Table of Contents
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Arguments for abortion ………………………………………………………………… 2
Arguments for abortion ………………………………………………………………… 8
Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………… 11
Works Cited ……………………………………………………………………………. 12
The issue of abortion continues to cause a raging debate in educational institutions, Congress, religious organizations, human rights watch groups and in many other agencies. It is a contentious issue given that some people support it while others are against the practice. Those supporting abortion advocate for the pro-choice policy while those in opposition are anti-abortion or pro-life reformers. It cannot clearly be established which option the majority of the people stand for unless the topic is solely taken to a referendum which is a complex process involving billions of funds, time and legal processes. Abortion is a perpetual concern because even though it is illegal in most parts of the world, it is still practiced in backstreet clinics. Abortion is currently legal in some states in the US and the contentious debate continues in Congress whether or not to legalize it in all states. This paper seeks to bring out the reasons why abortion should not be legalized, why it is wrong and why it should not be encouraged or entertained.
Arguments against abortion
Murder is both a crime and a sin and abortion constitutes to murder. This can be explained biologically by examining how the process of abortion takes place and leads to the termination of life in its initial stages. Once conception takes place, the zygote begins to develop and within a few weeks it grows into a fetus which takes the shape and form of a baby. By the time women realize that they are pregnant, the fertilized egg is already transformed into a fetus which is similar to a baby only that it is still confined to the protection of the uterus. If killing a delivered baby is murder then exterminating a fetus is also murder, difference being that these two take place at different stages of the baby’s life.
Religion also prohibits the practice of abortion. Both the Bible and Quran acknowledge that God is the provider of life and only Him should determine whether a man lives or dies. When men take it upon themselves to determine the fate of fellow human beings, this is disobedience to God and is defiance of His supreme authority. Additionally, religions prohibit murder directly and state that those who commit murder are liable for the wrath of God because of breaking the sixth commandment. From the biological explanation of abortion, it is evident that abortion is a form of murder as it involves the taking of life which comes from God. Avoiding abortion therefore is not only right and ethical but it is also following the mandate of God and abiding by the Ten Commandments.
The practice of abortion is an indication of corrosion of morals and moral decay in society. It presents a negative image of the society when people openly engage in inhuman acts with no sufficient reason to explain their behavior. The law only provides for mercy to those who murder out of self defense, but other unintentional murder cases are referred to as manslaughter which is punishable under law. Abortion should not be legalized because even though people carry it out, deep down within their conscience tells them that there is something wrong with their actions. The secular world ignores issues about morality when discussing abortion in fear that morality may interfere with politics. The debate however is about whether abortion is right or wrong. Legalizing the practice simply because it is necessary for selfish reasons would be allowing moral putrefy in society.
To further explain how abortion practices lead to moral decadence, the activities leading to abortion can be analyzed. For the topic of abortion to arise, sexual intercourse must have taken place. In most cases, this does not happen within the right context such as in marriage or between responsible couples who are ready to face the consequences of indulging in sexual activity. Abortion is necessitated when a woman or girl becomes pregnant but is not ready to face the responsibilities of motherhood. Logically, if the objective is to avoid motherhood, then precautions should be taken to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Furthermore, there are measures available which can lead to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Pregnancies which result from carelessness or ignorance should not be considered as ‘unwanted’ but rather as ‘careless’ pregnancies. By giving individuals who create such situations a way out of their predicament is in essence promoting irresponsible sexual behavior. Instead of allowing abortion, more education should be provided on the use of contraceptives and sex education so that pregnancies are avoided in safe and ethical ways.
There are currently a wide range of contraceptives that women can use to prevent pregnancies (Weitz and Cockrill, p. 412). These include condoms which prevent STIs as well as pregnancies, the coil, Norplant and morning after pills. In case of accidental situations whereby people have unprotected sex during the fertile periods of a woman’s cycle, the recommended method to prevent pregnancies is the use of emergency pills (commonly referred to as E- pills). All these contraceptive methods are safe, scientifically approved and recommended measures to prevent pregnancies. If abortion is legalized, the usage of these contraceptives will reduce as people will take abortion as the way out of unwanted pregnancies. This is because a significant proportion of women who seek to abort usually have done it before. The safe methods of preventing pregnancies should not be replaced with abortion which is unsafe and risky to the future reproductive health of women.
Growth of the information age is another reason why abortion should not be allowed. In the current world, there is a lot of information available about risks of sexual behavior, unprotected sex, risks of abortion and contraceptive use. People who seek abortion as a solution to problems associated with irresponsible sexual practices cannot be given the benefit of the doubt because there is too much information on how to avoid these situations. Formerly people found themselves pregnant because of ignorance of facts for example the knowledge that having sex once only can lead to pregnancies. Many girls were impregnated after falling to temptation once and thinking that pregnancies were caused by repetitive sexual intercourse.
