Should Abortions be Legal?
Abortion has been one of the contentious issues in most nations of the world, especially in the United States of America. Abortion should be recognized as a right in the United States of America, this statement is supported by the arguments of Roemer (1993, pp. 23-25). Many citizens who contemplate abortion have experienced the disapprovals from a section of the society, especially the conservative Christians.
In the history of abortion and its legality, there have been many legal changes that at sometimes legalize abortion and other times the legality of abortion is abolished. There has been a continuous debate on the abortion though it is legally practiced in some regions.
The main issue that is hotly contested in the debate is when life really begins so that the debate shifts from merely thinking about whether abortion is morally good or bad to whether the act violates another person’s right of life or not.
Taking into account both the life of the mother and that of the fetus, abortion should be legalized (Women’s International Network, 1982). The paper discusses the legality of abortion and how illegalizing abortion contravenes the very laws that protect the rights of women.
The main focus of this discussion is that, taking into consideration all dangers associated with pregnancy, abortion should be legalized. It offers the precedence to what necessitates abortion in certain situations where the rights of the pregnant woman override those of the unborn.
There are many premises on which the debate about abortion has been anchored. The most dominant premise on which this one has been done is religion. The religious groups, especially the Christians and Muslims, are historically known to be ardent anti-abortionists (Naden, 2007, p. 43).
They entirely rely on what is recorded in the bible and the Koran respectively, but the two holy books have not openly discussed anything related to abortion. The premises on which the religious groups base their arguments are simply interpretations of what the books record.
Christian arguments against abortion are directly interpreted from Jeremiah 1: 5. This verse states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Mattingly, 2004, p. 40). This is a claim of God speaking to somebody called Jeremiah, who was a Christian prophet around the year 667 B.C.E.
A good number of powerful politicians, who also profess these faiths, have also been known to argue against abortion on the basis of religion, which is a subjective way of taking up the argument. Such politicians have not taken into account that their stand on any national issue should not be seen to be biased, but must be representative of all those they represent irrespective of any form of affiliations.
When it comes to matters of religion, the state is supposed to uphold its neutrality status. Legalizing abortion will allow women to be free from any harm that may arise from pregnancies, especially when the pregnancy is unwanted. This will also allow women to choose whether they really want to keep the child they carry or not.
The support given to religious anti-abortionists by some powerful politicians even complicates further the matter of whether to illegalize or legalize abortion. Assuming that the Christian bible does not prohibit abortion, are there any other reasons abortion should be illegalized?
Most, if not all, of the reasons anti-abortionists detest abortion are based on religious principles. If the religious basis is taken out of the picture then they do no have any concrete reasons. Thus, using Christian or religious perspective to illegalize abortion is to deny the non-religious citizens certain fundamental rights.
There are several biased arguments that have been advanced against abortion and some of such biases are fallacies that do not conform to the reality of the issues at hand. One such argument is the hypothesis that abortion may result into breast cancer; this hypothesis is even accepted by some politicians. This notion has been disproved and can be viewed as a plot by the anti-abortionist to persuade women against abortion (Basso, 2003, p. 251-257).
The fight against abortion is historical and most of the reasons advanced actually beat the logic. Some of these reasons include, but not limited to, the arguments that women should be allowed to refuse to have sex with their husbands whenever they feel necessary so that they may avoid complications related to pregnancies, that abortion can lead to death of the mother and that abortion will haunt a woman’s conscience until she dies.
The debate on abortion has become so hot that anti-abortionists specifically target the women and doctors who contemplate abortion with violent actions. The anti-abortionists have made it difficult for women to secure the services of abortion by harassing the professionals who offer the services and also the women who go for the abortion.
It has also been argued, that there has never been an unwanted pregnancy. The proponents of this argument state that in case the mother does not want the kid she can give the child to a family that would like to adopt the child. Such an argument is oblivious of the fact that it is humanly painful to see a child being raised by another family yet the mother may be able to take care of the child.
