the thesis and examples. In conclusion, it is better to give a concise overview in conjunction with a forecast or recommendations for the future. Hopefully, writing an expository essay won’t be that hard for you now!
Important of Abortion essay outline
Before starting to write the essay and after conducting a proper research on the subject, you should compose the outline. Define the appropriate topic on abortion. Introduction paragraph should highlight the subject of the paper; in this case, the subject is the termination of pregnancy. In this section the reader should also be informed on how the paper is organized, it can be a concise introduction of general evidence that proves your thesis. And the last part of it should be the thesis. It should clearly express your point of view on the topic. For example, if the topic is “The termination of pregnancy should be illegal”, the thesis should be “The termination of pregnancy should be illegal because it is inhumane”. This is what the essay on abortion introduction should be.
The main body of the essay should be composed of arguments connected to the thesis supported by evidence. If required, there can also be several counterarguments and their refutation. Termination of pregnancy is a rather sensitive subject to write about; it is recommended to choose the abortion counterarguments, that you can convincingly refute in order to link it to the thesis. It is especially effective in the essay on pros and cons of abortion. The main body is followed by a conclusion. Make sure that it concisely restates all the main arguments supporting the main idea, summarize all the introduced information in order to tie it up to the thesis.
In order to make your writing project really attractive, you should use some writing techniques, which can notably improve and mark it out among the numerous amount of others. There are a lot of abortion essays on the Internet, and in order to make someone want to read yours, you should define the audience that you are addressing in your paper. Depending on the audience, the tactic will also change. For example, if your audience is a professor, the method of drawing attention will differ from the one when you are addressing your topic to your classmates or groupmates, as well as other possible social groups. Define if your target group is captive. If it is a professor or an admission person, your objective will be to encourage them to give you a good grade or to persuade them to admit you into the university. And besides, they are obliged to read your paper, because it is their job. When the target group is not paid for reading your project, you should think about how to draw their attention so that they would be interested in reading particularly your paper, because there is a huge chance that they will skip your paper and choose another one instead.
As there was mentioned before, termination of pregnancy is a rather popular topic and the abortion essay hooks will be a lifeline of your paper. When you understand what your audience is, the next step is to figure out what your readers want to read about, what are they interested in. Are they looking for entertainment? Are they willing to solve their problem? Maybe they want to find some particular information? Or they are interested in your personal thoughts? There are no strict rules of composing a good hook.
Basically, it’s one or two sentences at the beginning of your project, which serve to catch the readers’ attention. After defining the target group and its motivation, define the purpose of your paper. It can be an argumentative essay or a persuasive essay, it can also be a cause and effect essay or satiric essay, it can be a research project or expository essay, etc. Depending on the type of paper, the purpose will change. In some cases, the purpose is to describe the topic, and in others, it is to convince the reader in your rightness regarding the arguments that you provide on the matter. Sometimes, it has to be an informative writing or a descriptive one, and sometimes it is exploratory. A good hook should be supposed to evoke some feelings, and you are to determine what they should feel like after reading it, motivated to act in a certain way or become interested in your life story, get scared or entertained. A good hook represents the objective of your paper and what you want to share with. To make it completely clear, you can look through several abortion essay examples, which have similar objectives to your own essay, so it can be rather helpful.
Here are some examples of good hooks for abortion essays:
- Denying abortion is sexist
- Rape v. Abortion
- Would the unborn choose to die or live?
- Poverty is not an excuse for abortion
- Your baby is unwanted. Will it become a new John Snow?
How to choose a good topic?
When you are writing an argumentative essay, you should focus on choosing a good topic. It is one of the most sensitive issues to write about. It belongs to ten of the most disputable themes: animal rights and experimentation, breast cancer, death penalty, border control, genetic cloning, human trafficking, plastic surgery, and pharmaceutical industry. Argument essay topics on abortion can be narrowed to the specific position on pro-life or pro-choice. Your task is to define which position you will defend and from what point of view. You can highlight it in terms of religion, morality, law, human rights, ethics, health, etc. For example, “Should abortion be illegal?”, “Is it inhumane?”, “Is it always right or is it always wrong?”, etc.
Closing sentence for Abortion essay
The conclusion is intended to summarize the entire project; this is where you should revise your hook sentence, your thesis, and major ideas. There is a wide range of abortion research topics to choose from, here is the list of possible interesting ones:
- Should grandparents interfere into the taking the decision on termination of pregnancy?
- Should a woman be forced to resort to this procedure by law in some cases?
- Should women have a restricted number of possible abortions throughout their lives?
The best way to learn how to write not just a good but a top-notch essay on abortion is to follow the instructions in conjunction with following the best essay examples. It will give you an idea of how to compose a well-structured paper. Good samples are sophisticated and contain an advanced vocabulary; they are saturated with rich sentence structure and complex grammatical structures.
