Abortion is one of the main themes in this story, and I'm focusing on that for my paper, but it's sort of difficult when I don't know how I feel about the subject. So I'm turning to the book.
As a pro-life advocate, it is precisely the issue you mention that disturbs me so greatly about this story. In my opinion, the "moral dilemma" is dwarfed by a pro-abortion platform. Just as the rules of the cider house are not always to be followed, ... neither is adherence to the sacredness of life. In other words, if one reads between the lines, the interpretation is that, in certain situations, the life of an unborn child should be taken. It is the mastery of how this deception is executed that make this story such a scary one. One of the biggest regrets of my life was not walking out (during the movie version) when the abortion was performed. The whole thing still haunts me, ... and I fear that the story's subconscious, and even subliminal, messages continue to turn people from life.
I think that one of the most powerful elements about the story is how it constructs a narrative of complexity through its discussion of abortion. Just as how the story articulates that the debate over abortion is not easily resolved, such as in the discussions between Homer and Dr. Larch, the complexities within human action are as complex and intricate. In this light, the story brings to light that the reason why abortion is such a challenging issue is that it represents one of the most quintessentially human elements in that there are no easy answers in issues where human action and emotion are involved. The absence of arbitrary and reductive solutions is what makes Irving's work so profound about both abortion and the interactions that defines human identity. The subject of abortion might be an area where one can seize upon in terms of possessing their own answers, but Irving's work forces contemplation of the intricate emotional dynamics that are involved in it. In this same way, Irving links this same dynamic to all human interactions. The simplistic view of the world that Homer possesses when he sets out to experience it is far from the view he possesses once he interacts with it. It is in this complex dynamic that Irving is able to interject both the subject matter and the plot of the novel.