What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach

In Britain abortion is dealt with as a medical problem in law and policy. This means that the mother has a very small say in the abortion, the decision on whether to abort or not rests with the doctor. This attitude towards abortion does have both strength and weaknesses. Abortion means “the deliberate termination of human pregnancy”, and when saying that this is viewed as a medical problem this means instead of being based on ethical issues the abortion is carried out for medical reasons.Initial focus in this essay will look into which is the most important and least important out of the strength and weaknesses of the view that abortion is a medical problem in British law and policy. This essay will also compare the British approach to abortion with the American approach, the American approach leans towards the mother having the final say in the abortion procedure. Some areas of discussion within this topic include greater protection for the foetus than the mother, other peoples responsibility (father and doctors), and variouse other ethical statements, and finally a conclusion will be drawn up.Abortion was only made legal in Britain in 1967 therefore this is still a relatively new and contentious issue, furthermore the Abortion Act 1967 almost revokes ethical rights which is much unlike the Abortion Act of 1973 is the United States of America which substantially ethically based.In the Abortion Act 1967, there are some significant differences from the Abortion Act 1973 in the United States. In the United States abortion is a right and codified in their constitution as a right, however in Britain abortion is a criminal offence unless it has been performed on medical grounds as stated in the Abortion Act 1967. One example of what was legalised can be found in section A of this act, Lee (1998) “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.” Therefore it can be seen that the woman’s viewpoint is not taken into account on when deciding whether she wants to abort or not, the decision is taken purely from whether more risk comes from going forward with the pregnancy than if the abortion took place.Section E of the Abortion Act states that an abortion can be carried out if, Lee (1998) “there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped, or in emergency, certified by the operating practitioners as immediately necessary”. This suggests that even if the mother wanted to have the baby the doctors could over rule her personal stance and abort anyway. However, in practice this has not occurred often but is still a controversial issue nonetheless. In the United States the decision rests simply with the mother, the mother is free to ask for an abortion or not, and it is her right as a woman to do so, this is part of the constitution. The mother has a say, therefore her moral judgment is far more than a doctor in Britain, it is argued that in Britain there is a lack of moral judgment by the doctors who perform such operations.The weaknesses in the above paragraph are in Britain the woman does not have to make the choice of whether an abortion should occur, but some argue that this is a good thing since the woman does not have to be put under a lot of psychological stress. Furthermore the father has absolute no say in what occurs either, this gives the doctor all the power in making the decision.It must be remembered that 2 doctors who are specialised in the field or abortion must agree that an abortion is necessary before it goes ahead, this reduces cases of improper abortion taking place. The American system leaves the decision to the woman there are flaws in this system since the woman may not have enough knowledge to make the right and proper decision. Moreover the female must take responsibility for what happens in the United States and this could cause some long term issues such as mental decline.The view that doctors know best is, of course, true in terms of physical well being, however, they do not always take into consideration the woman’s mental health, or indeed the mental health of the farther whether the abortion goes ahead or not. This has its strength in Britain though, since indeed it is true that doctors know best and in a majority of cases they have made the right decision and either saved the woman’s life or saved her a life of hardship because of not aborting. The worrying statistics is that Francome (1986) one in four women will have an abortion at one point in their life, but in Britain this abortion question has been less of an issue than it is in America. The reason is that in Britain, Lee (2003) there has been a demoralisation of abortion, whereas in America this is a heavily moralised issue. The church in America is against such a thing and in the US the church has much influence so this is a highly contentious issue even today.The strength of viewing abortion as a medical problem though is quite strong too. There is greater protection for the foetus (by law). This is a good thing because the foetus is living but can not have a say in the matter (as in the US) but the legalization gives the foetus rights. This is a strength because the woman can talk out but the foetus can not, therefore the foetus is also gaining a say in things (its potential future).However, it has been contested that the US system is better since the women knows what is best for herself, although this is true on a mental level, on a physical level it is quite the contrary. Out of the two countries it seems they both have strength and weaknesses, but Britain tends to have a higher medical stance and saves the lives of more women than in America. This is because in America the medical viewpoint is not enshrined in the constitution, instead the view whether right or wrong on a medical level, the woman is the driving force behind abortion taking place.ConclusionIn conclusion it seems that the medical stance of Britain does indeed have strength and weaknesses, however, the strength seem to out weigh the weaknesses. A woman’s physical well being should be priortised over her mental well being since one can live with the mental hardships, but if you die through pregnancy then obviously one can not live with it. In the United States abortion is more of a controversial issue because women decide and not doctors. Many people especially religious people are opposed to it in America this is because it seems that people are using abortion as a sort of birth control (there has been politicisation of the issue. However, in Britain this is not the case and a purely medical stance is taken. This seems to be the best stance because, as mentioned earlier, if it was not then the media and public would speak out more like in America, but they have not, this suggests that this approach is more positive than negative. Doctors will take the decisions on a purely impartial medical basis, whereas the female will often be overly biased on either having or not having the abortion, this can lead to making the decision for the wrong reason by the woman. If the doctor makes the reason, then it will be made in the best interest of the woman’s well being.

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