At the same time, examples of abortion essays can be useful in demonstrating the basic principles of writing, they represent the structure of the required type of work and help you understand the flow of the idea: where is the thesis statement, what is a good hook, how arguments and pieces of evidence correlate with the thesis statement and how a good ending should sound like. They can help you look at the topic comprehensively revealing the issue from different sides, giving you direction and inspiring you. Abortion essay outline example can inspire you to write a really decent outline for your own topic, boosting the writing process and accelerating it. They can also become very helpful to save your time, give you direction and focus on the most important ideas, which are already gathered together in the best way.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel, all you will need to do is to make it original, unique, and bright in terms of language and supporting evidence. As it was mentioned before, a sample essay on abortion can not only give an insight of the practical application of a certain style or literature device, but it can encourage you, relying upon the recognized analog of the best variant of the required paper, to write your own masterpiece. Using the best solutions from different samples, you can win the attention of your audience and achieve the desired effect. If you are stuck with your research or feel a lack of time, or you have a very important essay that is vital for your future, as an assignment, it would be a good idea to resort to a free essay on abortion as soon as possible. In the combination of following the instructions on the structure and style with your own efforts, it will quickly give you a notion of where to start from and how to move on, how to make it comprehensive, grammatically and stylistically correct, rich in terms of language and content.
Now when you have a guideline about how to write research papers, argumentative essays, and corresponding types of papers, you may want to take a look at abortion research paper examples, argumentative essays and other examples of different types of papers on this topic. You can easily find them on the Internet and on our website as well.
Other useful information
The two opposing points of views can indicate advantages and disadvantages of termination of pregnancy. In the advantages of abortion essays, one can highlight the issue in terms of the positive effect of this measure. For example, to emphasize the positive side of this procedure, you can focus on various aspects. For example, unsafe termination of abortion increases the risk of death, it should be conducted under the law and by professionals only; it is a rather disputable issue to give a birth to the child who was conceived as a result of rape or incest; sometimes to save a woman’s life this is an option, embryo and fetus are just a clump of cells, would it be cruel to give birth to a disabled fetus? The positive effects of abortion essays can describe the issue in terms of the possible life course of a woman who took a decision to resort to the procedure. If she is a teenager, she will get an opportunity to devote herself to the education; if she is unmarried, she will increase her chances to get married; if she is poor, she will be able to stand on her own feet and give birth to the child at a better time, so that the child will be able to grow in a full family of mature and educated parents.
If you are to write a disadvantages of abortion essay, it would be reasonable to stick to the following arguments. Physical and psychological complications can follow the procedure of termination of pregnancy, a woman can experience health complications and unbearable sense of guilt throughout her entire life, it can also cause a pressure from the society, it can also lead to infertility. Consequences of abortion essay should describe the issue from both sides. It should be mentioned that professionals recommend resorting to the termination of pregnancy at the earliest stages of pregnancy because the later it’s conducted, the more dangers and risks can arise. It can cause long-term effects and short-term effects. Among the long-term consequences are health complications and death. The short-term effects include increased breast cancer risk, infertility, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual dysfunction.
However, the issue can remain a philosophical question, even though it has a practical influence on a daily life of humanity. You can still try to find the answer to this question posing it in a philosophical essay on abortion. Humanity representatives of different cultures and countries have not established a common understanding of what is right regarding this extremely debatable topic. Basically, you are required to consider the issue in accordance with the necessary thesis. You should explain it, provide the supporting arguments, offer an objection and defend your thesis against the objection to it, describe the issue in terms of pros and cons, provide the reader with possible consequences it might have. There is a good example of a decent philosophical essay on the topic by Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan essay on abortion raises the most arguable questions regarding the debatable issue. For example, at what moment life begins? Should the right to live depend on circumstances of conception? What history tells us about abortion? What attitude does religion reveal in its’ texts? Should humanity look at it from one side or should it stop putting it to the extremes? All these questions can and should be raised in essays on abortion in order to highlight the topic in the best way.
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Category: Academic writing, Essay paper writing
Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
From Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1971).
(Reprinted in "Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics," 5th ed., ed. Ronald Munson (Belmont; Wadsworth 1996). pp 69-80.)
Most opposition to abortion relies on the premise that the fetus is a human being, a person, from the moment of conception. The premise is argued for, but, as I think, not well. Take, for example, the most common argument. We are asked to notice that the development of a human being from conception through birth into childhood is continuous; then it is said that to draw a line, to choose a point in this development and say "before this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person" is to make an arbitrary choice, a choice for which in the nature of things no good reason can be given. It is concluded that the fetus is. or anyway that we had better say it is, a person from the moment of conception. But this conclusion does not follow. Similar things might be said about the development of an acorn into an oak trees, and it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that we had better say they are. Arguments of this form are sometimes called "slippery slope arguments"--the phrase is perhaps self-explanatory--and it is dismaying that opponents of abortion rely on them so heavily and uncritically.
