Legality of Abortions
Abortions are legal in all the U.S., and every state has at least one abortion clinic. However, some states have policies and regulations limiting whether, when and under what conditions an abortion can be performed. Such states laws can require the involvement of a licensed physician (or two after a specific point of pregnancy) (An Overview of Abortion Laws, 2022).
19 states require abortions to be performed in a hospital (An Overview of Abortion Laws, 2022). Most U.S. states prohibit abortions after a specific point of pregnancy. 16 states provide the funds for medically necessary abortions (An Overview of Abortion Laws, 2022). Abortions are not covered in the private insurance plans of other states.
Additional Laws and Regulations for Abortions
Despite legalized abortions, the law of most states also allows refusals. Individual healthcare providers and state institutions have the right to refuse to perform an abortion. Counseling is mandated in 18 states, informing women on the negative side-effects of abortions (An Overview of Abortion Laws, 2022). 25 states require a waiting period of 24 hours between the counseling and the procedure (An Overview of Abortion Laws, 2022). Around half of these states force the patient to make two separate trips to the clinic. 37 states require some parental involvement if a woman requesting an abortion is a minor (An Overview of Abortion Laws, 2022).
The Moral of Abortions
Abortion is a morally challenging topic, frequently discussed and debated in philosophy. The debate of abortion’s morality starts with the question of what a fetus is. Traditional supporters of illegalizing abortions claim a fetus to be a person (Warren, 2017). Such claims are usually made out of religious considerations. It can be based on the fact of a heartbeat. For example, abortions are forbidden once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Additionally, the fetus can be considered a potential or soon-to-be human (Warren, 2017). Hence, the supporters of these views believe that abortion is equated to murder (Warren, 2017).
The Moral Behind the Support of Abortions
The supporters of women’s rights to abortions do not perceive a fetus as a person (Warren, 2017). They value women’s rights to the autonomy of their bodies above the rights of an unborn fetus (Warren, 2017). Women’s physical and mental health is also affected by pregnancy. In such cases, abortion is necessary for the woman’s well-being or to save her life. Additionally, they make a point of arguing fetus’s humanity by displaying the absence of any other laws and regulations supporting the fetus’s future financial stability.
The Ethics of Abortions
Alongside the moral of abortions, there are many ethical issues concerning the topic. One such issue is disability-selective abortion, which is very painful for the disability rights movement (Petersen, 2018). This issue is often accompanied by medical staff’s pressure on performing an abortion (Petersen, 2018). The supporters of banning disability-selective abortions advocate for illegalizing abortions or against prenatal testing (Petersen, 2018). Some activists believe that pregnant women should be denied the information of potential disabilities of their child (Petersen, 2018). Selective abortion is also an arguable subject on the basis of gender and race.
The Ethics of Refusal to Perform an Abortion
Another issue of ethics regarding abortions is personal refusal. Most states legally allow a physician to deny an abortion due to their religious or moral views. However, while such laws ensure the preservation of one person’s rights, they ignore the other’s. Refusing to perform an abortion does not legally require referring the patient to a different provider (Petersen, 2018). As such, it endangers a woman’s life by postponing the procedure until the unsafe point of pregnancy.
An Overview of Abortion Laws. (2022). Guttmacher Institute. Web.
Petersen, C. J. (2018). Reproductive Autonomy and Laws Prohibiting Discriminatory Abortions: Constitutional and Ethical Challenges. University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, 96, 605-626.
Warren, M. A. (2017). On the moral and legal status of abortion. Applied Ethics: A Multicultural Approach, 360-366.