The abortion controversy has not been one controversy, but a series of controversies and discussion. The latest controversy has centered on the partial birth abortion method, with the Catholic bishops uniformly denouncing Clinton's veto of a bill passed by Congress forbidding its use. There have been controversies about abortion funding, about parental permission for abortion, about providing information about abortion, about the abortion pill, and about abortion protests, among other things. Although the fundamental distinction has been made between those who are prolife (presumably opposed to all abortions) and those who are prochoice (supporting abortion on demand), there is a wide range of viewpoints on these various issues.
The intent in the following pages is to look at some of the aspects of the abortion controversy, including the psychological, ethical and religious, economic, and political considerations.
Ethical and Religious Considerations
This is the aspect of the controversy that has been the most intense and heated. Some of those within the prolife movement contend that abortion is forbidden for religious reasons and that it is equivalent to murder. The Catholic church, for example, views all life as sacred from the moment of conception and forbids any method of birth control that interferes with conception, as well as all methods of abortion, for all reasons.
For example, Archbishop John O'Connor (1991) set forth the Catholic position quite clearly in his argument that abortion is immoral. He noted that abortion is not simply the removal of some specific tissue from the woman's body. For him, abortion is the destruction, or murder, of the unborn baby.
Obviously his position, and the position of many people on the prolife side of the controversy is that human life begins at a certain point while fetus is still inside the mother's womb. For him, that sacred human life begins at the moment of c...