I am inclined to agree, however, that the prospects for "drawing a line" in the development of the fetus look dim. I am inclined to think also that we shall probably have to agree that the fetus has already become a human person well before birth. Indeed, it comes as a surprise when one first learns how early in its life it begins to acquire human characteristics. By the tenth week, for example, it already has a face, arms and less, fingers and toes; it has internal organs, and brain activity is detectable. On the other hand, I think that the premise is false, that the fetus is not a person from the moment of conception. A newly fertilized ovum, a newly implanted clump of cells, is no more a person than an acorn is an oak tree. But I shall not discuss any of this. For it seems to me to be of great interest to ask what happens if, for the sake of argument, we allow the premise. How, precisely, are we supposed to get from there to the conclusion that abortion is morally impermissible? Opponents of abortion commonly spend most of their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly anytime explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion. Perhaps they think the step too simple and obvious to require much comment. Or perhaps instead they are simply being economical in argument. Many of those who defend abortion rely on the premise that the fetus is not a person, but only a bit of tissue that will become a person at birth; and why pay out more arguments than you have to? Whatever the explanation, I suggest that the step they take is neither easy nor obvious, that it calls for closer examination than it is commonly given, and that when we do give it this closer examination we shall feel inclined to reject it.
I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. How does the argument go from here? Something like this, I take it. Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life. No doubt the mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body; everyone would grant that. But surely a person's right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother's right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it. So the fetus may not be killed; an abortion may not be performed.
It sounds plausible. But now let me ask you to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it's only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you." Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says. "Tough luck. I agree. but now you've got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person's right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him." I imagine you would regard this as outrageous, which suggests that something really is wrong with that plausible-sounding argument I mentioned a moment ago.
In this case, of course, you were kidnapped, you didn't volunteer for the operation that plugged the violinist into your kidneys. Can those who oppose abortion on the ground I mentioned make an exception for a pregnancy due to rape? Certainly. They can say that persons have a right to life only if they didn't come into existence because of rape; or they can say that all persons have a right to life, but that some have less of a right to life than others, in particular, that those who came into existence because of rape have less. But these statements have a rather unpleasant sound. Surely the question of whether you have a right to life at all, or how much of it you have, shouldn't turn on the question of whether or not you are a product of a rape. And in fact the people who oppose abortion on the ground I mentioned do not make this distinction, and hence do not make an exception in case of rape.
Nor do they make an exception for a case in which the mother has to spend the nine months of her pregnancy in bed. They would agree that would be a great pity, and hard on the mother; but all the same, all persons have a right to life, the fetus is a person, and so on. I suspect, in fact, that they would not make an exception for a case in which, miraculously enough, the pregnancy went on for nine years, or even the rest of the mother's life.
Some won't even make an exception for a case in which continuation of the pregnancy is likely to shorten the mother's life, they regard abortion as impermissible even to save the mother's life. Such cases are nowadays very rare, and many opponents of abortion do not accept this extreme view. All the same, it is a good place to begin: a number of points of interest come out in respect to it.
Let us call the view that abortion is impermissible even to save the mother's life "the extreme view." I want to suggest first that it does not issue from the argument I mentioned earlier without the addition of some fairly powerful premises. Suppose a woman has become pregnant, and now learns that she has a cardiac condition such that she will die if she carries the baby to term. What may be done for her? The fetus, being to life, but as the mother is a person too, so has she a right to life. Presumably they have an equal right to life. How is it supposed to come out that an abortion may not be performed? If mother and child have an equal right to life, shouldn't we perhaps flip a coin? Or should we add to the mother's right to life her right to decide what happens in and to her body, which everybody seems to be ready to grant--the sum of her rights now outweighing the fetus's right to life?
The most familiar argument here is the following. We are told that performing the abortion would he directly killings the child, whereas doing nothing would not be killing the mother, but only letting her die. Moreover, in killing the child, one would be killing an innocent person, for the child has committed no crime, and is not aiming at his mother's death. And then there are a variety of ways in which this might be continued. (1) But as directly killing an innocent person is always and absolutely impermissible, an abortion may not be performed. Or, (2) as directly killing an innocent person is murder, and murder is always and absolutely impermissible, an abortion may not be performed. Or, (3) as one's duty to refrain from directly killing an innocent person is more stringent than one's duty to keep a person from dying, an abortion may not be performed. Or, (4) if one's only options are directly killing an innocent person or letting a person die, one must prefer letting the person die, and thus an abortion may not be performed.
Some people seem to have thought that these are not further premises which must be added if the conclusion is to be reached, but that they follow from the very fact that an innocent person has a right to life. But this seems to me to be a mistake, and perhaps the simplest way to show this is to bring out that while we must certainly grant that innocent persons have a right to life, the theses in (1) through (4) are all false. Take (2), for example. If directly killing an innocent person is murder, and thus is impermissible, then the mother's directly killing the innocent person inside her is murder, and thus is impermissible. But it cannot seriously be thought to be murder if the mother performs an abortion on herself to save her life. It cannot seriously be said that she must refrain, that she must sit passively by and wait for her death. Let us look again at the case of you and the violinist There you are, in bed with the violinist, and the director of the hospital says to you, "It's all most distressing, and I deeply sympathize, but you see this is putting an additional strain on your kidneys, and you'll be dead within the month. But you have to stay where you are all the same. because unplugging you would be directly killing an innocent violinist, and that's murder, and that's impermissible." If anything in the world is true, it is that you do not commit murder, you do not do what is impermissible, if you reach around to your back and unplug yourself from that violinist to save your life.
