Abortion; not only is it one of the most divisive issues in American politics, but it is also one of the most commonly assigned essay topics. Professors take different approaches to the topic. Some might ask you to write an argumentative essay supporting either the pro-life or pro-choice positions; others may ask you to write an expository essay explaining those positions; and some might even suggest that you decide what approach to take to the topic. However, whatever type of essay you are asked to write, you will be expected to back up your position with facts that bolster your position so that it is not merely an essay describing your personal thoughts and beliefs. In fact, you may not even understand your own personal thoughts about the issue. While the media likes to portray pro-life and pro-choice forces as diametric opposites, the reality is that many people have ambiguous feelings about the procedure. Very few people believe that abortion should be permitted for any reason up until a pregnancy is full term; on the other end of the spectrum, few people believe that abortion should be not be permitted in cases where the mother’s life is in danger or when the pregnancy has been determined to be non-viable. The fact that such a seemingly clear-cut issue is actually far more complex than most people believe can make it very difficult to know where to start your abortion essay.
Because students often have a very difficult time writing essays on divisive topics like abortion, we are providing this guide to give you a step-by-step approach to completing this essay. We will not tell you whether to take a pro-choice or a pro-life position, but, instead, will tell you how to approach sources and craft a successful essay that defends whichever position you choose to take. If you follow these steps, your end result should be a high-quality essay that highlights all of the strengths of your writing, and results in your best possible grade.
With any highly politicized issue, one of the potential pitfalls you face as a researcher is that advocates on both sides of the issue will use highly prejudicial language to describe things in an attempt to sway your position, rather than simply to inform you of facts. Therefore, it is important to know some vocabulary before you begin your abortion paper. Key terms to know for an abortion paper include abortion, partial-birth abortion, viable, late-term abortion, embryo, fetus, rape, and incest. In addition, because so many of the arguments against abortion are rooted in religious beliefs, if you intend to use religious beliefs to bolster your argument, it is important to understand what the relevant holy books for the religion you are using actually say about abortion. The best source for that information is the holy books themselves, because a quick Google search reveals that holy books can be used to support both pro-life and pro-choice positions. For example, The Skeptics Annotated Bible suggests that the Bible is essentially pro-choice, while the Catholic Answers website provides several Bible quotes that suggest that abortion is a sin. Therefore, while a web search for information about those passages may be helpful, the bias apparent in most sources makes it imperative that you go to the source material and read the passages in context so that you can evaluate whether they support or oppose your position.
When you are assigned an essay, you may also be told what type of essay to write. The main types of essays assigned in academic writing are: persuasive essays, analytical essays, expository essays, and argumentative essays. Because abortion is a divisive issue, many people write persuasive or argumentative essays on the topic, even when told to write a different type of essay. An expository essay discusses abortion without drawing any conclusions about the issue. An analytical abortion essay analyzes something related to abortion, again without drawing a conclusion about a position. Persuasive and argumentative essays both support a particular position, but persuasive essays are less forceful than argumentative essays. A persuasive essay tells the reader why he or she should share your position on abortion, but an argumentative essay goes further and tells the reader not only why they should support your position, but also why the opposing position is wrong. Many reasonable people have compromise positions on abortion; if you choose to take a compromise position, then a persuasive essay might be the right approach. However, if you take an absolute pro-life or pro-choice approach, then you would choose an argumentative essay.
While abortion may be your general topic, there is such a wide variety of research on abortion and so many divergent topics to discuss under the general abortion heading that you will need to narrow your position in order to write an effective essay. Depending on how much knowledge you have about abortion and the abortion debate, you may be able to come up with a thesis-statement that will guide your writing. If you know little about the abortion debate, you may need to do additional research before you can develop your topic and focus on your thesis statement. Some issues that people consider when writing abortion essays include:
-The use of abortion as birth control;
-Abortion for preferential fetal gender-selection;
-Abortion in multiple pregnancies;
-Abortion and sexual assault or incest;
-Abortion and maternal health;
-Is abortion murder;
-The post-abortion impacts on maternal mental health;
-Abortion rights and fathers; should fathers be able to compel or prevent abortions; and
-Abortion and Christianity.
The tone of your thesis statement is highly dependent on the type of essay that you are trying to write. After each of our suggested thesis statements, we have included the type of essay it would support.
Abortion is routinely used as birth control in a number of locations around the world. (Expository).
While abortion is an effective tool for preferential fetal gender selection in families with sex-linked genetic diseases, its overuse for gender selection in healthy fetuses has led to large disparities in male and female populations in certain areas. (Analytical).
