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Abortion: Wrong or right?

Abortion is an extremely controversial topic, and I believe that women should be able to choose what happens to their own bodies. If abortion was illegal, the maternal death toll due to unsafe abortions would rise dramatically, and overpopulation would become an even more prominent issue. A woman should be able to have a say in a situation involving her body, and those who oppose abortion shouldn't care about a personal decision that doesn't affect them. I can understand that some people look at it as a form of murder. But i can't understand why people continue to pick and choose what is "justifiable" murder, and what is bad murder. Murder is murder. We can send people to war, we can legalize the death penalty, but abortion is STILL wrong? I think that people with different religious and cultural backgrounds have different unique perspectives, so I would love to here opinions. It doesn't matter whether the comments are anti-abortion or not.

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    Apr 16 2013: Hi Jessica,
    Abortion has been a practice since the beginning of humankind. There are herbs that will induce abortion, it has been performed by medicine men, shamans, witch doctors, men in back alleys with various sticks, wires, and unsterile instruments, women/girls have performed abortions on themselves with a wire coathanger. Many girls and women have died from infections and hemorhaging.

    Girls and women WILL take control of their own bodies, and no one has the right to control what a person does with his/her body.

    It is interesting that those who oppose abortion because they say it is murder, often blow up women's health clinics, killing health care professionals, as well as many innocent women. NO ONE has the right to decide how a woman's body is to be used, except the woman/girl herself.

    Since abortion has been a practice since the beginning of humankind, and will continue, I prefer to see it done legally, in a sterile, safe environment.

    I am not a judge, and cannot decide for another person if it is right or wrong. If however, anyone is opposed to abortion, I would like to see that person watch a 10-12 year old girl carry a pregnancy to term and deliver a child, which was not so unusual in the shelter where I volunteered. Unfortunately, the reason she carried the pregnancy to term, is because HER father was the father of HER child, and did not believe in abortion for religious sick and hypocritical is that!!!
    • Apr 16 2013: That girl deserved the right to choose, and her father is a disgusting man for not only doing that to her, but for not letting her make a decision in a situation that is so amazingly disturbing. I really appreciate your views. Thank you so much.
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        Apr 16 2013: I agree Jessica.....those girls, and every woman and girl, has the right to choose how her body will be used. Those men who are against abortion are simply trying to control the choices of girls/women. Whatever their reason is (usually religious), NOTHING gives one human being the right to control another human being's choices regarding how his/her body will be used.
  • Apr 11 2013: Good on you for taking such an emotional subject and creating such a calm, rational discussion thread. That's impressive and rare these days, when people are willing to actually listen to the other side of an issue.

    I would say that yes, people do have the freedom to choose their actions. However, they do not have the freedom to choose the consequences of those actions. They come regardless. If a woman gets pregnant and doesn't want the baby, she has three choices: Bear it to term and keep it, bear it to term and give it up for adoption, or kill it. Her initial choice was to have sex without birth control (excluding the case of rape). The consequences are not nice, no matter how you slice it. I have never met a woman who has had an abortion and not regretted it deeply later. Granted, it's not something I talk about with every woman I come across, but those that I have talked with about it have regretted it. You're killing something, regardless of whether the baby is human or not, and for selfish reasons (again, excluding the situations of rape or the mother's life in danger). I wouldn't kill a pet just because it's in my way. I'd kill an animal I was going to eat, but not just for my convenience. As you said, murder is murder. I don't necessarily believe in war or the death penalty, although situations may require either of them. What is right and wrong does change according to the situation, and it's hard to know what it is. But I will say that your average abortion is probably being done for selfish reasons and as such is wrong. As the great philosopher Uncle Ben once said, "With great power comes great responsibility." The ability to create life is an amazing power. Both men and women need to use it responsibly.
    • Apr 11 2013: Wow, your opinion is very interesting. I have always been curious to know what others thought about such a controversial subject. You are more than right when you say that women carry out abortions for selfish reasons. An abortion isn't selfless in any way really, and yet women try to convince themselves that it is. I guess my narrow-mindedness made it difficult for me to look beyond my own perspective. I now believe that whatever is right for a certain situation should be done. Thank you so much for such an enlightening outlook.
      • Apr 12 2013: You're welcome, I'm glad I could help you in any way. That's not all my original idea, actually, I got it from my religion. But I believe it wholeheartedly.
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    Apr 16 2013: Are "right, and "wrong" our only choices?
    Judgements such as right and wrong are subjective. From whose perceptive are we to form such a judgement?
    • Apr 16 2013: This is an excellent question. We are trying to put a black and white answer to an inherently "grey" area question. We can't do this without putting our own values and thoughts into the process. It is a struggle to come up with a clear answer in that regard.
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        Apr 16 2013: While I support a woman right to choice I have also always believe that it is in the interest of all concern to ultimately limit unwanted pregnancies. To this end I have advocated that men take a more proactive approach regarding birth control. Men need to act responsibly and not assume that overpopulation is a women's issue.
    • Apr 16 2013: I am sorry that I made right and wrong the only options. I wasn't necessarily thinking that my title would spark controversy, but I should have thought about it more carefully. I believe that there really is middle ground. There are aspects from many perspectives that are all understandable, so saying something is right or wrong isn't the way to go about things. I apologize for not bringing clarity to my title.
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        Apr 16 2013: Jessica,