The main focus of attention in writings on abortion has been on what a third party may or may not do in answer to a request from a woman for an abortion. This is in a way understandable. Things being as they are, there isn't much a woman can safely do to abort herself. So the question asked is what a third party may do, and what the mother may do, if it is mentioned at all, if deduced, almost as an afterthought, from what it is concluded that third parties may do. But it seems to me that to treat the matter in this way is to refuse to grant to the mother that very status of person which is so firmly insisted on for the fetus. For we cannot simply read off what a person may do from what a third party may do. Suppose you filed yourself trapped in a tiny house with a growing child. I mean a very tiny house, and a rapidly growing child--you are already up against the wall of the house and in a few minutes you'll be crushed to death. The child on the other hand won't be crushed to death; if nothing is done to stop him from growing he'll be hurt, but in the end he'll simply burst open the house and walk out a free man. Now I could well understand it if a bystander were to say. "There's nothing we can do for you. We cannot choose between your life and his, we cannot be the ones to decide who is to live, we cannot intervene." But it cannot be concluded that you too can do nothing, that you cannot attack it to save your life. However innocent the child may be, you do not have to wait passively while it crushes you to death Perhaps a pregnant woman is vaguely felt to have the status of house, to which we don't allow the right of self-defense. But if the woman houses the child, it should be remembered that she is a person who houses it.
I should perhaps stop to say explicitly that I am not claiming that people have a right to do anything whatever to save their lives. I think, rather, that there are drastic limits to the right of self-defense. If someone threatens you with death unless you torture someone else to death, I think you have not the right, even to save your life, to do so. But the case under consideration here is very different. In our case there are only two people involved, one whose life is threatened, and one who threatens it. Both are innocent: the one who is threatened is not threatened because of any fault, the one who threatens does not threaten because of any fault. For this reason we may feel that we bystanders cannot interfere. But the person threatened can.
In sum, a woman surely can defend her life against the threat to it posed by the unborn child, even if doing so involves its death. And this shows not merely that the theses in (1) through (4) are false; it shows also that the extreme view of abortion is false, and so we need not canvass any other possible ways of arriving at it from the argument I mentioned at the outset.
The extreme view could of course be weakened to say that while abortion is permissible to save the mother's life, it may not be performed by a third party, but only by the mother herself. But this cannot be right either. For what we have to keep in mind is that the mother and the unborn child are not like two tenants in a small house which has, by an unfortunate mistake, been rented to both: the mother owns the house. The fact that she does adds to the offensiveness of deducing that the mother can do nothing from the supposition that third parties can do nothing. But it does more than this: it casts a bright light on the supposition that third parties can do nothing. Certainly it lets us see that a third party who says "I cannot choose between you" is fooling himself if he thinks this is impartiality. If Jones has found and fastened on a certain coat, which he needs to keep him from freezing, but which Smith also needs to keep him from freezing, then it is not impartiality that says "I cannot choose between you" when Smith owns the coat. Women have said again and again "This body is my body!" and they have reason to feel angry, reason to feel that it has been like shouting into the wind. Smith, after all, is hardly likely to bless us if we say to him, "Of course it's your coat, anybody would grant that it is. But no one may choose between you and Jones who is to have it."
We should really ask what it is that says "no one may choose" in the face of the fact that the body that houses the child is the mother's body. It may be simply a failure to appreciate this fact. But it may be something more interesting, namely the sense that one has a right to refuse to lay hands on people, even where it would be just and fair to do so, even where justice seems to require that somebody do so. Thus justice might call for somebody to get Smith's coat back from Jones, and yet you have a right to refuse to be the one to lay hands on Jones, a right to refuse to do physical violence to him. This, I think, must be granted. But then what should be said is not "no one may choose," but only "I cannot choose," and indeed not even this, but "I will not act," leaving it open that somebody else can or should, and in particular that anyone in a position of authority, with the job of securing people's rights, both can and should. So this is no difficulty. I have not been arguing that any given third party must accede to the mother's request that he perform an abortion to save her life, but only that he may.
I suppose that in some views of human life the mother's body is only on loan to her, the loan not being one which gives her any prior claim to it. One who held this view might well think it impartiality to say "I cannot choose." But I shall simply ignore this possibility. My own view is that if a human being has any just, prior claim to anything at all, he has a just, prior claim to his own body. And perhaps this needn't be argued for here anyway, since, as I mentioned, the arguments against abortion we are looking at do grant that the woman has a right to decide what happens in and to her body. But although they do grant it, I have tried to show that they do not take seriously what is done in granting it. I suggest the same thing will reappear even more clearly when we turn away from cases in which the mother's life is at stake, and attend, as I propose we now do, to the vastly more common cases in which a woman wants an abortion for some less weighty reason than preserving her own life.
