Late Trimester Abortions and Ethics Considerations: Pro-life and Pro-choice Debate


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Abortion is one the controversial issue of the medical science. Abortion is much upheld by the people who have themselves been conceived. People will generally go to the law when attempting to decide ideal possible solution to an undesirable pregnancy. Abortion is a human right issue since everyone has right to life. At the point when an individual breathe outside the womb moral issues begin. On the basis of modern molecular biological science, life is available from the moment of conception. Initially development of ethics is the solidarity with the other person. In this article, principles of ethics concerning medical termination of pregnancy are analyzed. There are many reasons behind abortions and showing some controversies surrounding this procedure. Finally, the ethics of abortion the facts related to pro-life and pro-choices are discussed. Today time has been changed, now abortion accepted by many societies, as the health of the mother being the most significant consideration.

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Late trimester abortion is the term used when fatal body is removed from woman’s uterus by evacuation or by dilation either in second (13-27 weeks) and third (27-39 weeks) trimesters. In some cases, when fetus is at stage of viability it can be done by administration of some destructive or injection of some fatal material into fetal heart to make sure fetus won’t come out alive or viable (M Johnson, E., 2015). Viability is certifiably not a simple gestational age cut off, that can vary with geology and advancement of science. In today’s world gestational period might be more than 24 weeks in case of presence of any severe abnormalities or extreme developmental retardation yet is probably not going to extend up to third trimester. From many years, abortion after 20 weeks is mainly performed in case of any fatal abnormalities to fetus or when there is immediate threat to maternal health. However, data shows that late trimester abortion are not conducted because of these reasons rather than due to some relationships problems, financial crisis and burden of child care and education.

Reasons for Late Trimester Abortion

The age at which pregnancy happens is one of the relevant reasons for medical and psychological reason. Pregnancy and labor are most certainly hazardous to mother as discrete occasions for the individuals who are not yet mature enough, however they additionally will in general obstruct such people from achieving their full portion of development. Moreover age is one of the risk factor for both mother and fetus as incidence of having prematurity and any abnormality is more common in youngest and oldest groups. The new cases of Down syndrome are more in women of more than forty year of age (Mahowald, 1989). The complications to fetus are also increased as the age of women reaches beyond thirties. Competence, often identified with age, is another ethical applicable factor in abortion. Another one is health of the pregnant lady. Few pregnancies are hazardous to some women. Since self protection appears to be so essential human right, few would contend that a woman is ethically obliged to sacrifice her life for the fetus. The domestic violence and raising the child alone in future make mother more depressed and results in abortion. Or maybe, the most widely recognized reason behind delaying until the third trimester were not perceiving the pregnancy, trouble in settling on the choice to abort, contradicting the dad of the kid, not realizing where to get a fetus removal, trouble getting to an abortionist, and financial related challenges.

Ethical Principles Related to Abortion

Ethical inquiries regarding health and diseases when consider as the best left to the judgment of the doctors. To resolve the dilemmas relate to abortion and other malpractices in the medical practice, bioethicists announces number of ethical theories, feminist ethics guided by ethical problem solving method known as ‘principalism’. Principles recognize and grasp moral issues by applying every law and principles to a given situation, where standards conflicts the centrality of every one must be evaluated. This will always help the decision maker to find a better solution. There are the following principles that come into play in termination of pregnancy:

  1. The principle of Autonomy: this principle recognizes the way that the patient has a point of view of her interest based on her qualities and moral beliefs. That means patient has full rights to pick or decline treatment. When woman has intimation with her partner without contraception and gets pregnant, no one can say that pregnant woman signed a contract with fetus. Woman can decide her best interest for herself and her health to continue the pregnancy or go with abortion. Moreover woman has right to get abortion even in late trimester in case of complication to her health or in best interest of fetus. Everyone holds right to live for his or her own self, so mother has right to decide on behalf of fetus but it always should be in best interest of her and her fetus (Badruddin, 2016).
  2. The Principle of Beneficence: A doctor should consistency have the best interest of the understanding of what patient thought. A physician should always evaluate unabashedly and carefully all the assessable diagnostic and remedial choices and to apply those that ensure and give advantages to the best interest of patient by guaranteeing good over harm.

As a law states, late trimester abortion breach beneficence- based commitments which is an ethical principle that compel morally both doctor and pregnant woman to act so that there is balance clinical advantages over damage for the fetus ( McCullogh & Chevenak, 1994). Hence, late trimester abortion not morally permissible, regardless of what law may allow. There is one special case to denial against prematurely ending a third trimester baby if there is a existence of an abnormality that can surely determine with certainty of early death of fetus or any psychological retardation of growth in future. Anencephaly fits into this position and consequently consider as a genuine anomaly that justify late trimester abortion (Chevenak, 1984). Other than those other anomalies like trisomy 13, trisomy 18, renal agenesis, thamatophoric dysplasia and hydranencephaly also fall under this category. Although some anomalies like Down syndrome, spinabifida which may involve some materialistic risks of mental and physical mortality or morbidity, but these may not seriously justified late trimester abortion. So under these situations regardless of retardation or chances of death, the beneficence- based prohibition against abortion will remain intact.