Although many people argue that rape or incest should provide exceptions to abortion regulations, how a fetus was conceived does not mitigate the moral arguments surrounding abortion. (Persuasive).
Though pro-choice advocates try to couch abortion in terms of a mother’s rights, the end result of every abortion is the end of a life; abortion is murder. (Argumentative).
Once you have determined the type of essay, your topic, and your thesis statement, you need to find sources to support your claims. Abortion is probably one of the most-searched topics on the internet and there is a plethora of resources available. However, it is very difficult to find objective sources on the topic. Therefore, you should evaluate each source that you contemplate, and, if you choose to use a source that is biased, acknowledge that bias when citing the source. One source for objective material is the procon.org website’s abortion page. There, you can find information supporting both arguments. Another good source of information is the Balanced Politics abortion page. If you do choose to use a biased source, attempt to verify that information through a non-biased source.
General rules about sources also apply. Ideally, sources should be less than three years old. Because many abortion essays are going to touch on legal issues, you may be citing case law that is decades old; this is permissible, but you need to ensure that you have included any changes or modifications that have been made to those laws, or, at the very least, acknowledge that changes have been made. In addition, your university may provide specific guidelines about what types of sources are or are not acceptable. Because there is so much information about abortion available in so many different types of media, if you have a question about whether a source is acceptable, the best advice is not to use that source. One source that your college may specifically prohibit is Wikipedia. The open-source editing format of Wikipedia makes it a difficult source to rely upon, but there is no question that Wikipedia provides some wonderful overviews of a wide-variety of topics, including abortion. While we would not suggest directly citing a Wikipedia article in your research paper, Wikipedia’s abortion article provides a great overview of the topic and links to some high-quality academic sources. Google Scholar and Encyclopedia Britannica also provide good starting-points for your research.
Wherever you find your information, it is critical that you provide citations for any writing that is not your own and any ideas, facts, or figures that, even if you are presenting them in your own language, you derived from a source. If you are in doubt about whether or not something requires citation, err on the side of citation; while citing something that did not actually require citation may result in you losing some points on your essay, failing to cite something that did require citation can result in you receiving a failing grade and facing potential punishments for plagiarism.
When citing material, you will choose a style for your paper and use that style consistently throughout your essay. The most commonly used academic writing styles are MLA and APA, but you may also be asked to use Turabian or Chicago styles.
“Clinton’s views on abortion are more nuanced and reflect her religious commitments to a greater degree than partisans on either side of the issue may realize” (Renaud).
Renaud, M. “Hilary Clinton’s Moral Conflicts on Abortion.” The Atlantic August 6, 2016.
Web, 28 Sept. 2016. < http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/hillary-clinton-abortion/494723/>.
“In the church, we face the challenge of upholding the sanctity of life, while simultaneously ministering to women who feel overwhelming shame about their abortions” (Roys, 2015).
Source Format for Work Cited / Bibliography:
Roys, J. (2015, February). The secret shame of abortion in the church. Christianity Today.
Retrieved September 28, 2016 from the Christianity Today website: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2015/february/secret-shame-of-abortion-in-church.html
Many students learn best by following examples, which is why example essays are an invaluable resource for many students. Example essays can help you develop a topic, narrow your theme, or learn which topics or themes to avoid. They can help you hone your arguments and point you to valuable resources. They are also a great way to learn how to properly format an essay in a specific academic style.
Pros and Cons of Abortion Essay – This specific essay which was completed in 2017, discusses the pros and cons of having an abortion. It also discusses the pro life movement and the future of Roe vs Wade. This essay is a total of 10 pages with 24 sources.
Abortion Should Not Be Legal Essay – This specific essay discusses the reasons why Abortion should not be legal on the grounds that it is immoral to take the life of a fetus. It specifically goes into the case of Roe vs Wade and discusses specific reasons why Abortion should be illegal. This essay is a total of 6 pages with 6 sources
Abortion and Religion Essay – This essay discusses the debate of Abortion with the Church and how many religious groups have been vocal on condemning this medical procedure. This essay is a total of 4 pages and 4 sources.
We hope that this abortion essay article has helped you find the tools and tips you need to write your best essay, ever. However, we know that writing is a very intimidating task for some students. If you need additional help with your abortion essay, you can request help from one of our tutors. Our writing tutors are professional writes who will work with you to provide you a customized one-of-a-kind essay that follows your specific instructions. You can use this example as a reference while writing your own paper. If you are interested in learning more about this very popular student assistance program, click here.