General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

Do you think abortion is a humane thing to do?

Asked by MilkyWay (13705points) January 14th, 2011

I just wanted to know other peoples opinions on this subject. Do you think that having an abortion at a late stage is OK or selfish?
Unless there’s a medical reason of course.

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39 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Abortion in general, or are we only talking about late-term here?

MilkyWay's avatar

um, focusing maybe on late term, mainly.

iamthemob's avatar

Are we assuming that there is nothing wrong with the fetus as well? There are many issues to consider. Barring any medical problems I can’t see why this would be “humane.”

mrlaconic's avatar

Your question asks if I (we) think it is the humane thing to do…. Humans are not animals so I don’t know if I like the term Humane but either way.. Only if there is a serious medical condition that puts the mothers life at risk should you abort. If you don’t want the kid, set up an Adoption or take better care to make sure you don’t get knocked up.

My 2 cents.

gasman's avatar

Bringing an unwanted baby into the world is one of the most cruel and immoral acts I can imagine. Of all methods of birth control, of course, abortion is the worst. Contraception is the only responsible approach. Abortion is a last resort.

That said, I’m mainly thinking of early (1st trimester) abortion. As a moral question it becomes a little dicier after the fetus is capable of showing an emotional response to pain, which probably occurs close to the gestational age of viability—maybe 28–30 weeks. And 3rd-trimester abortion is unusual and risky for the mother. Still, the embryo or fetus should not be regarded as a human being—or accorded the rights thereof—until birth.

Hence I have zero moral qualms about destroying another potential human life that’s not a planned addition to humanity, but rather another mouth to feed, body to maintain, and brain to educate and socialize. This should be a solemn concern of adult parents-to-be for whom disabling contraception is a thoughtful and deliberate act.

iamthemob's avatar


“Bringing an unwanted baby into the world is one of the most cruel and immoral acts I can imagine.”

I think that raising that child is cruel and immoral – not bringing it into the world. Giving it up to people who do want to raise it may be one of the most amazing things one can do.

Roby's avatar

It’s murder…is that Humane?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@mrlaconic said: “Humans are not animals”

Umm, yes we are. Maybe if we stop pretending otherwise we can get rid of some of our pretensions.

mrlaconic's avatar

@incendiary_dan I meant in terms of us being like Dogs… you wouldn’t take a human to a humane society to put one of us down.

coffeenut's avatar

Any abortion is fine with me… is totally up to the mother and father…

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t agree with late term, but I’m not totally against them either if it has to happen.

perspicacious's avatar

No, not early, or late.

MilkyWay's avatar

thanks all of you , you really have helped.
peace out XX

Neizvestnaya's avatar

IMO then yes, it can be. Not every female who becomes pregnant is aware of it, not all have symptoms until physically it can’t be anything but a pregnancy. How many of these later known pregnancies are with women who are on medications or leading unhealthy lifestyles that could form an unhealthy baby?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Does it have to be infused with those kinds of words/values? Abortion isn’t easy, at any stage but I believe it is no one’s damn business whether someone gets one or not – want to be humane? Think about that burger you eat and what happened for you to get it.

JLeslie's avatar

@mrlaconic What are you talking about? Humane means sympathy and compassion for humans and animals (not to mention humans are animals) just the root of the word makes that fairly obvious. Dictionary definition what makes you say what you did besides not knowing the definition? Are you one of those people who hate even the idea of evolution and that we may have developed from another species?

@queenie If there is anything wrong with the fetus, or if the mother is in danger, I think it is humane to abort. If there is nothing wrong with the fetus, I do not like the idea of aborting after the point of viability, because I believe once the baby can sustain its own life outside of the mother, it is not technically a separate individual yet, but it is also is not technically parasitic anymore.

downtide's avatar

I think it entirely depends on the situation and the mother’s circumstances. How late is late? The original question does not specify. It’s all subjective and I couldn’t give a general yes or no; each case would be different.