Abortion cannot be categorized as a necessary evil. Other than the increased accessibility of information, there is also the availability of alternative options in case one decides to keep a pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancies do not necessarily have to lead to misery, poverty or the added responsibility of motherhood. The pregnant person can give up the child for adoption which has been made easier in the modern world. If a pregnant girl wishes to continue with school or cannot afford to take care of a baby, there are plenty of couples who do not have the privilege of reproducing yet are well off. Since the option to adopt is possible, the choice to abort does not arise as a result of a do or die predicament that befalls innocent girls.
Every human being has been given the opportunity to experience life and this is a fundamental right recognized by the international human rights. Those who are alive were given the chance to live by someone who never aborted them. They should therefore extend the same favor and privilege to others by respecting the right to life as soon as conception takes place. During the period of pregnancy leave alone conception, it is impossible to know the kind of personality that is about to be delivered into the world. Hussey argued that the cycle of poverty is continued by unintended pregnancies (p. 270). A poor woman however might be carrying the child who will enable her to get out of her misery. Abortion is also carried out mostly behind the back of the men who are responsible for the pregnancies. This is against their rights to be informed since they have stake in the pregnancies (Silverman et al., p. 1416).
Abortion has been discovered to cause psychological trauma to women who undergo the process. Abortion affects women both physically and psychologically (Jones, p. 284). Psychological trauma begins with their conscience which makes the woman to have a constant sense of guilt and regret. Medical information also reveals that women who undergo the process of abortion have trouble sleeping because of night mares. These women also have severe cases of psychological stress which leads to depression. Although in rare cases, some women who aborted have become insane as a result of the trauma and mental problems that follows the process (Weitz and Cockrill, p. 410). The psychological effects (post-abortion syndrome) which follow the operation make women who abort not to be able to concentrate on work or their personal relationships. As such, The restrictive laws against abortion in various states possibly decreases abortion and borrowing form socioeconomic data in the US Bureau o f census, it is evident that the ratio between childbearing women vis a vis the number of abortions informs of the extensive positive effects on the society. This is characteristic the outcry of the evangelical Christians in condemning abortion (Medoff, p. 230).
Abortion affects women physically by creating complications in the bodily organs if damaged accidentally during the operation. With regard to this, The trend of abortion nationally is on the increase and despite the continued campaign against it, there is significantly no change. Accordingly the growth of abortion rates in the District of Columbia is increasing at a rate similar to the abortion cases in California (Jones and Kooistra, p. 44). Abortion operations involve a lot of blood loss which can be fatal. These complications are severe as they have resulted in the death of numerous women globally. Abortion is thus a dangerous process which is mostly done by medical quacks who accept the amounts that are affordable by majority of the women and girls who want to abort. Even if abortion is legalized, quacks cannot be totally eliminated in the medical profession and so many women will still be at risk of losing their lives due to unsound medical practices. Safe abortion which is done in hospitals is expensive and few people will be able to afford the costs associated with the operation.
Women who abort do not only suffer immediate side effects but develop lifelong complications as well (Jones and Kooistra, p. 44). Abortion puts women at risk of sterility or ectopic pregnancy. This is because the uterus of the woman can be damaged during the process of removing the fetus. When this happens, the future chances of getting pregnant or delivering a healthy baby get reduced or even eliminated completely. The effects of abortion hence do not end as soon as the woman makes it safely out of the operation theatre but they follow the woman even as she continues with her life since after abortion, the risks of miscarriages increase. Such a dangerous exercise should not be legalized because that would tantamount to legalizing health hazards in society.
The only realistic arguments that have been made in support for abortion have been in relation to cases of rape or incest. These occurrences in their very nature are immoral and their fruit also cannot be pleasant to the victims. It is realistic to consider that a woman who is raped cannot properly raise a child conceived from that horrific event because the child will be a constant reminder of the painful experience. Abortion nonetheless punishes the innocent child who had no role in the rape incident. In light of this, Scholars have attributed the increased causes of abortion to poverty. As such, research points out that the increased cash grants makes it possible for teenagers to opt for giving birth as opposed to abortion. This argument under the umbrella of family caps, informs of the decreased rates of abortion in various states (Hussey, p. 269). Seeking abortion as a solution to conceptions that result from rape is not justifiable but rather is adding salt to injury as two wrongs do not constitute a right. Medical care after rape incidents can ensure that pregnancy does not occur and in case it does adoption would be a better alternative to abortion.
Proponents of abortion argue that the decision to abort or not to lies with the woman because pregnancy occurs on her body. It is an undeniable fact that pregnancy occurs on the body of women but that does not give anyone the right to commit murder. The rights of one person cannot be upheld by violating the rights of another. It is the duty of every individual to uphold the general wellbeing of humanity. Just as environmental laws prohibit people from cutting down trees in their own land in countries with climatic problems, it is upon human beings to ensure that human rights are generally respected by all. If women want control over their bodies as they claim, they should prevent unwanted pregnancies by practicing protected sex or abstaining.
Statistics indicate that majority of those who advocate for abortion are usually young people. Minors and younger youths feel that abortion is okay and necessary because they are the ones under risk of not completing school due to pregnancy or facing shame from peers (Joyce, p. 170). Older women oppose the practice as they are normally married, employed or with stable income. Older women are however more mature than the youthful girls who advocate for abortion. Based on the experience acquired from the lives and observations of older women, the wiser option would be to challenge abortion since this group of older women includes women who aborted in their younger ages.