How does a rich woman feel when her child is being raised by a low social class family yet she enjoys everything she has? The psychological and emotion implication of this question is not addressed by such a proposition (Women’s International Network, 1982, p.74).
Here we argue against the legalization of abortion as it recognizes the basis on which abortion may be illegalized. Abortion has often been punishable since time immemorial. As much as a woman should be allowed the right to abort, the whole issue is still debated on with reference to religious beliefs and principles.
Both anti-abortionists and pro-abortionists have become hardliners; this implies that either side hold on the belief and conviction that it is right. The proponents of both sides have not listened to each other’s side of the story. Considering both sides of the debate, it is important to realize that they present some genuine arguments.
The problem is that either side completely and deliberately ignores each other’s reasons. The nation is a secular state; this means that the state should approach the issue putting into consideration the population dynamics in terms of religious beliefs. In most cases, the pro-abortionists have failed to realize the danger in which the whole society is placed.
Even though the anti-abortion crusaders have not really mentioned it in detail, some anti-abortionists have argued that that the sustenance of the population of the society is likely to end up in jeopardy if abortion is allowed to be practiced openly.
Pregnancy is the only natural means by which the dying population is replaced the future generation brought into existence; the new generation can only be brought to the world through pregnancy. In view of its long run effects, the sentiments of the anti-abortionists are therefore understandable on the grounds that abortion will interfere with the natural replacement of the aging and the dying population (Noonan, 1979, p. 27).
Even though death can occur in any situation in human life, especially with regards to women, it is important to realize that abortion is one of the risk factors that can independently cause death. In this case, death may arise when the person offering the services of abortion is not medically qualified or in cases where the medical professional is likely to commit human error or omission. [Are there cases in which the professional IS qualified, yet the woman still experiences complications?]
Many a time, a pregnant woman seeks an abortion without considering the possible consequences. One of the consequences is death, as previously discussed.
A woman may seek an abortion as a right and in the end cut short her life hence ending the enjoyment of her right of life. [It seems as though the previous sentences should be combined with the previous paragraph; the next sentence starts a new topic and, therefore, a new paragraph.] (There is no problem in the said sentence) There are also other challenges that emanates from abortion.
Abortion has high potential of causing secondary infertility which implies that such a woman is highly likely to stay without giving birth to children after abortion. The infertility arises from complications following improper treatment after abortion or due to medical misfortune during the whole process.
The process of abortion may cause serious damages to the womb thereby preventing the attachment of other subsequent embryos. Other problems include infection of the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, and cervical incompetence (McConnell, 2006, p. 107). These form parts of the fears anti-abortionists have against abortion.
It is true that issues pertaining to abortion are grounded on Christianity or rather religion as opposed to the morals of the society as whole.
It is wrong to state, that those arguing against abortion are driven by religious belief and conservativeness; there are atheists who do not support abortion and would do everything they can to ensure they do not support abortion, regardless of whether it remains legal or illegalized. It is important that all these views also be considered (Converse, 2003, p. 168).
Critically examining these arguments we find that the religious groups have only been concerned with the right of unborn and forgotten that the mother carrying the child is also a human being who needs to survive or rather enjoy the same right to live as the unborn child. It is right to argue that the unborn has the right to live, especially when pregnancy has reached an advanced stage.
But, it is also important to look at the other side of the coin; what happens when the pregnancy puts a woman’s life in danger and the doctors cannot perform abortion because they fear losing their jobs and facing legal actions for performing illegal abortion? This is a question the conservatives have not addressed and seem not to be ready to address.
Many pro-life supporters approve of abortion in such case; however, the instances in which they disapprove of it outweigh the instances in which they may accept it. This question can only be answered appropriately by objective intervention of the law that must come in to protect both the pregnant women and the unborn children.
Again, not all pregnancies arise out of mutual consent between a man and a woman; some pregnancies arise due to rape (LaFollette, 2002, p. 417-449). All women, especially the unmarried, have the right to choose whether they want to have babies or not. In a situation where a woman is forcefully impregnated and she does not want the baby she should be allowed to abort as a right.