        You were not off base with your question, because "right" or "wrong" is often the only way people know how to "judge" this issue. If the majority of people could experience, or even begin to understand the confusion women/girls face with this issue, more people may be able to see the middle ground and have compassion.

        As long as people are "stuck" in their beliefs of "right", or "wrong", it will continue to be controversial.
        • Apr 25 2013: The issue is that people were raised to believe something was/is "wrong" or "right", and so they have difficulty looking beyond their outlook. I believe that people are afraid to admit that the sides of this controversy have a lot in-common, because negotiation = surrender in some peoples eyes.
      • Apr 26 2013: Further down this thread I posted several "laws" that show that abortion is indisputably "right". The laws show that we all have a choice, we may --only-- choose to save a born person or a fetus. There is no other possibility if one calls themselves pro life or if they have a moral or legal obligation to save life.
        For example there are 1.8 born babies, children or adults dying each second. There are more people dying than can be saved. For that reason those who wish to save life must choose whom to save. If they choose to spend one second saving fetuses, then in that second 1.8 born babies will die. So the choice is between saving a born baby, child or adult or a fetus. Either the born or the unborn will die.
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    • Apr 25 2013: That is very true, and I find it comical that some men have such strong beliefs and views, considering they do not have the capabilities to get pregnant. If men had the ability to get pregnant, I feel as though their opinions might appear differently
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      Apr 25 2013: Good point Kate and Jessica, and that is how it was in the other TED conversations I participated in regarding this topic.

      Some men respond here with respect, compassion and understanding, supporting women in the choices they/we make. Others seem to think they have a right to control how girls/women's bodies will be used. It is both comical, as you say Jessica, and sad.
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    Apr 15 2013: G'day Jessica

    Right of course however if one is going to fall pregnant continuously & expect to have abortions all the time no.

    The next question is why force an unwanted baby onto a mother who doesn't want a baby, I was abused as a child, this is just going to add to that which is utterly immoral in my mind, for the child that is.

  • Dan F

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    Apr 14 2013: As a biologist, my view of life is that it ensues from conception. Life is developmental and the time elapsed needs to be a key concern in exercising the choice for an abortion, which the law understandably addresses in terms of a woman's rights.

    I do support a woman's right to chose, but as with most rights restrictions need to be observed. This decision needs to be addressed immediately upon the knowledge of pregnancy for obvious reasons.

    I am for fewer babies because the world is overcrowded. The best way to have fewer babies is to prevent conception and that technology is incredibly safe simple and these devices are available to do just that with the benefit of enabling those so inclined to enjoy all the unproductive sex desired. The only thing worse than children having sex too soon is children having an unwanted baby or experiencing the trauma of an abortion resulting from unprotected sex.

    I like what Melina Gates had to say about birth control and family planning (past TED Talk). I also think the morning after pill, needs to be readily available to anyone and everyone upon request. Why would we want anyone to have a child that doesn't want one? There are too many children being abused due to inadequate care from their parent(s).

