The debate over abortion comes down to one essential issue — the moral status of the unborn child. Those making the case for the legalization of abortion argue that the developing fetus lacks a moral status that would trump a woman’s desire to abort the child. Those arguing against abortion do so by making the opposite claim; that the unborn child, precisely because it is a developing human being, possesses a moral status by the very fact of its human existence that would clearly trump any rationale offered for its willful destruction.
This central issue is often obscured in both public argument and private conversations about abortion, but it remains the essential question. We have laws against homicide, and if the unborn child is recognized legally and morally as a human being, abortion would be rightly seen as murder.
In the main, abortion rights advocates have drawn the moral line at the moment of birth. That is why, even with our contemporary knowledge of the developing fetus, abortion rights activists have persistently argued in favor of abortions right up to the moment of birth. Anyone doubting this claim needs only to consider the unified opposition of leading abortion rights advocates to restrictions on late-term abortions.