Abortion – Public Participation in Controversial Policy


The legality of abortion still remains one of the most divisive issues in contemporary times. Abortions have long been procured to terminate pregnancies for medical reasons such as ectopic pregnancies and in the cases involving individuals who simply feel unprepared for parenthood. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been at the forefront of investigating this occurrence and now estimates that over 50 million abortions are conducted annually (Abortion Statistics, 2019). This essay will discuss both sides of the political argument on abortion using an ethical analysis framework, provide recommendations on how policy makers can reconcile differing wishes of the public and discuss aspects of a Christian worldview which might inform the approach policy makers take to create public policies focusing on abortion.

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Both sides of the political argument

             The controversy surrounding abortion in the United States revolves around two distinct sides with varying political arguments. Those in support of the termination of pregnancies are commonly in support of the “pro-choice movement” and argue that it is a woman’s choice to decide whether to continue with or terminate a pregnancy. The “pro-choice” political argument also amalgamates persons who are firmly in support of gender parity in contemporary times. They argue that women have an inalienable right to make key decisions about their bodies and wellbeing (Abril, 2018). Thus, they are capable of making such decisions without having to rationalize their actions to anyone. On the other side of the spectrum is the “pro-life” political movement centered on the idea that abortion should be shunned based on the argument that human personhood is already present during conception. Women are, therefore, urged to carry a pregnancy to term which will ultimately allow a fetus to be born.

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            Supporters of the pro-choice movement firmly believe that abortion should be permitted since it provides women with a degree of control over their bodies. In so doing, it provides them with an opportunity to plan their lives through the application of a family planning approach solely in consideration of their bodily rights.  Proponents of abortion such as Judith J. Thompson made certain that they raised awareness regarding the need for women to exercise control over their bodies and being able to make informed choices. She was among the first persons to poke holes at the argument that conception creates a person who shares equal rights. Many are out rightly critical of this opinion since discussing embryos in the same breath as putative beings presents a problematic legal argument. It is difficult to define embryos as whole persons since they cannot enter formal agreements and cannot be sued (Bailey, 2017). . Providing women with the latitude to practice abortion, therefore, affords then control over their bodies and their life-support functions. Furthermore, those supporting the legalization of abortion also view it as a feasible alternative when confronted with ethical dilemmas such as in the case of women seeking the termination of pregnancies as a result of incest and rape.

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            The pro-life movement primarily consists of conservatives highly critical of the wide scale adoption of abortion as a routine medical practice. They firmly believe that abortion should remain illegal since it is comparable to murder. Detractors of abortion, therefore, contend that life begins at conception and the main reason why a fetus should be protected (Simon, 2013, p. 17). This argument is further supported by scientific assertions of fetus’ pain perception, especially during the initial spread of the thalamocortical connections. Individuals on the other side of the political divide who are critical of abortion, thus, view sensory perception as an important issue to consider when exploring its legality. This argument formed the basis of the  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 ruling (1973) which is remembered as one of the first legal attempts to criminalize the practice of abortion within the United States (Bailey, 2017, p. 78). This essentially meant that while women exercised a degree of control over their bodies, their influence was now limited by the law with the aim of protecting life.

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Recommendations on how policy makers can reconcile differing wishes of the public

            The presence of dissimilar opinions such as the ones offered by the abortion debate have been known to present an existential challenge for policy makers when. Although opinions from either side of the divide may be justified, it still remains impractical to implement both within a governmental framework. Policy makers, therefore, play a major role in reconciling differing wishes among citizens. An ideal recommendation on how to proceed with this process is by inviting experts to demystify the arguments presented by each group using empirical scientific evidence. This is fundamental within this framework since it broadens the perspectives of each of the parties involved in the debate. Furthermore, policy makers have a duty to organize joint conventions such as the Global Declaration on Abortion (GDA), and hearings before parliamentary subcommittees (Sanger, 2018). This would offer a unique opportunity for differing opinions to be discussed at length in a bid to reconcile wished wishes of the public.

Aspects of Christian worldview to inform abortion policy                      

Abortion has long been am issues of contention in Christianity with differences in opinion among major denominations. However, it is noteworthy to acknowledge that abortion is not mentioned explicitly in any of the books in the Christian Bible. Aspects of Christian worldview which inform abortion policy are purely grounded on an ethical standpoint. A section of Christians who are critical of abortion are critical of the practice since it takes human life. The Bible is categorical in criticizing the taking of a human life since it is written that such individuals will also be put to death (Leviticus 24; 17, NIV).

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The New Testament is also critical of all actions which are tantamount to ending a human life; “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12, NIV).Such aspects of Christian worldview have, therefore, gone a long way in informing recent efforts to abrogate pro-abortion laws to limit the negative aspects of legislations of this kind.

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