filmfann's avatar

My daughter had an abortion when the fetus was at 5 months or so, due to development problems. The baby did not form legs, and had malformed arms. Even then, it was a difficult decision, but I think my daughter did the humane thing.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t fully support late term abortions, unless, of course, the mother’s life is at risk. That said, I’m an advocate of quality of life above all else. Too many people who don’t want kids end up having them, and the kids are severely abused in one form or another – be it emotional or physical abuse, or flat out neglect. Anyone who uses the “adoption is an option” comeback doesn’t know enough about adoption. It is extremely hard to adopt children in the US, and many of these babies end up in foster care – for their entire childhoods. Then they’re shoved into society at the age of 18, coming from no kind of stable family background whatsoever.

crisw's avatar

In order for something to be humane or inhumane, there must be a being which can suffer. Before the age of 24 weeks or so, the fetus is not developed enough to feel pain. Therefore, before this time there is nothing “inhumane” about abortion.

After 24 weeks, I believe that the fetus’s ability to suffer must be taken into account when deciding whether or not to abort- but this does not mean that the rights of the fetus trump those of the mother. Almost all late-term abortions are done due either to fetal malformations or health problems in the mother. The number done for other reasons is very, very small indeed.

bkcunningham's avatar

It is a personal decision.

ArumBouyed's avatar

A living thing is a living thing. You’re kidding yourself if you think late term and early term has any difference. It’s a semantic argument people use so they can distance themselves from what they’re actually doing. As far as it being humane, I think humane abortion is a contradiction in terms. Try adoption. A lot of loving couples can’t have a child of their own.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@ArumBouyed Science would tell us that we are, indeed, not kidding ourselves in thinking that late term and early term abortion have big differences.

Pandora's avatar

I am fine with the way the law is now. If a person doesn’t wish to have a child they have 2 things they can do. Abstain from sex all together. Or abort within the first 3 months. Its enough time to determine if you want to go through with it.
If you decide you don’t want the baby later, adoption for healthy new babies is a lot easier than an older child.
Unless the child is a danger to the mothers health or it has some disabilities that would put a lot of demands that the parent can’t deal with or will cause the child pain if it survived, than that should be left to the parent because people looking to adopt always want a healthy baby. A handicapped baby in the social system will probably suffer and never be adopted.

crisw's avatar


“A living thing is a living thing”

You fail to explain the relevance of this statement to any argument concerning abortion. A weed, a cheek cell, a bacterium, a sperm, fungus, mold, and yeast are all living things. No one would argue that they are the same as a normal adult human being.

iamthemob's avatar

I believe that @ArumBouyed‘s statement is profoundly practical in this context. Whether or not having an abortion can be considered humane depends very little, I would say, on what the feelings of the object being acted upon are. Abortion at an early term is much the same as abortion in the late term if we are considering it in a void (i.e., there is no information on the health of the child, etc.).

The late and early term debate, I think, brings in other factors that need to be considered in the decision from a personal as well as a social perspective, and considers the rights of the fetus as it develops. The idea that “viability” should be an absolute bar considers the fetus as having rights, for instance, even though it is yet to be born.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob Viability has to do with whether the fetus is still dependent or parasitic on the mother. I am conflicted about the viability, because first and foremost the woman should have control over her body. But, as I said above, I come down on the side of viability having meaning in terms of the rights of the fetus.

I completely disagree a 14 day embryo is the same as a 6 month fetus. But, this has nothing to do with a religious belief that the soul is there at conception. That would be a side argument, that I would never try to argue actually. I am talking from a scientific perspective. A group of cells less than an inch in diameter, is not the same as a fetus if removed from the mother could take a breath and survive without intervention. I don’t see how people see them as equal?

crisw's avatar


“Whether or not having an abortion can be considered humane depends very little, I would say, on what the feelings of the object being acted upon are.”

I think that goes against the very definition of “humane.” This definition depends entirely on the feelings of what is acted upon.

