Comparison/Contrast Essays: Two Patterns

By Rory H. Osbrink

First Pattern: Block-by-Block

Abortion is an example of a very controversial issue. The two opposing viewpoints surrounding abortion are like two sides of a coin. On one side, there is the pro-choice activist and on the other is the pro-life activist. The argument is a balanced one; for every point supporting abortion there is a counter-point condemning abortion. This essay will delineate the controversy in one type of comparison/contrast essay form: the "Argument versus Argument," or, "Block-by-Block" format. In this style of writing, first you present all the arguments surrounding one side of the issue, then you present all the arguments surrounding the other side of the issue. You are generally not expected to reach a conclusion, but simply to present the opposing sides of the argument.

Introduction:
(the thesis is underlined)

Explains the argument

The Abortion Issue: Compare and Contrast Block-by-Block Format

One of the most divisive issues in America is the controversy surrounding abortion. Currently, abortion is legal in America, and many people believe that it should remain legal. These people, pro-choice activists, believe that it is the women's right to chose whether or not to give birth. However, there are many groups who are lobbying Congress to pass laws that would make abortion illegal. These people are called the pro-life activists.

 

Explains pro-choice Abortion is a choice that should be decided by each individual, argues the pro-choice activist. Abortion is not murder since the fetus is not yet fully human, therefore, it is not in defiance against God. Regardless of the reason for the abortion, it should be the woman’s choice because it is her body. While adoption is an option some women chose, many women do not want to suffer the physical and emotional trauma of pregnancy and labor only to give up a child. Therefore, laws should remain in effect that protect a woman's right to chose.
Explains pro-life Abortion is an abomination, argues the pro-life activist. It makes no sense for a woman to murder a human being not even born. The bible says, "Thou shalt not kill," and it does not discriminate between different stages of life. A fetus is the beginning of life. Therefore, abortion is murder, and is in direct defiance of God's will. Regardless of the mother's life situation (many women who abort are poor, young, or drug users), the value of a human life cannot be measured. Therefore, laws should be passed to outlaw abortion. After all, there are plenty of couples who are willing to adopt an unwanted child.
Conclusion If we take away the woman’s right to chose, will we begin limiting her other rights also? Or, if we keep abortion legal, are we devaluing human life? There is no easy answer to these questions. Both sides present strong, logical arguments. Though it is a very personal decision, t he fate of abortion rights will have to be left for the Supreme Court to decide.

 

Second Pattern: Point-by-Point

This second example is also an essay about abortion. We have used the same information and line of reasoning in this essay, however, this one will be presented in the "Point-by-Point" style argument. The Point-by-Point style argument presents both sides of the argument at the same time. First, you would present one point on a specific topic, then you would follow that up with the opposing point on the same topic. Again, you are generally not expected to draw any conclusions, simply to fairly present both sides of the argument.

Introduction:
(the thesis is underlined)

Explains the argument

The Abortion Issue: Compare and Contrast Point-by-Point Format

One of the most divisive issues in America is the controversy surrounding abortion. Currently, abortion is legal in America, and many people believe that it should remain legal. These people, pro-choice activists, believe that it is the women's right to chose whether or not to give birth. However, there are many groups who are lobbying Congress to pass laws that would make abortion illegal. These people are called the pro-life activists.

 

Point One:

Pro-life and Pro-choice

Supporters of both pro-life and pro-choice refer to religion as support for their side of the argument. Pro-life supporters claim that abortion is murder, and is therefore against God's will. However, pro-choice defenders argue that abortion is not murder since the fetus is not yet a fully formed human. Therefore, abortion would not be a defiance against God.
Point Two:

Pro-life and Pro-choice

Another main point of the argument is over the woman's personal rights, versus the rights of the unborn child. Pro-choice activists maintain that regardless of the individual circumstances, women should have the right to chose whether or not to abort. The pregnancy and labor will affect only the woman's body, therefore it should be the woman's decision. Pro-life supporters, on the other hand, believe that the unborn child has the right to life, and that abortion unlawfully takes away that right.
Conclusion

If we take away the woman’s right to chose, will we begin limiting her other rights also? Or, if we keep abortion legal, are we devaluing human life? There is no easy answer to these questions. Both sides present strong, logical arguments. Though it is a very personal decision, t he fate of abortion rights will have to be left for the Supreme Court to decide.

 


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