Illegalizing abortion is likely to interfere with other rights that are fundamental to citizens’ sphere of life. Medically, there are instances when a woman’s life may be in danger and the only way out is through the termination of pregnancy. In such a case, subject to medical examination and doctor’s recommendation, abortion should be allowed (Lee, 2003, p. 1 48 and 161).
It may be logical that a pregnancy be terminated in order to save the life of woman, however; this may not be possible where abortion is blindly illegalized. The medical professionals may recommend abortion but not carry it out due to legal implications hence letting the woman to lose her life.
With the current legal abortion in force, to think about denying a woman the chance to abort is a gross violation of human right with respect to the current legal status of the law on abortion. It is unfortunate that even after abortion has been legalized, there are still strong oppositions to it and the anti-abortionists still continue to ignore the facts that should are now sufficient to persuade the on the need to legalize abortion in certain wanting circumstances.
The anti-abortionists have not yet realized instances where abortion may be completely necessary even if the pregnant woman may be in need of a child. Taking for instance, a case where a woman gets pregnant because of rape. It will be painful for a woman to be constantly reminded about being raped by keeping the child.
Again, what will the child feel if one day he or she is told that his or her conception was as a result of rape? This is a scenario that can stress a woman to death hence interfering with her right of life.
It may be possible to illegalize abortion, however, it is notable it will not stop whether legalized or illegalized. Women, especially the financially disabled, will seek the services of unqualified medical doctors or resort to other illegal means which may prove to be even more life threatening than when the act is legalized to be done by qualified and licensed professionals.
The rich women who are able to meet the cost will travel to secure abortion services in other countries where it is legalized. It is therefore important to note that legalizing abortion is not just recognizing the right of relevant personnel but also providing a legal basis on which lives of pregnant women can be saved in case of complications due to pregnancies (Moore and Parker, 2007, p. 113-121).
As much as abortion has some health implications, it is important to realize that it should be legalized so that it can take care of both sides of argument. Legalizing abortion does not mean that every woman will be forced to do so but it allows for those whose lives are in danger due to pregnancy to seek medical recourse.
When abortion is made illegal, the life of many women will be placed at risk considering possible pregnancy complications, but when left to remain legal it will be a woman’s choice to terminate the pregnancy depending with professionally qualified medical practitioners’ recommendations.
To safeguard the furtherance of the societal population, the abortion clauses should spell out clearly conditions under which pregnancies should be terminated. The decisions to terminate such pregnancies should follow from licensed medical professionals.
This will ensure that the societal morals are not degenerated. The legal status of abortion should not be reversed. Any modification should only make it be in the form of a synergy for both pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists.
Basso, M. (2003). The underground guide to teenage sexuality: an essential handbook for today’s teens and parents. New York: Fairview Press.
Converse, R. (2003). Atheism as a positive social force. New York: Algora Publishing.
LaFollette, H. (2002). Ethics in practice: an anthology. Volume 3 of Blackwell philosophy anthologies. Melbourne: Wiley-Blackwell.
Lee, E. (2003). Abortion, motherhood, and mental health: medicalizing reproduction in the United States and Great Britain. United Kingdom: Transaction Publishers.
Mattingly, R. (2004). In every pew sits a broken heart: hope for the hurting. New York: Zondervan.
McConnell, T. (2006). The nature of disease: pathology for the health professions. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Moore, B. N., Parker, R. (2007). Critical Thinking. (8th Ed.). NEW YORK, NY: McGraw- Hill.
Naden, C. (2007). Abortion: Open for Debate – Group 4. New York: Marshall Cavendish.
Noonan, J. (1979). A private choice, abortion in America in the seventies. New York: Free Press.
Roemer, M. (1993). National Health Systems of the World: The issues. New York: Oxford University Press US.
Women’s International Network. (1982). Women’s International Network news, Volume 8. Kenya, Women’s International Network.
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