    I think it would be best to reduce unwanted pregnancies via more concentrated efforts to make birth control easier to learn about and practice, thereby reducing abortion via preventative behavior.

    Abortion is one of those rights no one brags about, but most of us recognize the justification for this legal provision. It's not a matter of weather it is right or wrong, but defendable as a legal and medical practice for those requesting this service.
    • Apr 14 2013: As a biologist you should be aware that until the DNA of the genotype actually expresses the correct phenotype one cannot tell if the product of conception will in fact be human or alive. And you should be aware that there is no "green light" that indicates that any zygote/embryo/fetus will live to birth. So there is no way to prove life at conception until the birth of the fetus and then the proof is by implication.
      The fact is that the new DNA fused at fertilization is the product of the old DNA of the parents that has very little change other than that which occurs by error. And you should be aware that 70 percent of conceptions die in the first trimester. For those reasons alone it should be clear that life at conception is not the norm but a well defined possibility defined by the death rate of zygotes. It is not life at conception, it is potential life at conception and the potential is less than 30 percent.
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    Apr 14 2013: The sexual choice that leads to conception was, usually, shared. Yet biological and economic realities place most of the long term risk firmly on the mother. Until there is assurance that the consequences of continuing the pregnancy will not reside primarily with her, then I believe that even to debate such a matter is to continue the force of social coercion that is being disproportionately levelled against women. Certainly men are not in a position to pass judgment on abortion. I suggest that those who are intent on this debate should redirect their energies to creation of social safety nets that would alleviate single mothers of the onerously one sided risk that they are facing in choosing to bear a child. Or perhaps such an institution should be created by the state?
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    Apr 14 2013: It's legal in India. Since I have no religious affiliation, I don't subscribe to the idea of religious-moral point of the decision of medical termination of pregnancy. I have a social view about it.
    Abortion is right when the pregnancy threatens the mother's health and life. It may be right in case of pregnancies out of forced sex or rape where the female should have the last word though. But abortion is wrong, and particularly after 4 weeks of pregnancy, just because the consequences are not favorable for the pregnant mother or biological father - consequences like social dishonor, undisclosed identity of biological father or in extreme case when the sex of the fetus is undesired.
    As long as we live in civilized societies, we need to be responsible for our actions. Sex is not excluded from that responsibility.
  • Apr 16 2013: Agreed. I believe that there are cases where abortion would be justified. Though personally I would find those cases to be rare and far between. In the case of "eliminating unwanted pregnancy", simply so you are not pregnant, I don't find that an appropriate use of abortion.

    I also agree that a more proactive approach to birth control is justified. As an educator, I have tried to instill in young men and young women that these choices, to engage in sexual activity, are adult choices with adult consequences and both members must make intelligent adult decisions to protect themselves. It is a tough task to teach in many ways. But a proactive, positive approach is far better than some of the other efforts out there.
  • Apr 14 2013: The Law of Consent: Any consent to a sexual act by a woman that could lead to pregnancy is implied consent to abortion.

    It is generally accepted that as many as 50 to 75 percent of conceptions end in natural abortion. The Theory of Consent states: If a person intentionally has sex they are intentionally consenting to abort as many as 75 percent of their conceptions. A person can’t have sex without actual implied consent to abortion.
  • Apr 14 2013: The Law of Charity: There are more people dying than can be saved.

    Simply put there are as many as 57 million people that die each year. The Theory of Choice states: A person must choose to either save a zygote/embryo/fetus or a born person. Every choice to save one life simply allows another to die. Pro lifers simply choose to save fetuses and let children die. There is no “net” gain in life saved due to the fact that these laws limit when life can actually be saved. The greatest error of pro lifers is that by attempting to save a fetus, they are causing the death of more people than one would expect. For example if a person uses their charity to save a born child then the odds are, the child will live. But if they attempt to save a fetus the odds of saving the fetus at conception is only 30 percent and at birth only 99.5 percent. Most of the time, pro lifers waste resources that could be used to save life.

    The Law of Preclusion: In the first nine months of a pregnancy a forced pregnancy precludes another pregnancy.

