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Profamilia. 1998 Jun;16(31):31-7.

[Bioethics and abortion. Debate].

[Article in Spanish]

Abstract

PIP:

Although abortion has been the most debated of all issues analyzed in bioethics, no moral consensus has been achieved. The problem of abortion exemplifies the difficulty of establishing social dialogue in the face of distinct moral positions, and of creating an independent academic discussion based on writings that are passionately argumentative. The greatest difficulty posed by the abortion literature is to identify consistent philosophical and scientific arguments amid the rhetorical manipulation. A few illustrative texts were selected to characterize the contemporary debate. The terms used to describe abortion are full of moral meaning and must be analyzed for their underlying assumptions. Of the four main types of abortion, only 'eugenic abortion', as exemplified by the Nazis, does not consider the wishes of the woman or couple--a fundamental difference for most bioethicists. The terms 'selective abortion' and 'therapeutic abortion' are often confused, and selective abortion is often called eugenic abortion by opponents. The terms used to describe abortion practitioners, abortion opponents, and the 'product' are also of interest in determining the style of the article. The video entitled "The Silent Scream" was a classic example of violent and seductive rhetoric. Its type of discourse, freely mixing scientific arguments and moral beliefs, hinders analysis. Within writings about abortion three extreme positions may be identified: heteronomy (the belief that life is a gift that does not belong to one) versus reproductive autonomy; sanctity of life versus tangibility of life; and abortion as a crime versus abortion as morally neutral. Most individuals show an inconsistent array of beliefs, and few groups or individuals identify with the extreme positions. The principal argument of proponents of legalization is respect for the reproductive autonomy of the woman or couple based on the principle of individual liberty, while heteronomy is the main principle of opponents. Opponents have taken an active approach in decomposing their beliefs into different strands to be argued. Their assertions that the fetus is a person from conception or a person in potential have forced proponents of legalized abortion to argue in a largely reactive mode.

PMID:
12348801
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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