Where the mother s life is not at stake, the argument I mentioned at the outset seems to have a much stronger pull. "Everyone has a right to life, so the unborn person has a right to life." And isn't the child's right to life weightier than anything other than the mother's own right to life, which she might put forward as ground for an abortion?
This argument treats the right to life as if it were unproblematic. It is not, and this seems to me to be precisely the source of the mistake.
For we should now, at long last, ask what it comes to, to have a right to life. In some views having a right to life includes having a right to be given at least the bare minimum one needs for continued life. But suppose that what in fact IS the bare minimum a man needs for continued life is something he has no right at all to be given? If I am sick unto death, and the only thing that will save my life is the touch of Henry Fonda's cool hand on my fevered brow. then all the same, I have no right to be given the touch of Henry Fonda's cool hand on my fevered brow. It would be frightfully nice of him to fly in from the West Coast to provide it. It would be less nice, though no doubt well meant, if my friends flew out to the West coast and brought Henry Fonda back with them. But I have no right at all against anybody that he should do this for me. Or again, to return to the story I told earlier, the fact that for continued life the violinist needs the continued use of your kidneys does not establish that he has a right to be given the continued use of your kidneys. He certainly has no right against you that you should give him continued use of your kidneys. For nobody has any right to use your kidneys unless you give him this right--if you do allow him to go on using your kidneys, this is a kindness on your part, and not something he can claim from you as his due. Nor has he any right against anybody else that they should give him continued use of your kidneys. Certainly he had no right against the Society of Music Lovers that they should plug him into you in the first place. And if you now start to unplug yourself, having learned that you will otherwise have to spend nine years in bed with him, there is nobody in the world who must try to prevent you, in order to see to it that he is given some thing he has a right to be given.
Some people are rather stricter about the right to life. In their view, it does not include the right to be given anything, but amounts to, and only to, the right not to be killed by anybody. But here a related difficulty arises. If everybody is to refrain from killing that violinist, then everybody must refrain from doing a great many different sorts of things. Everybody must refrain from slitting his throat, everybody must refrain from shooting him--and everybody must refrain from unplugging you from him. But does he have a right against everybody that they shall refrain from unplugging you frolic him? To refrain from doing this is to allow him to continue to use your kidneys. It could be argued that he has a right against us that we should allow him to continue to use your kidneys. That is, while he had no right against us that we should give him the use of your kidneys, it might be argued that he anyway has a right against us that we shall not now intervene and deprive him Of the use of your kidneys. I shall come back to third-party interventions later. But certainly the violinist has no right against you that you shall allow him to continue to use your kidneys. As I said, if you do allow him to use them, it is a kindness on your part, and not something you owe him.
The difficulty I point to here is not peculiar to the right of life. It reappears in connection with all the other natural rights, and it is something which an adequate account of rights must deal with. For present purposes it is enough just to draw attention to it. But I would stress that I am not arguing that people do not have a right to life--quite to the contrary, it seems to me that the primary control we must place on the acceptability of an account of rights is that it should turn out in that account to be a truth that all persons have a right to life. I am arguing only that having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person s body--even if one needs it for life itself. So the right to life will not serve the opponents of abortion in the very simple and clear way in which they seem to have thought it would.
There is another way to bring out the difficulty. In the most ordinary sort of case, to deprive someone of what he has a right to is to treat him unjustly. Suppose a boy and his small brother are jointly given a box of chocolates for Christmas. If the older boy takes the box and refuses to give his brother any of the chocolates, he is unjust to him, for the brother has been given a right to half of them. But suppose that, having learned that otherwise it means nine years in bed with that violinist, you unplug yourself from him. You surely are not being unjust to him, for you gave him no right to use your kidneys, and no one else can have given him any such right. But we have to notice that in unplugging yourself, you are killing him; and violinists, like everybody else, have a right to life, and thus in the view we were considering just now, the right not to be killed. So here you do what he supposedly has a right you shall not do, but you do not act unjustly to him in doing it.
The emendation which may be made at this point is this: the right to life consists not in the right not to be killed, but rather in the right not to be killed unjustly. This runs a risk of circularity, but never mind: it would enable us to square the fact that the violinist has a right to life with the fact that you do not act unjustly toward him in unplugging yourself, thereby killing him. For if you do not kill him unjustly, you do not violate his right to life, and so it is no wonder you do him no injustice.
But if this emendation is accepted, the gap in the argument against abortion stares us plainly in the face: it is by no means enough to show that the fetus is a person, and to remind us that all persons have a right to life--we need to be shown also that killing the fetus violates its right to life, i.e., that abortion is unjust killing. And is it?
I suppose we may take it as a datum that in a case of pregnancy due to rape the mother has not given the unborn person a right to the use of her body for food and shelter. Indeed, in what pregnancy could it be supposed that the mother has given the unborn person such a right? It is not as if there are unborn persons drifting about the world, to whom a woman who wants a child says I invite you in."
