Abortion: An Overview

by GenLeveille on September 9, 2013 - 11:53pm

Geneviève Léveillé

ISSUE ANALYSIS – News summary & Analysis


Abortion: freedom or offense?

            An abortion is a procedure used to end a pregnancy. Most Canadians agree with the present law concerning abortion whereas conservative and liberal politicians support some change or prohibition concerning elective abortion. An “elective abortion” is a procedure that is not medically necessary compared to a “therapeutic” abortion which is done medically because it is needed. Usually, elective abortions are done within the first semester of pregnancy, when the embryo is not developed into a foetus. Even if abortion is legalized in Canada since 20 years, there are some provinces like New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island who do not have medical clinic providing abortion services. This shows how abortion is still an ethical issue and how it separate the society in two groups: Pro-choice and Pro-Life.


        And what if a woman get raped and become pregnant? And what if the contraceptive of a young girl had failed in its mission? These are the questions REAL Women of Canada and Birthright underlined in their campaign for the right to abortion in Canada. They argue that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom should be respected. Women should have the right of freedom, of happiness, and prosperity. For example, if a woman get raped and become pregnant, she has the right to abort because it was not her choice. A woman should have the entire control of her body and if she wants to abort, it is her decision and she should benefits from this action. The ethical principle of “always act in accordance to your own self-interest” is used in this concept. The group also puts emphasis on the right of personal choice. Another argument is that if a woman is in danger during her pregnancy, she should have the right to abort (therapeutic abortion). The ethical principle of beneficence greatly illustrates this argument. This side of the debate convey values of individual freedom, safety and justice.


         We all have the right to live! Avoiding responsibilities of motherhood is an offense! Such are the statements of conservative politicians, Pro-life groups and the Catholic Church against abortion. They argue that abortion is a self-serving act of convenience which contravene to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom concerning the right to live. The ethical principal of the “sanctity of life” is strongly used in this side of the debate. The present government of Canada does not support any legislation to regulate abortion. The government argue that abortion should only be used (with good reasons) as a therapeutic procedure and not as a contraceptive method or as elective abortion. Pro-life groups are claiming the legal existence of the foetus and therefore, that abortion is a murder following the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. The ethical principle of “do no harm” is shown by this argument. This side of the debate conveys values of parental and collective responsibility, family and also catholic perspectives.


         In my opinion, the stronger side of this debate is the Pro-Choice because the values conveyed in their arguments are significant to me. I agree that we shall have entire control of our body and that we should be able to do what we want. Freedom and justice are values important to me that should be respected. Furthermore, there is a controversial issue about foetus being a “human” only after a semester of pregnancy. This argument is weak because it is not black on white, and it is in that a grey zone, an area where it is relative from on individual to another. Indeed, I think that we should allow abortion for an important personal reason, but not as a contraceptive method. What will be the solution to this issue?



Klassen, Jeff., and Jacqui Clydesdale. “Abortion: An Overview”. Canadian Points

            of View (2009), p.1-1. Canadian Points of View Reference Center. Web. 08

            sept. 2013.


Pro-Life groups are what we can call deontologists. Since they strongly value life, no matter what the reasons are, ending a life is just wrong for them. I have to admit it, sometimes having a deontologist point of view is necessary to distinguish a bad action from a good one. However, in this case I believe that they should realize that we are in the 21st century. All the reasons for abortion which you mentioned earlier are part of our society: Rape, failing of contraceptives, bad environment. It is not a secret that in the past women did not have as many rights as today and so those reasons for abortion were kept a secret. But today women have rights and therefore have the right to speak up and decide whether or not they are ready to have a baby. However, I do believe that it is a doctor’s obligation to verify if a woman is using abortion constantly. If she is, it is important to make sure that she uses it for the reasons you mentioned in your article and not for a contraception method.

I strongly agree with your comment. The pro-life point of view is totally deontological and considers abortion as being wrong whatever the context is. This is why I agree with the pro-choice point of view. I think the most important thing in life is to be happy and if a woman knows that she will not be able to provide for her baby; or she has a style of life that does not fit with having a baby she can take the decision to use abortion. However I don’t think abortion is really used as a contraceptive method since we have way simpler methods but if this is the case the woman should be taken in charge by a doctor who will offer her different contraceptive methods.

I totally agree on your position about abortion. I choose to respond to your post because I think that abortion is an important debate in our society, and I strongly believe in freedom of choice and think that every woman should have the right to decide whether or not they want to have a child. In my opinion, we cannot decide for a woman what she is going to do with her own body. We cannot judge if abortion is right or wrong, since we don’t know the circumstances surrounding their pregnancy. What if she had been abused? What if she forgot once to take her pills? Or if the contraceptive method simply did not work? I think that to abolish abortion would be to disrespect women’s rights of freedom. Moreover, an unwanted pregnancy has consequences not only on the mother’s future, but also on the child’s life. The ethical principle of the “Greater Good” can be applied in that case, since it might be better to choose abortion than to raise a child in bad conditions. Which values are more valuable to the government: the freedom of choice or the sanctity of life? And furthermore, is a one semester embryo considered as a living being?

I have chosen to reply to your post concerning abortion, seeing as it is a prominent debatable subject in today's world. Abortion is followed with multiple ethical guidelines that try to determine whether or not it is moral to end a life before it has basically begun. In my opinion, which is similar to yours, I believe that abortion should be permitted, simply due to the fact that women are not always in control of how exactly they became impregnated. As you mentioned, rape is a common example, where the woman gets pregnant without her obvious consent. In this case, I believe that it would be wrong to force the woman to raise the child if she did not want it in the first place. I believe that enforcing abortion in this situation would simply be enforcing the freedom of rights, allowing woman to have full control of their bodies. The only downfall about abortion being legal would be that all cases related to abortion do not have to do with rape or something of such serious matter. Some people chose not to be responsible and end up pregnant when they clearly did not want a child. In this case, I believe that it is extremely wrong for someone to turn to abortion, seeing as they should be held responsible for their careless actions. As much as I believe that abortion should be enforced in some situations, would the allowance of it in society be seen as an open door to some, to end the lives of their future children for no good enough reason?