    The Theory of Preclusion states: If a woman is forced to give birth to one child then for a period of nine months she cannot intentionally become pregnant with another child. As a single example, if a woman is raped a few days before her wedding and becomes pregnant, then for nine months she cannot become pregnant with her husband’s child. If her intent was to have her husband’s child after marriage then that becomes impossible. If she aborts the child of the rapist and immediately becomes pregnant by her husband, then there is no loss of life. If she keeps the rapist’s fetus there is no gain in life because she is denying life to her husband’s child. Now if the woman and husband can only afford one child, then they are stuck their entire life with the child of the rapist and denied the child of the husband. No life is saved by saving the rapist’s fetus and in fact the life of the wanted child is lost.

    Continued below
  • Apr 14 2013: The response of humans to abortion is mediated by 6 scientific laws that make it clear that abortion is not murder and that it may in fact lead to more life and not less life. Abortion is neither moral nor immoral according to the laws. If anything the laws indicate that abortion should lead one to consider triage to determine when abortion should be used.

    1) The Law of New Life: All new life starts with old DNA.

    Old DNA and new DNA can be altered by natural processes and outside forces. All new DNA is created by old DNA. The Theory of New Life states: The process of conception is controlled by the old DNA that creates the new DNA. The new life is mitigated by the old DNA. The information needed to build new DNA is contained in the old DNA. The new Life can only contain the possibilities that are provided with the old DNA’s data as modified by natural processes and outside forces.

    2) The Law of Life: It is impossible at conception to tell if a human life will survive through birth.

    The Theory of Life states: It is impossible to know if a fetus will live until the DNA of life has run its entire code. For example if a programmer writes a code and runs the code, he cannot know if there is an error in the code until it has run in its entirety. Therefore one cannot know if a zygote will in fact be a baby until it is born. If one treats a zygote as a baby and gives it the rights of a human, the best they can possibly hope for is that they will be right somewhere between 30 percent and 99.5 percent of the time that it will be born.
    The Law of Conception: Most conceptions end in abortion.

    The Theory of Conception states: Abortion is a natural and expected consequence of sex. It therefore cannot be true that there is “life at conception”. In fact it is usually death at conception. Any attempt to enforce “life at conception” will therefore waste resources that could be used to save life.
    Continued below.
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    Apr 14 2013: Wrong! and so are the conditions that led up to it.

    People don't abort their children because they think it is right. They abort their children because they don't want to deal with the consequences.

    Yet people are human. Animal passions lead people to do things against their better judgment. People know what causes pregnancy. Yet they take the risk because sex is a powerful human emotion. And we can't forget the number of women who are used, abused, and raped by conceited men.

    Should we pass laws to make abortion illegal? With over ten thousand people dying everyday from starvation and want of simple medicine, how can the quality of life on this planet be improved by adding to that number a host of unwanted babies. They say that the worst emotion is the absence of love. Many babies have suffered mental disturbances because they weren't loved.

    I know a person who chose to have her child. Her boyfriend was a drug user. He left her when she became pregnant. The child turned out to be legally blind, legally deaf, and suffers from mental handicaps. The mother still loves the child. Yet the child will need medical attention until the day of death.

