PROJECT TOPIC- ABORTION AND THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE
Abortion is a moral issue that has attracted a lot of controversial views from both the supporters and the denialists. The arguments of the pro-lifers and the pro-choicers presents abortion as a social phenomenon that has both ethical and moral implications. This is because if we accepts the pro-lifers view that, abortion is bad without any qualification then, such acceptance will be contrary to the principle of situation ethics which recognizes that it is not at all time might justify a bad action. But, if the pro-Choicers, that a woman has the right to determine whether to abort a baby or not, then will be encouraging murder and abuse of the fundamental human right of right to life, as well as going against the commandment of God, which says thou shall not kill. Considering this dilemma inherent in the abortion question, it is our contention in this work that abortion on demand is bad, that the only type of abortion could be morally justified is thereapecutic abortion, that is abortion carried out because, it is the only solution to saving the life of a pregnant mother.
1.1 Background of the Study
Abortion is a moral issue that has exercise the minds of both philosophers, medical parishioners and religious both philosophers, medical parishioners and religious groups as well, As a moral issue justification of the rightness or wrongness or the goodness or badness of the reasons for procuring or undergoing abortion has always told the line of ethical principles some have supported the desire for an action based on the egoistic principle and the liberalist view that, man has the right to choose what is good for him or her while others have vehemently criticized abortion on the utilitarian plato form and the belief that it doesn’t bring greater good to the greater number of individuals in the society. This diversity in the views people relish about abortion has presented it as a dilemma,that needs a reconciliation and demystification.
In today society a lot of people undergo the process of abortion because of many reasons. Some undergo the process simply to maintain their social status and career; some do it because they want to correct their careless and promiscuous behaviours and actions. But to some people abortion is undergone to prevent the excavation of the negative effects of the biological and chemical in balance in the womb that is to say, some times, people undergo bortion mainly because, it has been discovered that having the child will result on their death or cause more harm to their system.
Now, the cogency of these reasons depends on the right judgment of the conscience of both the woman in question and the physician who will carry out the processes. Hence abortion is a subject of both moral and ethical consideration. As a moral issue, the desire for its procurement or administration is supposed to be justified by one’s conscient which is the faculty of judgement instituted in man’s reason by God.
However, some people have sold their conscience and resort to their egocentric disposition in all they do. As an ethical issue laws has been made to enforce the morality behind the practice of abortion. This is why we have the abortion law and the criminal code in the Nigerian constitution. Another factor whose increasing effects have necessitated the work is the extent to which most girls and even women involve themselves in reckless abortion not minding the moral and the legal laws of the country.
The effects of this act have really cause Nigeria a lot. The have led to both moral decadence and losses of lives. Hence, in this work, attempt would been made to examine the nature of abortion; the justification for its practices and the need to appeal to the innate moral inclination of man before deciding to go for an abortion.
PROJECT TOPIC- ABORTION AND THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The rate at which teenage girls and adult women lose their lives in the process of abortion has really shown that the phenomenon is a big problem to the peaceful and harmonious existence of man. Though most people go for abortion because of certain problems and circumstances that befall them, for example rape, some who do it to preserve their pride, prestige and regard in the society.
To this kind of people, the question is: Is one’s respect and pride in the society measurable with the life of the unborn? Also, the fact that, there are situations in which undergoing abortion and not undergoing still pose problems, makes it a moral issue that needs adequate moral considerations. Thus, the problem inherent in the phenomenon of abortion is the lack of a sufficient moral theory that will offer reasons for or against for undergoing abortion.
This is why there have been a lot of divergent opinions of both moral thinkers and medical professionals on the issue. To most religions thinkers, abortion is naturally bad, but to some, it is only in situations. Or circumstances that might cause the lives of both the mother and child the abortion can be justified. Therefore, in trying to find out the adequate morel theory for answering the abortion question, the researcher will attempt to answer such questions as what is abortion? When will one be justified to under go the processes of abortion? What are the moral phyclicatins of abortion? For if these questions are answered the puzzle surrounding abortion will be made clear.
1.3 Objective of the Study
This work aims at the following objectives to show that the problem with abortion has been the problem of not having a moral theory that will give enough reasons for which people under go abortion. To show that abortion is not really bad or good in itself, rather it is the genuiness, the rightness of one’s conscience and reasons for undergoing it that determine its goodness or badness.
To also show that, the genuiness of one’s purpose for under going abortion can be determined by a moral medical practitioner who suppose to diagnose a patient to know if really there are adequate reasons for desiring abortion. Again, to demonstrate the fact that, it is only the like of Joseph Fletcher’s situation ethics that can solve the dilemma that the abortion problem poses to man. In doing this, it will be shown that abortion is only Justified when the life of the mother is in danger.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research study is significant or beneficial in the following ways.
Firstly, it will serve as a source of reference for further studies and research especially for undergraduate students in philosophy, religion, psychology and other related disciplines
Secondly, it will enhance peoples understanding of abortion. Thereby correct some of the wrong impressions people have about it.
Thirdly, it will help to conscientize Nigerian girls and women on the need to avoid needless abortion, since it is not morally and ethically Justifiable.
Fourthly, it will help to reconcile most of the controversies that have been existing among scholars on the issue of abortion.
Fifthly, it will serve as educative material to the members of the general public.
This research study will employ the critical evaluative, analytic, expository and the argumentative methods of philosophy. It will also make use of materials from the library such as books, articles, Journals and internet sources, as Sources of its data and facts. Also, the work will employ the modern M.L.A. style of document in its citations.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study of abortion is a vast area of study because it involve studying things like the nature of man, the beginning of life and processes of conception, and so such studying all these areas might loss the focus of this research as, this study will be concerned with the meaning and nature of abortion, the reasons why people undergo the processes of abortion, the moral justifications for abortion and solutions that can help in curbing the negative effects of the high rate of abortion in Nigeria.
1.7 CLARIFICATION OF TERMS
Here, the researcher will be concerned with the clearification of the meaning of some concepts that will be employed at one time or the other in the writing of this work. Some of these terms include:
a. Abortion:- In this work, the term abortion will be used to mean the termination of pregnancy before the period of viability. That is, it involves killing the foetus in the womb before it can have the features to exist outside the womb of the mother (34) This should that abortion involves bring to an end the life of some thing (the Foctus); it involve altering the normal, process of conception and growth of the life of the foetus.
b. The Foetus:- In this work also, the concept foetus is used to mean that Young human that still depend on the environment of the womb of the mother to survive. It refers to the third stage of the process of human development. After the union of the sperm and the ovum in the process of conception, the zygote develops and finally grow into the foetus which subsequently become a baby when it has been delivered by the mother. According to Judith Randel and Tony German, “Foetus is a young human in the early stages of development inside the mother (“48”) What the above definition of Foctus shows is that, it is one of the sensitive stages in the process of development of human life. As a matter of fact, it is the second last stage, therefore to terminate it amounts to killing if such a killing act is not morally Justified.
c. Conception:- The concept “conception” is used in this work to mean the starting of a new life by the union of a male and female sex cell. That is, it has to do with the fertilization of the ovum by the sperm to start up the process of human life development According to the New Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Conception is the first stage of human life process. It is the beginning of a new life by the meeting of the male and female sex cells” (68) Thereby showing that for life to begin, there must be a union of both the male and female who are consequently the parents to the new born.
Joe Jenkins, Contemporary moral Issue, Uk Britain,
Heinemann Educational Publishers 2002.
Judith Randel and Tony German, The Ageing and the Infant
development Report, London, Earths can publication ltd, 1999.
The new encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, William Benton