The purpose of this research is to propose a defense of abortion. The plan of the research will be to set forth the social and cultural context in which the debate on abortion has taken place in recent years, to discuss various positions on the subject that have emerged over time, and then to examine the basis for the conclusion that there is no moral ground for opposing a woman's right to choose.
Ever since the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, affirming the constitutional right of women to an abortion for at least the first six months of pregnancy, the social and political culture in the United States has in effect been at war, both in the courts and on the streets. Throughout that period, advocates for and against the right of abortion have been engaged in debate on the issue of the morality of abortion versus women's right to elect to have an abortion. They are the anti-choice and pro-choice advocates.
Historically, the position of anti-choice advocates has been moral: abortion is murder; murder is wrong; abortion is wrong. The basis for this argument is a definition of the fetus in the womb as a person. And everybody knows that to murder a person is wrong and illegal. From this definition and argument, the argument quickly moves to dispose of the right of choice: everybody knows that persons have rights; everybody knows that to violate those rights is wrong and illegal; everybody knows that murder is illegal. Now this person (in the form of a fetus but a person anyway) has a right to life. To murder that person is to violate rights. Abortion murders that person. Thus, abortion violates rights. Thus, there is no right to choose abortion.
The most extreme anti-choice advocates deny validity to the term pro-choice, declaring instead that the only possible positions in the abortion debate are proabortion and antiabortion, or sometimes prolife and proabortion. All abortion, in this view, is abortion-on-demand, or "an abor...