    Although I don't agree with abortion, I will challenge any law against it. Until we learn to make right choices in childbearing, the abortion issue is going to be a hot debate. We all have to answer for our actions. We have the right to give our opinion, but I don't believe we have the right to force our beliefs on others. Rather, let us try to create a loving environment that will influence others in choosing to bring their child into the world. Less people would choose abortion if they knew that love rather than judgment was awaiting them.
  • Apr 13 2013: I am a firm believer in choice it is the woman’s choice to have an abortion. If she were carring my child I would beg her to give “birth” to “it” and let me raise “it”. But until she gives “birth” to “it” it is connected to her and is a part of her like all the other cells that are apart of her. Because in modern medicine any cell in the body can become a fetus by injecting the DNA of the cell into a egg. And contrary to Random Chance's comment its not slavery. The cells in a persons body are there's and there's alone; including the cell's that can become a sentient being after they are ejected from the body during “BIRTH” in the hopes thoes cells will cooperate with each other enough to become there own sentient being
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      Apr 15 2013: Where does the intent to create life enter into this?
      • Apr 16 2013: sorry Theodore not sure im following you? can you elaborate on your sentence?
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          Apr 16 2013: Clinically, in cases of artificial insemination, there is the intent to create life, a child. I'm not certain that this is true in many instances of copulation.
          To say, "If she were caring my child..." indicates a certain willingness to relinquish responsibility for a pregnancy to ones partner.
  • Apr 13 2013: Both.
    I agree that it is a woman's body, but the very tiny body inside her, is not hers.
    Why isn't that correct? Ownership of another, called slavery, has been abolished.
    Well, we all know that ain't true since there is more slavery in the world than any other time in history.
    But, if ownership is a key or part of the key, then I believe a man, or the donor if you prefer, has equal say
    as to what is done.
    Thus, what should be against the law is forcing a woman if she doesn't want to have an abortion or having one without the father/donor's knowledge and full consent.
    Other than that, when we kill something we call it killing.
    When it is human we call it murder and you are right when you say, "murder is murder" and the hypocrisy is clear.
    We have morons in office who justify murder, tell others it's okay to murder others, and they are usually individuals who claim a religious, higher moral ground, i.e. God, Christianity, Commandments, one of which says, "thou shalt not kill" and it doesn't say what, so it must mean anything or anybody.

    Ultimately I believe we should stay out of other people's business.
    If we weren't so brainwashed with the false idea of a God, we might just be able to accomplish that.
    Maybe Edward Long is right but he has no right telling me what is right for me or anyone else.
    The power of life is that one can do anything one wants to. There is no real thing called karma.
    There are only those who play god and love shedding the blood of others. That is their thirst they found once upon a time in a Middle Eastern desert.

    Apparently, throughout time, up to the very present, killing is not wrong, immoral or evil.
    How do I know this? Because those who told me it is are the ones who have been doing the most killing, over time and have the list of justifiable reasons for doing so.

    I don't think abortion is good in most cases. I think there are better ways to deal with such issues and one such
    way involves really getting rid of the lies about sex.
  • Apr 12 2013: I agree with Edward Long and Keith Wessman.

    Abortion is wrong unless necessary.

    There are many acts that are wrong, but are still legal. Abortion, even when wrong, should be legal because the government should not have the power to make this decision for the mother.
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    Apr 11 2013: Surgery: right or wrong? Gunpowder: right or wrong? Nuclear power: right or wrong? We humans have the capacity to pervert anything and take it to dreadful excess. On very, very, rare occasions the medical termination of a human life without the consent of the unborn victim is the best course of action. Any other time such an act is evil. Is abortion right?. . . under very specific medical circumstances, yes. Is unrestricted abortion-at-will wrong ?. . . yes.
    • Apr 11 2013: Yes, we do have the capacity to pervert anything, and I believe that if a woman has no significant reason as to why she wants an abortion, that it is wrong. For meaningful reasons, I think that our right to choose should be stressed. Like you said, if there is a medical condition present that could result in the death of the mother and the kid(s), I would hope that abortion was an option, and for the meantime, it is. I truly appreciate the way you found middle ground where abortion could be considered right if the mother has a life threatening issue, and wrong if it is a selfish reason. Thank you for responding.
  • Apr 11 2013: I don't know that right or wrong is the correct terminology. That appears to be very black or white in the answer. There is very much a grey area with far to many nuances to sort it out easily.

    Without delving to deeply into the topic, I would say this. Right or wrong it is up to the person who makes the decision to deal with that choice including the consequences and the expense. If you wish to have an abortion, you pay for it and no one else subsidizes it. The US government subsidizing abortions through funding does not help the issue.

    If you wish to use abortion as "birth control" then I would say wrong. You made the decisions that led to pregnancy, deal with the consequences of your adult choice. Aborting a child because they don't fit your "ideal child" also not okay. There are other options.

