Even though abortion is legalized, it does not make the choice to abort the child morally right. Patrick Lee and Robert P. George conclude that being a mother generates a special responsibility and that the sacrifice morally required of the mother is less burdensome than the harm that would be done to the child, causing his or her death, to escape responsibility. (p 121) The first question to be raised is whether the human embryo/fetus should be considered a complete human being or not.
The human embryo is considered to be distinct from any cell of both the mother and of the father because it is growing in its own direction. The human embryo is obviously human, with DNA characteristic of human beings. Most importantly, the human embryo is a complete organism even though it is said to be an immature one. Rather, an embryo (and fetus) is a human being at a certain (early) stage of development”the embryonic (or fetal) stage. (p 123)
Therefore, it is arguably said that aborting the child, at any term, is considered feticide and objectively immoral. In abortion, what is killed is a human being, a whole living member of the species homo sapiens, the same kind of entity as you or I, only at an earlier stage of development¦ (p 124) Another argument in the debate is that abortion is justified as non-intentional killing. Some pro-choicers argue that it is not so much intentionally killing the child, but rather not choosing to provide the child with assistance or a home during the gestation period, all while knowing that evicting the child will almost certainly cause death. The bodily rights rgument states that a woman is not morally required to allow the fetus the use of her body. (p 124)
By describing abortion as choosing not to provide bodily life support is a misconception, when the ultimate side effect is death, however unintentional it may be. There is a significant moral difference between not doing something that would assist someone, and doing something that causes someone harm, even if that harm is an unintended (but foreseen) side effect. (p 125) Most women that chose abortion do not want their child to die or to commit feticide, they simply want to terminate pregnancy.
Death of their child is merely a horrible side effect. However, does it morally justify their choice? Abortion is the act of extracting the unborn human being from the womb- an extraction that usually rips him or her to pieces or does him or her violence in some other way. (p 125) From a Christian perspective, Ramsey would argue against abortion stating that the sanctity of life should be preserved. He respects the nature of human parenthood that calls for a sphere of love union and a sphere of procreation.
When a woman becomes pregnant, whether it is by choice or not, it is from then on viewed as her responsibility. So, the burden of carrying the baby, for all its distinctness, is significantly less than the harm the baby would suffer by being killed; the mother and the father have a special responsibility to the child; it follows that intentional abortion (even in the few cases where the babys death is an unintended but foreseen side effect) is unjust and therefore objectively immoral. (p 128) Ramsey opposes an ethic based on goals or ends which from a Christian viewpoint will ultimately be destroyed anyway.
This is one of his bases for an independent ethic of means. The Roman Catholic Church argues against direct abortion stating that we must treat the child with same rights as a person. A direct killing is an act that by the nature of the act or the intention of the agent aims at the killing either as a means or as an end. Ramsey would also support this argument. Those who condemn abortion as immoral generally follow a classical tradition in which abortion is a public matter because it involves our conception of how we should live together in an ideal society. (p 120)