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Reference List


In conclusion, medical ethics and legal issues do play a
significant role when it comes to the topic of abortion. The key principle
autonomy in medical ethics is the most influential in the case of abortion as a
woman’s fundamental right to decide what happens to the individuals body is
what determines the final action of the doctor as the woman has the final say. Legal
issues are also a dominant factor when it comes to abortion as laws on abortion
vary internationally from country to country and so abortion, which is
acceptable in Great Britain is not permitted in other countries. Considering all
the above viewpoints on abortion, the cons of abortion outweigh the pros and so
in my opinion, I think abortion is ethically unacceptable as the life of an
innocent human being is being involved and the child is also not being given
the chance or the right to live. However, it is important to consider the type
of case being presented as abortion can sometimes depend on how dangerous or
hazardous the pregnancy is to the lives of the mother and child. Abortion is
still an ongoing controversy where some people view it as the right thing to do
while others view it as wrong and ethically unacceptable based on their unique moral,
political and religious beliefs. In the future it would be good for the
governments in countries like Chile and Nicaragua where abortion is not
permitted at all, to take into consideration and respect the choice of the
patient and the risky implications that a pregnancy might have on the lives of
a mother and the child as they are currently taking away their freedom of
choice. Looking into the future, an important point to consider is how
Britain’s exit from the European Union can affect and cause changes to laws on
abortion in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Therefore, legal issues will
play an important role when it comes to abortion in the future along with
medical ethics.

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Legal issues relating to various medical procedures vary
from country to country.  In the case of
abortion, it is legal in Britain under the Abortion act 1967 which permits
abortion only if a mothers or child’s health is at serious risk due to the
woman being pregnant or if the child is to be born with severe defects and this
should be agreed by at least two doctors (Sheldon, 1998). After the
introduction of the Abortion Act 1967, abortion figures have massively increased (Department of
health, 2013).
While this may be acceptable in Britain, abortion is still not legal at all in countries
like Nicaragua, Oman and El Salvador but also in Northern Ireland where
abortion is only acceptable if the mother’s life is at risk. Abortion is mainly
restricted in these countries mainly due to strong political and religious views.
Therefore, legal issues can affect whether medical procedures like abortion is
permitted in certain countries or not.

In opposition, some people do not agree with abortion as
abortion can have many negative after effects. Studies show that women who go
through abortion are more likely to develop psychological problems like anxiety
and depression which can affect their mental wellbeing and how they recover
from the abortion procedure (Pederson, 2008). Another relevant
factor to consider is that men, like women can develop various psychological
problems after going through such a difficult situation. Men are likely to be
affected equally as women, therefore it is important for doctors to think how
the parents would feel after going through the procedure, when discussing the
abortion procedure with them, giving them advice. Another negative viewpoint is
that complications like miscarriages are more likely to be common and may arise
as a result of abortion in the first few months of the woman’s following
pregnancy leading to the individual developing more severe depression and

Another reason why people support abortion is in situations
where the individual carrying the child is raped or underaged. A case study example
of this is in India where a girl aged ten was raped leading her to become
pregnant. This caused massive public outcry and doctors were requested by the
court for the girl aged ten to have an abortion (Suri, 2017). This would be
viewed as ethically acceptable by majority of the people as the individual
carrying the child is a child themselves and so doesn’t have the understanding
or knowledge to raise a child themselves at such a young age. Additionally, the
rape was a crime committed against them and so the individual was not
responsible for the pregnancy. The key medical ethics principle beneficence
plays an important role when It comes to abortion as this principle states that
doctors should perform whatever is good and necessary for the patient’s health
and so if an abortion helps with the mothers mental and physical wellbeing,
then the doctors should go ahead and respect the patient’s choice.

A contrasting view is that abortion is viewed as murder by
many individuals and religious groups. Religious views can play a crucial role
when it comes to making decisions about certain things like abortion. For
example, abortion is not acceptable in many religions including Christianity, Islam,
Hinduism and Buddhism as these religions argue that life begins at the
conception stage and that God is the only person with the power to create and
take away life. Further support for this viewpoint comes from some non-religious
atheists and agnostics who also see abortion as a contravention against human
rights as abortion is ignoring the fundamental right to life.  One case study example is a paediatrician who
witnessed the birth of twenty living babies who had undergone abortion
procedures that were late (Neves, 2010).
This can be viewed as ethically unacceptable as it is involving the lives of
innocent humans and demonstrates that life does truly start at conception and
that religion has a point in this case. This is mainly the reason why abortion
is not allowed legally in countries like Northern Ireland and Oman where
religion is very important. The key principle non-maleficence which states that
it is wrong to cause harm to a patient is being exploited in this case as the
babies went through indescribable pain. 
This illustrates that medical ethics is sometimes neglected in the field
of medicine and that they are not followed correctly by healthcare
professionals when it comes to their duties and responsibilities.

Primarily, the main reason why abortion is supported is because
abortion is recognised as a woman’s fundamental right and due to women having
the right to make decisions regarding their bodies (Victoria
Greenwood, 1976).
A case study example of this is the Roe V Wade decision declared by the supreme
court of USA where the court granted permission for abortion in many US states
under the right to privacy which is an essential basic right (CNN Library,
The fact that women are entitled to this fundamental right to control what
happens to their bodies is the reason why abortion is encouraged by many people
around the world as it empowers women allowing them to voice their opinions
more boldly. The key principle autonomy plays a central role when it comes to abortion
as this states that the patients informed choices should only determine the
doctors’ actions as the patients have the final say when making the decision. Autonomy
signifies the importance of a woman’s choice when it comes to aborting a child
as it is their own final decision that the doctors should respect.

Medical ethics refer to the various moral values that are applied
to the field of healthcare science and medicine (Henderson,
The four main key principles of medical ethics include: justice, autonomy,
non-maleficence and beneficence. These key principles form the foundation in
establishing a good doctor-patient relationship. The Hippocratic oath is the
oldest known form of medical ethics which dates to the ancient Greek period. Medical
ethics and legal issues are vital in the field of medicine as it permits patients
to be looked after as individuals, taking into consideration their thoughts and
feelings allowing them to be actively involved in the decision- making process
regarding their health and treatment This essay will explore abortion in two
parts: firstly, in relation to medical ethics and secondly in relation to legal
issues whilst considering the various viewpoints. It is also essential to
consider how some doctors feel about carrying out procedures like abortion as
some doctors may also be against abortion and may have different opinions. The process
of removing an embryo from the mother’s womb before the first 24 weeks of gestation
is defined as abortion (Medicine Net, 2016).


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