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Life, death and politics : A run-down of the abortion debate

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  1. Introduction
  2. Beginning of human life
  3. Immorality of abortion
  4. The religious aspect
  5. Justifying abortion
  6. Abortion and personal choice
  7. Abortion and the constitution
  8. Legal status of abortion
  9. Conclusion

Few issues have fostered such controversy as has the topic of abortion. The participants in the abortion debate not only have firmly-fixed beliefs, but each group has a self-designated appellation that clearly reflects what they believe to be the essential issues. On one side, the pro-choice supporters see individual choice as central to the debate: If a woman cannot choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, a condition which affects her body and possibly her entire life, then she has lost one of her most basic human rights. These proponents of abortion believe that while a fetus is a potential life, its life cannot be placed on the same level with that of a woman. On the other side, the pro-life opponents of abortion argue that the fetus is human and therefore given the same human rights as the mother. Stated simply, they believe that when a society legalizes abortion, it is sanctioning murder. In today's more industrialized societies, technology has simplified the abortion procedure to a few basic and safe methods. Technology, however, has also enhanced society's knowledge of the fetus.

[...] The merger is complete within twelve hours, at which time the egg is fertilized and becomes known as a "zygote," containing the full set of forty-six chromosomes required to create a new human life. It is at that point that life begins and should be respected with the same laws that apply to us all, whether we are dependent on a womb or not. Conception creates life and makes that life one of a kind. The opposition would argue otherwise. [...]

[...] When the day comes that the decision to bear a child is a moral choice, then and only then, the human liberation of women will be a reality. Those who believe abortion should not be a personal choice argue that the fetus is a separate entity form the woman who carries it, and therefore entitled to the right to lice. They believe that women who choose to abort do so primarily out of convenience, a fact which trivializes unborn human life. [...]

[...] Conversely, proponents of abortion deny that the fetus is human life, particularly during its embryonic stage of development, and therefore believe that the termination of fetal life does not constitute homicide. Further, proponents of abortion justify the termination of fetal life by asserting that the woman has the ultimate right to control her own body; that no individual has any right to force a woman to carry a pregnancy that she does not want; that parents have the moral responsibility and constitutional obligation to bring into this world only children who are wanted, loved, and provided for, so that they can realize their human potential; and that children have basic human and constitutional rights, which include the right to have loving, caring parents, sound health, protection form harm, and a social and physical environment that permits healthy human development and the assurance of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Conclusion: if a child cannot be cared for properly, it should not be brought into this world. [...]

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