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Abortion Rights Vs Ethics

  • 07 Oct 2022
  • 3 min read

For Mains: Abortion Rights Vs Rights of Unborn

Why in News?

Recently, in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India allowed abortions up to 24 weeks for all women, including unmarried women.

Why is there a Debate over Abortion Rights and the Ethical Dilemma?

  • Issues with Respect to Women’s Right:
    • Woman’s Right over her Body:
      • A woman's right over her body has been advocated as a premise for freedom.
      • One cannot force a woman to bear a child in her womb and give birth to a child if she does not want to do so for various reasons.
    • Health:
      • Unwanted pregnancies affect both physical and mental health.
    • Gender Equality:
      • The right to abortion is vital for gender equality.
      • The right to abortion should be part of a portfolio of pregnancy rights that enables women to make a truly free choice whether to end a pregnancy.
  • Issues with respect to Feotus:
    • Right to Life: Abortion amounts to the murder of a living being.
    • Motherly Care: It is a unique unspoken bond shared between two lives, which cannot be questioned or regulated by laws.
  • Issues with respect to Society in General:
    • Responsibility of State: The State has the responsibility of valuing each life.
    • Inclusion of all: Abortion should not become a mechanism of social control for avoiding the appearance of differences or disabilities.
    • Giving better life for Existing Children: Many times, parents want abortion to be able to give a good life to existing children instead of dividing their meager resources into more children.

What are the Arguments against Abortion?

  • Abortion is not viewed by some as liberating, but rather as a way for society not to cater to women's needs.
  • Women don't need free abortion access, but their needs for financial and social survival as mothers are what they need for equality:
    • inexpensive, readily available childcare
    • a workplace or school that acknowledges the needs of mothers,
      • e.g., providing flexible scheduling and maternity leave,
    • state support that helps to reintegrate a woman into the workforce

What should be the Ethical approach to Abortion?

  • Ethical approaches to abortion frequently invoke four principles.
    • Respect for patients’ autonomy
    • Nonmaleficence (do no harm)
    • Beneficence (beneficial care) and
    • Justice
  • The abortion dilemma has overlapping issues from different realms like legal, medical, ethical, philosophical, religious and human rights and it should be analysed from different perspectives.
  • There cannot be any hard and fast rule over abortion and it must be discussed and deliberated to evolve a common consensus.

Source: IE

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