Pro-life v. pro-choice in the context of abortion

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Pro-lifev. pro-choice in the context of abortion

Theterms “pro-choice” and “pro-life” are commonly used whenadvancing a debate on the need to preserve the life of the unborn aswell we those who are already born. The proponents of the concept ofpro-life argue that people have an obligation to preserve the life ofall human beings, irrespective of viability, intent, and theperceived quality of life (Ruse 1). The proponents of the idea ofpro-choice, on the other hand, hold that people should have unlimitedfreedom or autonomy to make choices on issues that affect theirlives. However, people should not affect the autonomy of otherpeople. This paper presents an argument of pro-life versus pro-choicein the context of abortion.


  • Reproductive choices tend to empower women by allowing them to take control over their bodies.

  • Women have the right to choose not to give birth to infants with abnormalities.

  • Reproductive choices enhance the quality of life by protecting women from financial constraints.


  • Life starts at conception, which implies that reproductive choices deny the unborn the right to life.

  • Denial of right to life on the basis of abnormality is a form of overt discrimination.

  • Reproductive choices lead to the development of a culture in which life is considered as being disposable.

Controlover one’s body

Thepro-choice is founded on the idea of self-determination. The conceptof self-determination holds that people have the right to takecontrol over everything that happens to their bodies. The autonomy ofan individual decision-maker comes before everything else. Similarly,the ethical principle of autonomy holds that people have differentperspectives and interests that should be protected. Theseperspectives are based on personal beliefs and values (Denbow 216).In the case of abortion, the autonomy of pregnant women is given apriority because they have the capacity to make decisions as opposedto the unborn. Similarly, the court ruled in the case of Parenthoodv. Casey, 1992 that giving women the right to make choices regardingtheir reproductive life empowers them to participate equally insocial and economic life (Borgmann 291). Therefore, the freedom tomake choices affects all aspects of the woman’s life.

Achoice to prevent the birth of infants with abnormalities

Givingwomen the right to make reproductive choices can result in asignificant decline in cases of infants born with severeabnormalities. Some circumstances in which some women conceive theirbabies create a high risk of giving birth to children with defectsthat are likely to make them live in pain throughout their life. Foran instant, studies have shown that about 17 % of all pregnant teensabuse drugs, while pregnant women between the age of 26 years and 44years are chain smokers (Lopez, 514). In addition, drug users whoconceive before overcoming the challenge of addiction are likely toengage in risky sexual behaviors. These risky behaviors result in thebirth of children suffering from mental problems, physicaldeformation, and respiratory diseases (Lopez, 514). It would only beprudent to give women with these risky behaviors the right to abort,as pro-choice suggests, instead of forcing them to bring theirpregnancies to term.

Reproductivechoices and the quality of life

Apartfrom medical issues, pro-choice justify abortion on other grounds,such as the need to enhance financial stability. Some women choose toabort when they perceive that they do not have adequate resources totake care of the unborn. Studies have shown that about 38 % of womenabort in order to pursue their academic as well as career goals, 73 %hold that they cannot afford to give birth to babies, and 42 % of thewomen are below the federal level of poverty (Jones 175). Givingthese women the right to make choices regarding the issue of abortionprovides them with an opportunity to enhance the quality of life andprotect the unborn from leading an unfulfilling life.


Theright to life

Pro-choiceprioritizes the issue of equal participation of women in social aswell as economic life, while disregarding the right of the unborn toenjoy life. Pro-life, on the other hand, assume that the unborn arecreatures that acquired the right to life once they got conceived. Byaccepting the fact that a new life has been formed soon afterfertilization implies that the decision to allow the new creature tolive or die can no longer be based on the options or taste of theother people (Borgmann 291). It is human nature to consider life fromconception to old age as experimental evidence, instead of taking itin a metaphysical context. Therefore, unrestricted choice of women toabort the unborn results in a deliberate destruction of human life.

Denialof right to life and overt discrimination

Althoughpro-choice attempts to justify abortion on the grounds that itprevents the birth of children with defects, pro-life holds that noone has the right to kill human beings with an excuse of protectingthem from disabilities. Disabilities do not make the affected peoplelesser human beings, but there are measures put in place by thestakeholders (including the government) to ensure that they lead afulfilling life (Lopez, 514). These measures help the affected peopleto become active participants in educational, recreational, andsocial activities, all of which contribute towards making the world abetter place to live. Killing the unborn on the grounds of a highrisk of suffering from disabilities is not only illegal, but alsoimmoral.

Establishmentof the culture in which life is disposable

Pro-choicesupports the idea that women should be allowed to abort without beingrestricted by the law. Pro-life, on the other hand, holds that acommunity that allow its members to base their decision to abort ontheir opinions and tastes creates an environment in which human lifehas no or little value (Borgmann 321). This argument is based on thenotion that the unborn have attained the quality of personhood, whichmeans that they should be considered as complete human beings.Discarding these human beings during an abortion can be equated todisposal of human bodies, which is a sign of a society that does notvalue human life.


Bothpro-choice and pro-life presents valid arguments on the issue ofabortion. However, an argument that women have the freedom to choosewhether to abort or allow the pregnancy to grow to term is moreconvincing. Although the pro-life argument that the life should bepreserved in all circumstances is valid, there is need to perform acost-benefit analysis of bringing certain pregnancies to term. Forexample, women can avoid giving birth to children with seriousdeformities or get a chance to advance their career as well asfinancial stability if they are given the right to make choices onmatters pertaining to their reproductive health. Therefore, abortionis a fundamental reproductive right of women as the pro-choicesuggests.


Borgmann,E. “Abortion, the undue burden standard, and the evisceration ofwomen’s privacy. Williamand Mary Journal of Women and the Law16.2 (2011): 291-325. Print.

Denbow,J. “Abortion: When choice and autonomy conflict”. BerkeleyJournal of Gender, Law, and Justice20.1 (2013): 216-228. Print.

Jones,K., Upadhyay, D. and Weitz, A. “At what cost? Payment for abortioncare by U.S. women”. Women’sHealth Issues23.3 (2013): 173-178. Print.

Lopez,R. “Perspectives on abortion: Pro-choice, pro-life, and what liesin between”. EuropeanJournal of Social Sciences,27. 4 (2012): 511-517. Print.

Ruse,C. and Schwarzwalder, R. Thebest pro-life arguments for secular audience.Washington, DC: Family Research Council, 2011. Print.