But it might be argued that there are other ways one can have acquired a right to the use of another person's body than by having been invited to use it by that person. Suppose a woman voluntarily indulges in intercourse, knowing of the chance it will issue in pregnancy, and then she does become pregnant; is she not in part responsible for the presence, in fact the very existence, of the unborn person inside? No doubt she did not invite it in. But doesn't her partial responsibility for its being there itself give it a right to the use of her body? If so, then her aborting it would be more like the boys taking away the chocolates, and less like your unplugging yourself from the violinist--doing so would be depriving it of what it does have a right to, and thus would be doing it an injustice.
And then, too, it might be asked whether or not she can kill it even to save her own life: If she voluntarily called it into existence, how can she now kill it, even in self-defense?
The first thing to be said about this is that it is something new. Opponents of abortion have been so concerned to make out the independence of the fetus, in order to establish that it has a right to life, just as its mother does, that they have tended to overlook the possible support they might gain from making out that the fetus is dependent on the mother, in order to establish that she has a special kind of responsibility for it, a responsibility that gives it rights against her which are not possessed by any independent person--such as an ailing violinist who is a stranger to her.
On the other hand, this argument would give the unborn person a right to its mother's body only if her pregnancy resulted from a voluntary act, undertaken in full knowledge of the chance a pregnancy might result from it. It would leave out entirely the unborn person whose existence is due to rape. Pending the availability of some further argument, then, we would be left with the conclusion that unborn persons whose existence is due to rape have no right to the use of their mothers' bodies, and thus that aborting them is not depriving them of anything they have ~ right to and hence is not unjust killing.
And we should also notice that it is not at all plain that this argument really does go even as far as it purports to. For there are cases and cases, and the details make a difference. If the room is stuffy, and I therefore open a window to air it, and a burglar climbs in, it would be absurd to say, "Ah, now he can stay, she's given him a right to the use of her house--for she is partially responsible for his presence there, having voluntarily done what enabled him to get in, in full knowledge that there are such things as burglars, and that burglars burgle.'' It would be still more absurd to say this if I had had bars installed outside my windows, precisely to prevent burglars from getting in, and a burglar got in only because of a defect in the bars. It remains equally absurd if we imagine it is not a burglar who climbs in, but an innocent person who blunders or falls in. Again, suppose it were like this: people-seeds drift about in the air like pollen, and if you open your windows, one may drift in and take root in your carpets or upholstery. You don't want children, so you fix up your windows with fine mesh screens, the very best you can buy. As can happen, however, and on very, very rare occasions does happen, one of the screens is defective, and a seed drifts in and takes root. Does the person-plant who now develops have a right to the use of your house? Surely not--despite the fact that you voluntarily opened your windows, you knowingly kept carpets and upholstered furniture, and you knew that screens were sometimes defective. Someone may argue that you are responsible for its rooting, that it does have a right to your house, because after all you could have lived out your life with bare floors and furniture, or with sealed windows and doors. But this won't do--for by the same token anyone can avoid a pregnancy due to rape by having a hysterectomy, or anyway by never leaving home without a (reliable!) army.
It seems to me that the argument we are looking at can establish at most that there are some cases in which the unborn person has a right to the use of its mother's body, and therefore some cases in which abortion is unjust killing. There is room for much discussion and argument as to precisely which, if any. But I think we should sidestep this issue and leave it open, for at any rate the argument certainly does not establish that all abortion is unjust killing.
There is room for yet another argument here, however. We surely must all grant that there may be cases in which it would be morally indecent to detach a person from your body at the cost of his life. Suppose you learn that what the violinist needs is not nine years of your life, but only one hour: all you need do to save his life is to spend one hour in that bed with him. Suppose also that letting him use your kidneys for that one hour would not affect your health in the slightest. Admittedly you were kidnapped. Admittedly you did not give anyone permission to plug him into you. Nevertheless it seems to me plain you ought to allow him to use your kidneys for that hour--it would be indecent to refuse.
Again, suppose pregnancy lasted only an hour, and constituted no threat to life or health. And suppose that a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape. Admittedly she did not voluntarily do anything to bring about the existence of a child. Admittedly she did nothing at all which would give the unborn person a right to the use of her body. All the same it might well be said, as in the newly amended violinist story, that she ought to allow it to remain for that hour--that it would be indecent of her to refuse.
Now some people are inclined to use the term "right" in such a way that it follows from the fact that you ought to allow a person to use your body for the hour he needs, that he has a right to use your body for the hour he needs, even though he has not been given that right by any person or act. They may say that it follows also that if you refuse, you act unjustly toward him. This use of the term is perhaps so common that it cannot be called wrong; nevertheless it seems to me to be an unfortunate loosening of what we would do better to keep a tight rein on. Suppose that box of chocolates I mentioned earlier had not been given to both boys jointly, but was given only to the older boy. There he sits stolidly eating his way through the box. his small brother watching enviously. Here we are likely to say, "You ought not to be so mean. You ought to give your brother some of those chocolates." My own view is that it just does not follow from the truth of this that the brother has any right to any of the chocolates. If the boy refuses to give his brother any he is greedy stingy. callous--but not unjust. I suppose that the people I have in mind will say it does follow that the brother has a right to some of the chocolates, and thus that the boy does act unjustly if he refuses to give his brother any. But the effect of saying, this is to obscure what we should keep distinct, namely the difference between the boy's refusal in this case and the boy's refusal in the earlier case, in which the box was given to both boys jointly, and in which the small brother thus had what was from any point of view clear title to half.