    Now, in cases of rape or threat to mom, I don't know that I feel as strongly opposed. Those are still the women's choice, not mine to make. It is a most difficult issue to find a black and white answer to.
    • Apr 11 2013: I apologize for not being clear about what I mean by 'right or wrong'. You are absolutely correct when you say that it appears to be a very black or white answer, but my intention wasn't to arouse any form of conflict. My only intention was to hear out peoples reasons as to why they believe abortion is right or wrong. That does not mean that it actually is right or wrong, because you are right when you say there is no simple way to sort it out. There are definitely legitimate reasons why both sides of this issue deserve to be heard and considered. I believe that aborting a baby for no reason is selfish, and women always try to make it justifiable. I think that you have a very wise, intriguing perspective and I am thrilled to have had a response like yours. Thank you for the eye opening.
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    Apr 11 2013: Hi Jessica.
    I remember when abortion was legalised in the uk. All sorts of checks & balances were supposedly put in place to favour the child. Abortion would only be permitted under the most serious of circumstances. The US is apparently heading for a total of 50 MILLION abortions.
    My view is that these are children, & should be treated as such. I am a mere man, but if I could buy a child's life with a year or two of misery, I would gladly do it. If for no other reason than the regret I would have to live with.
    It is a bit of a runaway train. In order to stop it we have to admit we have been murdering our children. Not a pleasant prospect. No-one is suggesting that women should risk life & limb to carry a child; the spirit of the original bill can still be implemented, but this wanton destruction of human life must stop.

    On the same vein. I would never support a euthanasia bill for the same reason. The bill may be reasonable & alleviate a lot of suffering; but human beings seem incapable of being grateful for the inch, & feel an insatiable need to take the mile.

    • Apr 11 2013: 50 million abortions… that is such a hard thing to conceptualize. I respect your opinions and I am glad that you shared your views.
    • Apr 11 2013: Very true, I appreciate your thoughts.
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    R H

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    Apr 11 2013: I personally think that a person is created when conceived. He/she is separate from the mother, although within the mother. For me, this is the nature and reality of human reproduction - of motherhood. Now, with that said, I also believe that 'a person' is not a citizen of the state until he/she is born. So for those 9 months, the mother is god. She, and she alone, with whomever's input she solicits, is the sole and free determiner of the fate of that child and her family during that time. She decides. She, and truly all of us, then live with her decision the rest of our days - and for many, beyond.
    • Apr 11 2013: I completely understand. That mother has the power to do whatever she wants when she wants regarding the baby. I appreciate your wisdom and insight. Do you have any other opinions that might broaden my knowledge on the subject?
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        R H

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        Apr 11 2013: You are way too kind. I am grateful that you consider my comments contain 'wisdom and insight', although I always feel my views are more 'practical' than having any great depth of perception. Since you asked, when one strips away the 'emotional baggage' that comes with this subject, it becomes, for me, a question of what do I hold as valuable in life, and when does the gov't have rights. Since I hold that we are not citizens until we are born, the gov't has no rights until that event. As a 'free' individual, I am self-determining of my family structure as defined by what I hold as, in this case, my definition and value of life. Does this get real dicey when mother's become impregnated to sell fetal tissue to scientific research for profit? I would hold that, as distasteful and against my definition of humanity as it may be, the gov't has no place is such decisions, as this would be a decision regarding the freedom of individuals to be self-determining, and the gov't is charged with protecting its citizen's rights. As far as personal values and religious conviction regarding this issue, being 'free' gives me the right to hold my own definitions, whether I agree with my neighbor or not. Too many people have died to protect and guarantee my freedom and liberty, I won't give it up so easily, nor require my neighbor to give up theirs. I hope this helps in some way, whether you agree or not.
        • Apr 11 2013: Thank you so much, and your views are extremely refreshing. I have never had a conversation with someone who looks at things the way you do.

          I agree with many of the ideas you have, even if my opinions and perspectives are different. In reality, agreeing to disagree might be one of the most civil ways to go about a delicate topic like abortion. You have definitely contributed to the transforming of my perspective and I admire the way you go about stating what you believe.
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    Apr 11 2013: But the unborn has no say?

    Truthfully I think there is some middle ground here. Certainly not a 3rd trimester abortion by most people's take on the other hand not sure if 1st trimester qualifies as human life.
    • Apr 11 2013: I think that a third trimester abortion is too risky, and it seems like it would be a little too late to try and make such a significant decision that close to birth. Do you have any other opinions that you would like to share?