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Debate: Abortion for physical deformities

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Revision as of 16:30, 26 December 2009

Should we allow abortion on the grounds of physical deformity?

Background and context

Although the ruling on abortion differs between judicial systems of different countries, even the most conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia now adopt the policy of permitting abortion when it endangers the life or physical wellbeing of the woman bearing the child to term. Most countries however, still don't allow abortion on grounds of the foetus's wellbeing, i.e. in the case of early detection of Down Syndrome or other physical deformities via amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling (CVS).

One of the few countries allowing for such abortions, Netherlands, is heavily criticized for condoning an abortion that is seen as an act of discrimination against the handicapped and disabled. Comparison of such ruling has been made with the Hitler regime's call to provide 'mercy of death' to those who are seen as 'incurable after thorough diagnosis of their ill condition'. A form of 'life unworthy of life' was characterized for those born with debilitating conditions has been opposed by many parties, particularly those against infanticide in general. They argue that an abortion done only after a prenatal diagnosis of incurable illness is not a matter of a person exercising their right to live they want to, because the act implies that they are ready for a child- only not THAT child, a form of discrimination.

People arguing for the choice to abort fetuses with detectable deformities cite a form of informed consent, when they are allowed to decide whether or not they want to bring to term a child that they would have to spend more energy and resources on due to his or her conditions.

In evaluating this issue, questions like: does parental choice supersede sanctity of life? is it discrimination and undermines the life of the handicapped? are among the main contentions of the debate.

Contents

Does the parental right to choose supersede the fetus's right to live?

Yes

  • Some physical deformities make it impossible for the individual to compete and survive in today's harsh world
  • In many places, particularly poorer areas, deformed kids are abandoned and left to be taken care of orphanages that are not suitable/ conducive for growth
  • The responsibility of parents to take care of child born gives them a say in making sure the child they have is one they can take care of


No

  • Different utilitarian/ cosmetic reasons can't justify abortion
  • Nazi-like perspective to put value on life based on appearance or characteristics (massacred people based on race, crippled, deformities) i.e. choice has no place/ power in the case of life


Does it undermine the lives of the disabled community?

Yes

  • Allowing abortion on these grounds is tantamount to wishing dead on anyone not fitting societies' description of normal
  • Cements some societal prejudices toward the disabled, that 'they should never have been born'
  • Insensitive to the many disabled/ handicapped who have been contributing individuals and have risen above and beyond their disabilities


No

  • While some disabled/ handicapped have been able to contribute, many who were raised by parents who were not prepared to are reduced to begging in adulthood as they are unable to find jobs later on. This burdens the government and society
  • It's not an outright elimination of handicapped people, because now with adequate knowledge, parents who do bring deformed children to term are the ones ready and able to take care of these kids; something that is necessary for the kids to stand a chance at becoming contributing individual


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Yes

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No

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See also

External links and resources

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