A further objection to so using the term "right" that from the fact that A ought to do a thing for B it follows that R has a right against A that A do it for him, is that it is going to make the question of whether or not a man has a right to a thing turn on how easy it is to provide him with it; and this seems not merely unfortunate, but morally unacceptable. Take the case of Henry Fonda again. I said earlier that I had no right to the touch of his cool hand on my fevered brow even though I needed it to save my life. I said it would be frightfully nice of him to fly in from the West Coast to provide me with it, but that I had no right against him that he should do so. But suppose he isn't on the West Coast. Suppose he has only to walk across the room, place a hand briefly on my brow--and lo, my life is saved. Then surely he ought to do it-it would be indecent to refuse. Is it to be said, "Ah, well, it follows that in this case she has a right to the touch of his hand on her brow, and so it would be an injustice in him to refuse"? So that I have a right to it when it is easy for him to provide it, though no right when it's hard? It's rather a shocking idea that anyone's rights should fade away and disappear as it gets harder and harder to accord them to him.
So my own view is that even though you ought to let the violinist use your kidneys for the one hour he needs, we should not conclude that he has a right to do so--we should say that if you refuse, you are, like the boy who owns all the chocolates and will give none away, self-centered and callous, indecent in fact, but not unjust. And similarly, that even supposing a case in which a woman pregnant due to rape ought to allow the unborn person to use her body for the hour he needs, we should not conclude that he has a right to do so; we should say that she is self-centered, callous, indecent, but not unjust, if she refuses. The complaints are no less grave; they are just different. However, there is no need to insist on this point. If anyone does wish to deduce "he has a right" from "you ought," then all the same he must surely grant that there are cases in which it is not morally required of you that you allow that violinist to use your kidneys, and in which he does not have a right to use them, and in which you do not do him an injustice if you refuse. And so also for mother and unborn child. Except in such cases as the unborn person has a right to demand it--and we were leaving open the possibility that there may be such cases--nobody is morally required to make large sacrifices, of health, of all other interests and concerns, of all other duties and commitments, for nine years, or even for nine months, in order to keep another person alive.
We have in fact to distinguish between two kinds of Samaritan: the Good Samaritan and what we might call the Minimally Decent Samaritan. The story of the Good Samaritan, you will remember, goes like this:
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was, and when he saw him he had compassion on him.
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, "Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." (Luke 10:30-35)
The Good Samaritan went out of his way, at some cost to himself, to help one in need of it. We are not told what the options were, that is, whether or not the priest and the Levite could have helped by doing less than the Good Samaritan did, but assuming they could have, then the fact they did nothing at all shows they were not even Minimally Decent Samaritans, not because they were not Samaritans, but because they were not even minimally decent.
These things are a matter of degree, of course, but there is a difference, and it comes out perhaps most clearly in the story of Kitty Genovese, who, as you will remember, was murdered while thirty-eight people watched or listened, and did nothing at all to help her. A Good Samaritan would have rushed out to give direct assistance against the murderer. Or perhaps we had better allow that it would have been a Splendid Samaritan who did this, on the ground that it would have involved a risk of death for himself. But the thirty-eight not only did not do this, they did not even trouble to pick up a phone to call the police. Minimally Decent Samaritanism would call for doing at least that, and their not having done it was monstrous.
After telling the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said, "Go, and do thou likewise." Perhaps he meant that we are morally required to act as the Good Samaritan did. Perhaps he was urging people to do more than is morally required of them. At all events it seems plain that it was not morally required of any of the thirty-eight that he rush out to give direct assistance at the risk of his own life, and that it is not morally required of anyone that he give long stretches of his life--nine years or nine months--to sustaining the life of a person who has no special right (we were leaving open the possibility of this) to demand it.
Indeed, with one rather striking class of exceptions, no one in any country in the world is legally required to do anywhere near as much as this for anyone else. The class of exceptions is obvious. My main concern here is not the state of the law in respect to abortion, but it is worth drawing attention to the fact that in no state in this country is any man compelled by law to be even a Minimally Recent Samaritan to any person; there is no law under which charges could be brought against the thirty eight who stood by while Kitty Genovese died. By contrast, in most states in this country women are compelled by law to be not merely Minimally Decent Samaritans, but Good Samaritans to unborn persons inside them. This doesn't by itself settle anything one way or the other, because it may well be argued that there should be laws in this country as there are in many European countries--compelling at least Minimally Decent Samaritanism. But it does show that there is a gross injustice in the existing state of the law. And it shows also that the groups currently working against liberalization of abortion laws, in fact working toward having it declared unconstitutional for a state to permit abortion, had better start working for the adoption of Good Samaritan laws generally, or earn the charge that they are acting in bad faith.
