The Pro / Con Essay

The Pro / Con essay is another common form of academic writing. It examines an idea (proposal, suggestion) from both sides fairly and honestly. The writer’s opinion is only shown in the conclusion of the paper. 

Here is a four-paragraph structure for you to follow:

  1. Introduction
    1. Introduce the topic and state the proposal
  2. Pro Side
    1. State the arguments for the proposal. Include counter-arguments if possible. Be specific and use logic, not emotion.
  3. Con Side
    1. State the arguments against the proposal. Include counter-arguments if possible. Again, be specific and use logic, not emotion.
  4. Conclusion
    1. Restate the proposal and give your opinion.

Sample Pro / Con Essay

Proposal: “Abortion should be made illegal again in the United States.”

One of the most controversial topics over the last 100 years or so in the US is over the right and wrong of abortion. Since the 1970’s, abortion has been legal in all fifty states, but the opposition to abortion remains very strong and well-organized. Equally, the efforts to preserve abortion rights is also firm and well-organized. In the current political situation in the US, this issue is likely to become an even more hotly debated topic. Many people are proposing that abortion be made illegal again. This paper will briefly discuss the pros and cons of this proposal.

On the one hand, the arguments that support making abortion illegal again all rest on the basic fact that an abortion ends a human life. An unborn baby is no less human and no less alive than a newborn baby. In this view, killing a human, regardless of its age, is an act of murder that should not be permitted. People who oppose making abortion illegal again often point out that an unborn baby, especially in the first three months of life, cannot survive outside of a mother’s womb. At this age, the baby is not a fully developed separate person and cannot have the same rights as a newborn baby. However, medical technology is continually improving, and the age at which a premature baby can survive outside of a mother is getting younger and younger. In any case, supporters of the proposition say this does not change the fact that abortion ends a human life, and therefore should be illegal again.

On the other hand, the arguments opposed to making abortion illegal again all focus on the rights of women to control their bodies. They argue that this control is a fundamental human right and that the government cannot tell a woman what she may or may not do with or to her body. They also argue that if women cannot get abortions safely and legally, they will get them illegally and dangerously. As a result, many women will die or have serious medical problems. People who support making abortion illegal again argue that women do not have to have abortions and can instead give their child up for adoption. In any case, opponents believe that the choice is the mother’s to make, and abortion should not be made illegal again.

No one is actually “pro-abortion.” However, this writer cannot support the proposal that abortion be made illegal again in the United States. There is no simple way to balance the rights of the mother and the unborn child. Philosophy or religion can only decide this matter. Therefore, it would be best for everyone if abortion were to remain a safe, legal and very rare medical procedure.

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Assignment: List the pro and con arguments and counter-arguments in the above essay.

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