Moral permissibility of abortion
Beginning with the two opposing viewpoints on the topic of the moral permissibility of abortion
explained in the text, complete and submit a short (750 to 1000 word)
project in which you clearly state and defend a thesis on the topic.
Your essay should make good use of the two articles from the text as well as two (2) of the
assigned articles in the Abortion Review source linked in this module. The position you defend
should be informed by a particular moral principle (moral principles were introduced in Module
1) and should make meaningful reference to the chapters from the textbook and the
supplemental articles. You may also use additional academic resources. Be sure to cite all
outside sources (including textbook readings, supplemental articles, and any additional
research) used in developing your argument, using APA format.
Your essay will be evaluated on your selection, interpretation, and application of the relevant
moral principle (as well as the texts and articles that we have studied in this module) to support
your argument. Evaluation of your word choice, spelling, and punctuation, as well as the
organization of your essay, are included in the grade determination. Before you begin, please
refer to the Reflection Essay rubric for comprehensive grading criteria. Finally, remember that
while the empirical data and research are certainly relevant and important in this area, the thesis that you defend and the argument you submit are not empirical; you are developing and defending a normative argument about what is the morally correct position in this case. [MO1, 2,3]
Rubric: (see Attached .png)
Biomedical Ethics is an exploration of complex contemporary ethical problems from the fields of
biomedicine, healthcare and environmental studies. Students will apply classical and contemporary ethical
and moral theories, along with the principles of scientific integrity, to a range of problems such as human
experimentation and informed consent, endoflife
issues, reproductive technology, genetic privacy, abortion,
resource allocation and the responsibilities of humans toward their environment. Case studies will play an
integral role in the evaluation of these topics. Students will be asked to think critically about these issues,
and they will be required to make and defend principled moral judgments in their written assignments.
● Key moral principles
● Human experimentation
● Environmental ethics
● Universal healthcare
After completing this course, you should be able to:
CO1 Examine the foundations of key moral principles, including deontology and utilitarianism.
CO2 Compare the foundations of various moral principles as well as theories of distributive justice.
CO3 Apply moral principles and principles of distributive justice to medical, healthcare, and bioethical
CO4 Illustrate principled arguments in support of particular positions in bioethics.
CO5 Appraise various ethical positions, including the unspoken or unarticulated foundations of those
CO6 Analyze the values that underlie various positions in bioethics.
CO7 Examine the role that an individual plays in society and how that role affects choices and values.
CO8 Investigate the intersection of ideologies and issues at the local, national, and global level.
CO9 Write cogent, coherent, and substantially errorfree
essays or papers.
You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from
the College’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct .
● Caplan, A. & Arp, R. eds. (2014). Contemporary debates in bioethics. WileyBlackwell.
Required Article Purchase
You are required to purchase and read the following journal article:
The Willowbrook Hepatitis Studies (“The Willowbrook Hepatitis Studies Revisited: Ethical Aspects”
by Saul Krugman, Reviews of Infectious Diseases , vol., 8, no 1 JanFeb
1986, pp 157162
Note: This article can be accessed through a JPASS subscription from JSTOR ( http://jpass.jstor.org/ ). A
one month subscription to JPASS costs $19.95 and allows you to download up to 10 articles. You might also
be able to obtain the article through interlibrary loan at your local library.
Online Writing Sources and Tutorial Options
Biomedical Ethics is a writing intensive course that places great emphasis on helping you to further
develop your writing skills. Listed below are helpful writing resources and tutoring options:
● General writing reference site: The Writing Center: University of WisconsinMadison
● General writing reference site: The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue
● Research and documentation site: Research and Documentation Online (Diana Hacker)
● Tutoring options: Smarthinking—Online Tutoring: Anywhere, Anytime (see Student Resources >
Educational Resources > Online Tutoring Resources)
Biomedical Ethics is a threecredit
online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include an
overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.
● Module 1: Ethical Issues
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 5
● Module 2: Human Experimentation
Course objectives covered in this module: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
● Module 3: EndofLife
Course objectives covered in this module: 3, 4, 6, 7, 8
● Module 4: Abortion
Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
● Module 5: Genetics and the Environment
Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8
● Module 6: Universal Healthcare
Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete
written assignments, and complete a final project (including an annotated bibliography). See below for
Abortion refers to the act of terminating a pregnancy before it is due. The types of abortion are spontaneous, surgical, and medical abortion. The abortion debate has raised numerous personal opinions from people all over the world. Pro-choice abortion proponents argue that every woman has the right to perform an abortion without religious or government restrictions. Pro-life contenders argue that abortion is inhumane because it undermines the life of the unborn child. Abortion has become very common worldwide, and it has claimed the lives of potential leaders, scientists, educators, and artists. Terminating a pregnancy is murder, and it destroys innocent lives.