If I hit a car with a sledgehammer or chop down a tree with an axe, I may be committing a destructive act, but no sensible person would claim that I was being inhumane to the car or the tree. This is because neither is able to sense pain or to suffer. In the case of abortion, then, whether or not the fetus is developed enough to suffer is entirely relevant.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – when we’re talking about something as a “humane” action without any other information, then I disagree. I think that’s where we have this disconnect. I think you’re right, that an abortion of a 14 day embryo is not the same as that of a 6 month fetus. That’s not what I was saying. Merely that, again, in a vacuum, there’s nothing in the decision-making process that makes it humane at one point or another, moreso that as the development progresses, we are taking more and more other considerations into play.

@crisw – I think that you’re right that the actual object is considered when we determine whether one act is more humane than another, but it’s still about the feelings that it stirs in the subject separate and apart from considerations of the object’s feelings. We are more likely to think that harmful acts against something similar to us are inhumane, but it’s not because of the consideration of the actual subjectivity of the thing being acted upon…it’s because we experience more empathy towards it.

Although that’s a semantic separation, I think it’s important when we are in the abortion discussion to remember simply for bridge building purposes.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob I disagree with your statement, but I see what you are pointing out. I guess my argument to you, if I were to argue your point, is if it is being aborted the mother does not want it for some reason or another. Might be she is unable to handle a child now, or she believes the baby is better not being born. Any baby born into that circumstance might not be in a good situation, so it is never really in a void I think.

So does humane only enter in for you if say the developing fetus has an extreme abnormality? Then you are ok with aborting?

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – I don’t know if we really disagree, though. I think that any of the reasons that you mention aren’t linked at all to the developmental stages (again, in a vacuum) of the child in the womb. As I said, my argument applies only to the situation of the OP – where we have no additional information.

The problem is that being “unable to handle a child now, or [believing] the baby is better not being born” are decisions that are personal and have nothing to do with whether adoption or abortion is a better choice. If you can find parents for a child, or decide to give it up for adoption, why abort? There is an amount of work entailed in finding the information necessary to determine whether something is humane in these circumstances.

Being humane is even across developmental stages is all I’m saying without the additional information. With that information, whether a decision is humane becomes more complicated.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob Adoption would never be an option for me. Well, never is a strong word, but in a typical circumstance I would not give up my baby for adoption, it would have to be a very very extreme situation, like the Nazi’s are coming. I don’t know if that has to do with being humane though. It is more selfish I guess. But, since I don’t feel like ending the life of a 5 week embryo is killing a baby, it is different for me than someone else who does believe that. I have had 5 bad pregnancy, I wanted those babies, was actively trying to get pregnant. I feel like my pregnancies failed, not that my babies died. For me it is a loss, a loss of hopes and dreams, but not the death of a person/people.

mattbrowne's avatar

Preventing unwanted pregnancies is a humane thing to do. Not punishing doctors and women who have an abortion is a humane thing to do. The abortion itself creates an ethical dilemma. Therefore preventing unwanted pregnancies is so important.

MilkyWay's avatar

thanks everyone

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
crisw's avatar


Stop the preaching, please; this is not a church website. And please try to write in standard English, not chatspeak.

“It’s not a fetus is a human being!”

It is biologically human. But so are all the cheek cells you kill every time you brush your teeth. It is no more a “human being” in the moral sense than an egg is a chicken, or an acorn an oak tree.

“Ik people say well so and so got raped and it wasn’t their choice to have a baby but if they don’t want the baby then they can give the baby up for adoption..”

So you would force a woman to live with the memory of what was done to her for nine months? You would force her to remain pregnant against her will?

“The baby didn’t have a choice in the act if he/she got to live or not… ”

There is no “baby” that can make choices. There is a clump of cells that cannot suffer or have desires.

“Think about it
what happens if ur mom thought of having an abortion with you? ”

Then there would never have been a being, at any point, who could suffer or make choices. Thus, there was never a being that could be harmed. Thus, there was never an individual, in the moral sense. So there would be no one to suffer any harm.

HIMG's avatar

I’m sorry I’m not trying to preach..
The person asked the question so I anwsered it =)
sorry for the inconvince
It’s a free country..

MilkyWay's avatar


HIMG's avatar

Your welcome hope I was some help

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