On the other hand pregnant woman also have similar beneficence- based obligations to the fetus as does her doctor. But mother should follow up on those obligations gave that the danger to her of doing so is more sensible. The pregnant woman autonomy ought to be under remained by the woman and her physician to be compelled by the beneficence- based prohibition against abortion in late trimester, with the exemptions noted previously ( McCullogh & Chevenak, 1994).

  1. The principle of Non-maleficence: Abortion has long term effects on health including both physiological and psychological impacts on mother. On the other hand safe abortions are not much devastating to women. It is said that abortion is also one of the instructive and operative procedure, which whenever done in a proper way by following every surgical principles and aseptic system do not create any hazardous impact on wellbeing of mother. While illegal abortions have hurtful impacts on women (Bardruddin, 2016).
  2. Justice: the forth moral principle concerns equity and significantly balancing the privilege of distinct people. As the fetus grows, an even increasing number of individual perceive that there are two people include mother and baby (Sprang, 1998).

Ethics of Abortion

The ethics of the abortion has been battleground from the point onward ethics started in the late 1960s. The talks on the bad behavior of or the privilege to ending pregnancy are intensely politicized in USA, yet additionally in numerous other western countries (Dworkin, 1994). This standstill situation between pro-life and pro-choices is pretty much aggregate, has regularly been introduced as a war among religious and traditionalist and additionally liberal belief system and wide range of solution have been built up by laws direction abortions.

On the pro-life side considering the possibility that the embryo-fetus is an individual from the very first early time, may be even from the very first moment. In any case, people are frequently understood as creatures having consciousness, memory, and capacity to plan their activities, so this is not really a convincing view (DeGrazia, 2006). Even considering the way that children in the ordinary case do not achieve full personhood until around 4-5 years old and few children never do because of some deformities, it remains unconvincing to assign personhood to the bundle of cells, even though these cells have human DNA. A more significant thought is that embryo-fetus is assurance worthy because it is a potential person. So abortion is wrong, as indicated by the pro-life argument, because it ends the life of potential person. Pro-life is also entitled to the same legal and ethical protection as any other individual. When it comes to late trimester abortion for any reason either for the fetus having some anomalies would represents in the neglect of their ethics and principles. So if people will not allow a human life to be born because of any anomalies that would be same allowing someone to murder at the age of 5 years for having been handicap.

On the pro-choice side, the pregnant lady has the right to take decision upon her abortion because the embryo-fetus is a part of her body. Pro-choice movement supports and put many efforts towards prevention of unwanted pregnancies, decreasing the number of abortions, spreading the knowledge of contraception and educating young girls and women (Arthur, 2000). People have right to settle on how to manage their own bodies because the bodies belongs to them. The possibility of patient autonomy has been on the motivation of bioethics from the begin and the right to lawful abortion for each women has been sought as a part of this agenda and other political development ladies reserve the right to decide on issues that belong to their reproductive life and right to abortion, is the part of this arrangements of right, just life the access to contraception pills or IVF. So as per pro-choice of pregnant women and no one else’s matter of fact. In the fact of fetus lives or die is her choice, at least until the point when fetus could survive outside her body by help of an incubator.

Pro-life and pro-choice advocates both have a shared ground with regards to the inquiry about what is established in terms of violating a people protected rights would also be in violation of a people moral and ethical values. If the foundation was made on whether or not a fetus would be viewed as a human life it would vanish abortion at any stage, for any reason. People are partitioned on whether the legislation should be involved in women right to continue pregnancy. Pro-choice defenders feel that state removed her rights to her own decision that would deny her justice and autonomy and in some situations causing her death. On the other hand pro-life protectors says that since life is started from the very first moment of intimation, the government not just has right to interpose on behalf of child it has a commitment (Crutcher, 2007).


In the event this recognize that a pregnant lady has an extraordinary relationship with the fetus mother is conveying, people may also need to acknowledge that mother have right to privilege to make choices of life and death concerning the unborn fetus. According to abortion rights that women ought to be permitted to pick whether to keep or end the pregnancy, despite everything. People have to consider under what condition should abortion viewed as the best course of action. Abortion on ground of fetal abnormalities is regularly observed as legitimate in fact that it might be the best way to prevent the enduring that may go with birth of child with abnormality. Today it’s seen that an increasingly vocal disability rights asserting abortion on such grounds is ethically objectionable in victimizing individual with handicap. So if people are considering fetuses are people, babies with anomalies must be treated as disable individual. Insofar as societal difference about the ethical quality of abortions remains, the law ought to not acquire the privilege and obligation of people to settle on their own ethical choices. Be that as it may, if the law were to turn out to be progressively prohibitive (for instance, by barring late or second trimester abortions for nonmedical reasons), it may even affect the moral values and sentiments of a great many people. In the event that illegalization of abortions in outrageous conditions, for example, pregnancy because of assault and rapes, or pregnancies that are hazardous for ladies or embryos, it would plainly sell out the ethical notion of the vast majority.

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