Human life begins at conception and ends at death, and therefore; getting rid of a fetus is considered murder. Several countries have passed laws against fetal homicide because unborn children are also human beings. These babies have their unique genetic identity, which is constant throughout their lives. Every person has the right to life, which should be protected. Legalizing abortion will encourage people to devalue and disrespect human life (Caplan & Arp, 2014).
Another reason that abortion should be prohibited is that fetuses can experience pain during the procedure. Most abortion methods are primitive, and ultrasounds show that the fetuses respond to the excruciating pain. Having sexual intercourse could lead to pregnancy, and people should own up to their mistakes. Unborn children should not suffer for the mistakes of their parents by being painfully eliminated.
A recent study revealed that most women who undergo abortions are likely to experience psychological damage. These women become prone to anxiety and depression after terminating the pregnancy. Another study showed that women who have abortions are more prone to suicide as compared to women who don’t. In some cases, men whose partners terminated pregnancies can experience sadness, guilt, and depression. Apart from psychological damage, abortions may also lead to other medical complications. Scientific research has shown that most women who have miscarriages have had induced abortions before. Women who have done a series of abortions are also prone to getting breast cancer (Dickenson, 2012).
In countries where abortion was legalized, the number of conceptions increased by thirty percent but the number of births decreased by six percent. These statistics imply that women began to use abortion as a form of contraception, and this is crude and immoral. There are safer ways to prevent pregnancy, for example, using condoms. Women who get unwanted pregnancies are encouraged to give their babies up for adoption rather than performing abortions.
Most pro-abortionists argue that women who have been raped should be allowed to have abortions. This notion has stirred a lot of debate, and those who oppose it say that abortion will not change the fact that a person has been raped. Whether or not the rape victim keeps the child, she will still have to face emotional and physical trauma. Performing an abortion will also hide the crime of the rapist who may go unpunished. It is understandable if such a woman does not want to keep the child after rape or incest, but it is better to give it up for adoption (Williams, 2007).
Another argument that pro-abortionist have is that women should be allowed to terminate pregnancies in circumstances where the fetus is severely deformed. Most types of prenatal testing for deformities are unreliable, and it is not worth risking the child’s life over an untrustworthy test report. Even in such cases, deformed children should not be aborted because they have an equal right to life. The moral thing to do is to deliver the child and offer immediate treatment (Berlatsky, 2011).
However, there are circumstances where abortion is allowed. For example, the life of the mother might be in danger, and terminating the pregnancy would save her. Another instance is when the fetus is anencephalic, meaning it cannot develop fully into a human being. It is better to save the life of the mother than to lose both lives. Pro-choice people argue that a woman is not a machine for procreation and has the freedom to decide what to do with her pregnancy. The Constitution guarantees each person the right to privacy that gives women control over their bodies. A woman may feel like she is not in the right financial, psychological, or emotional position to raise a child.
Pro-abortionists deny claims that personhood starts at conception. According to them, fetuses and embryos are entirely dependent; therefore, abortion is termination of the pregnancy, not the baby. They also refute the notion that fetuses feel physical pain during the abortion procedure because there is no legitimate scientific evidence to prove this. The reactions from the fetuses during an abortion are just reflexes and not pain responses. Another claim from pro-abortionists is that legalizing abortions will reduce the number of maternal deaths from unsafe ones. Before legalizing abortion, women would use crude tools like knitting needles and coat hangers to terminate pregnancies. Such methods destroyed their reproductive organs and led to the death of many women (Oakley, 2009).
In conclusion, it is immoral to allow people to carry out reckless sexual activity, and then give them the power over the offspring’s life. Women should not have abortions at their convenience because it is irresponsible and inhuman. No individual should be given the power to destroy another innocent life.
Berlatsky, N. (2011). Abortion. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Caplan, A. & Arp, R. (2014). Contemporary debates in bioethics. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.
Dickenson, D. (2012). Bioethics. London: Hodder Education.
Oakley, J. (2009). Bioethics. Farnham, England: Ashgate.
Williams, M. (2007). Abortion. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.