This is a position paper I wrote for my composition class. Please let me know what you think.
The purpose of this document is to demonstrate the invalidity and irrelevance of many of the most common pro-life and pro-choice arguments, and to explain why only one thing actually matters in this debate: Abortion does not reduce the quality of life for either the unborn or anyone else, and so there is no reason to object to it. Both sides of the abortion debate are guilty of faulty reasoning. Many of the arguments against abortion are insufficient and not grounded in reality. Likewise, many of the justifications for abortion are equally insufficient and misleading. People on both sides of this issue will benefit from reading this. I will address and scrutinize some of the most common arguments from both sides.
Before I do this, it is important to make the one legitimate case for abortion that exists. According to the latest medical research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is unlikely that a fetus can perceive pain before the third trimester (Lee, Peter Ralston, Drey, Partidge, Rosen, 2005), which begins in the 28th week. The International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reports that a fetus can likely feel pain after 26 weeks. It also states that a fetus might be able to have an “unpleasant conscious experience, even if not pain” at 16 weeks (Glover, Fisk, 1999). The Centers for Disease Control reported that 4.3% of legal induced abortions between 1992 and 1999 were obtained at the gestational age of 16-20 weeks, and 1.5% were obtained after 21 weeks (U.S. CDC, 2002). This means that 94.2% of legal induced abortions took place before 16 weeks. Little information is available regarding induced abortions beyond 26 weeks, but we can logically conclude that the percentage of abortions that took place at that stage is lower than 1.5%. To summarize, a vast majority of abortions (greater than 98.5%) take place before the fetus is capable of experiencing pain. 94.2% of abortions take place before the fetus is even capable of having an unpleasant conscious experience. If the fetus cannot suffer from these abortions, there is no reason to object to them. In fact, there is no reason to object to any action that is not responsible for lowering the quality of life.
(continued in the next post...)