I should think, myself, that Minimally Decent Samaritan laws would be one thing, Good Samaritan laws quite another, and in fact highly improper. But we are not here concerned with the law. What we should ask is not whether anybody should be compelled by law to be a Good Samaritan, but whether we must accede to a situation in which somebody is being compelled--by nature, perhaps--to be a Good Samaritan. We have, in other words, to look now at third-party interventions. I have been arguing that no person is morally required to make large sacrifices to sustain the life of another who has no right to demand them, and this even where the sacrifices do not include life itself; we are not morally required to be Good Samaritans or anyway Very Good Samaritans to one another. But what if a man cannot extricate himself from such a situation? What if he appeals to us to extricate him? It seems to me plain that there are cases in which we can, cases in which a Good Samaritan would extricate him. There you are, you were kidnapped, and nine years in bed with that violinist lie ahead of you. You have your own life to lead. You are sorry, but you simply cannot see giving up so much of your life to the sustaining of his. You cannot extricate yourself, and ask us to do so. I should have thought that--in light of his having no right to the use of your body--it was obvious that we do not have to accede to your being forced to give up so much. We can do what you ask. There is no injustice to the violinist in our doing so.
Following the lead of the opponents of abortion, I have throughout been speaking of the fetus merely as a person, and what I have been asking is whether or not the argument we began with, which proceeds only from the fetus's being a person, really does establish its conclusion. I have argued that it does not.
But of course there are arguments and arguments, and it may be said that I have simply fastened on the wrong one. It may be said that what is important is not merely the fact that the fetus is a person, but that it is a person for whom the woman has a special kind of responsibility issuing from the fact that she is its mother. And it might be argued that all my analogies are therefore irrelevant--for you do not have that special kind of responsibility for that violinist; Henry Fonda does not have that special kind of responsibility for me. And our attention might be drawn to the fact that men and women both are compelled by law to provide support for their children
I have in effect dealt (briefly) with this argument in section 4 above; but a (still briefer) recapitulation now may be in order. Surely we do not have any such "special responsibility" for a person unless we have assumed it, explicitly or implicitly. If a set of parents do not try to prevent pregnancy, do not obtain an abortion, but rather take it home with them, then they have assumed responsibility for it, they have given it rights, and they cannot now withdraw support from it at the cost of its life because they now find it difficult to go on providing for it. But if they have taken all reasonable precautions against having a child, they do not simply by virtue of their biological relationship to the child who comes into existence have a special responsibility for it. They may wish to assume responsibility for it, or they may not wish to. And I am suggesting that if assuming responsibility for it would require large sacrifices, then they may refuse. A Good Samaritan would not refuse--or anyway, a Splendid Samaritan, if the sacrifices that had to be made were enormous. But then so would a Good Samaritan assume responsibility for that violinist; so would Henry Fonda, if he is a Good Samaritan, fly in from the West Coast and assume responsibility for me.
My argument will be found unsatisfactory on two counts by many of those who want to regard abortion as morally permissible. First, while I do argue that abortion is not impermissible, I do not argue that it is always permissible. There may well be cases in which carrying the child to term requires only Minimally Decent Samaritanism of the mother, and this is a standard we must not fall below. I am inclined to think it a merit of my account precisely that it does not give a general yes or a general no. It allows for and supports our sense that, for example, a sick and desperately frightened fourteen-year-old schoolgirl, pregnant due to rape, may of course choose abortion, and that any law which rules this out is an insane law. And it also allows for and supports our sense that in other cases resort to abortion is even positively indecent. It would be indecent in the woman to request an abortion, and indecent in a doctor to perform it, if she is in her seventh month, and wants the abortion just to avoid the nuisance of postponing a trip abroad. The very fact that the arguments I have been drawing attention to treat all cases of abortion, or even all cases of abortion in which the mother's life is not at stake, as morally on a par ought to have made them suspect at the outset.
Second, while I am arguing for the permissibility of abortion in some cases, I am not arguing for the right to secure the death of the unborn child. It is easy to confuse these two things in that up to a certain point in the life of the fetus it is not able to survive outside the mother's body; hence removing it from her body guarantees its death. But they are importantly different. I have argued that you are not morally required to spend nine months in bed, sustaining the life of that violinist, but to say this is by no means to say that if, when you unplug yourself, there is a miracle and he survives, you then have a right to turn round and slit his throat. You may detach yourself even if this costs him his life; you have no right to be guaranteed his death, by some other means, if unplugging yourself does not kill him. There are some people who will feel dissatisfied by this feature of my argument. A woman may be utterly devastated by the thought of a child, a bit of herself, put out for adoption and never seen or heard of again. She may therefore want not merely that the child be detached from her, but more, that it die. Some opponents of abortion are inclined to regard this as beneath contempt--thereby showing insensitivity to what is surely a powerful source of despair. All the same, I agree that the desire for the child's death is not one which anybody may gratify, should it turn out to be possible to detach the child alive.
At this place, however, it should be remembered that we have only been pretending throughout that the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. A very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person, and so is not dealt with by anything I have said here.