In the past, girls had to drop out of school when they became pregnant. Teen pregnancies also led to public shame which was experienced by both the girl and her family (Joyce, p. 169). Pregnancy was seen as an indication of failure and lack of good parenthood and parents looked for any means possible to escape the ridicule that followed a daughter’s teen pregnancy. This has however changed due to the successful intervention of human rights movements and feminist groups which have influenced educational agencies to readmit girls who become pregnant while in the middle of their schooling. Indeed girls ought not to be forced to choose between schooling and their babies. Currently, pregnancy is just a set back but not an obstacle to the completion of education. Abortion is therefore not a means through which girls can secure the completion of their education.
Arguments for abortion
Not all people believe that abortion is a vice. Proponents of abortion have come up with several arguments that support abortion. Some of these arguments are sensible and others are neutral. Abortion has been practiced globally for hundreds of years and this could not have been the case if there were not any arguments in support for the process. These opinions are assessed below in order to illustrate that the stronger side in the debate is opposed to abortion.
Proponents for abortion argue that since most abortions are conducted in the first trimester of the pregnancy, then it really is not murder. This opinion views that the fetus cannot survive without the mother who gives it life. Because of the lack of independence of the fetus at this early stage, proponents of abortion stress that what lacks life cannot be murdered. Another view is that human life is different from personhood. This view criticizes the view that the fertilized egg represents human life and abortion is murder. Even if personhood begins at conception, human life does not begin until the fetus can support itself therefore the fetus in the first trimester does not represent a complete person. An incomplete person cannot be murdered and abortion is merely removal of developing cells.
One of the greatest arguments made by pro-choice proponents is that abortion should be legalized because women should determine what happens to their bodies because this is part of their civil rights (Jones, p. 287). They argue that the pregnancy, complications of delivery, giving birth and motherhood are all matters that happen to the woman and so she should decide on whether or not she wants to undergo these processes. This line of thinking is tied to the freedoms contained in human rights and opponents of abortion view it as an abuse of these freedoms. This argument can also be related to another one which highlights that unwanted children should not be brought in the world. Those who support abortion claim that the bigger crime is delivering of babies who are unwanted and who will end up suffering because their mothers were forced to have them. Pro choice supporters argue that abortion prevents cases of child abuse by eliminating cases of unwanted children.
One of the biggest points in support for abortion over many years has revolved around the risks posed by backstreet clinics which perform illegal abortions through unsafe procedures (Baggaley, Burgin and Campbell, p. 4). When abortion is illegal, this contributes to the increase in the number of illegal clinics which perform the operations. Illegal abortions cause the death of numerous women who die in the hands of untrained or unprofessional medical personnel. These events have even made some people who oppose abortion to reconsider their stand of legalizing the process so that it can be done safely.
Abortion has been considered to be excusable in cases where the pregnancy puts the life of the mother at risk. Due to certain medical conditions, some women develop complications which make pregnancy a risk to their own health (Medoff, p. 230). In these situations, medical professionals are forced to terminate the pregnancies in order to save the lives of the expectant women. In cases of rape, incest or sexual abuse, victims normally feel embarrassed to raise complaints about what is done to them. Some women become afraid to speak up fearing that they may not be believed or may be seen as defiled victims. When these violent acts are hidden, pregnancy becomes unnoticed until when it too late to reverse the process.
Proponents of abortion also argue that pregnancies also emerge even with contraceptive use. A percentage of condoms tend to break during sexual intercourse which if unrealized leads to pregnancy. Other forms of contraceptives also fail at times due to hormonal changes or miscalculation of safe days. Due to this, proponents of pro-choice policy argue that abortion is not performed as a type of contraceptive but as a solution to accidental pregnancy which can be caused by contraceptive failure. Proponents of abortion also claim that if abortion is carried out in authorized medical agencies, it is a safe procedure (Baggaley, Burgin and Campbell, p. 8). This is true because hospitals have the necessary staff and equipment to handle complications that may arise during the operation.
Lastly, proponents of abortion bring out that adoption is usually not a practical solution for cases of unwanted pregnancies because after delivering, it still remains the decision of the mother whether or not to give up the child for adoption. Due to emotional response and biological attachment, mothers rarely have the bravery of giving up their newly born babies for adoption to foster parents who they have little or no knowledge about. It becomes more difficult to offer one’s own baby for adoption after delivery and this makes adoption not a realistic solution to the issues which make women opposed to unwanted pregnancies.
The topic of whether or not to legalize abortion is a contentious issue which elicits mixed reactions from different people. There are several arguments for and against abortion and these make sense to people depending on their take on morality, religion, political affiliation and educational background. The arguments for abortion appear to be influenced by the pessimistic view that abortion is inevitable and legalizing it is the only way to ensure that the operations are carried out in a safe manner. The arguments against abortion on the other hand are developed from logical lines of thought that originate from facts and practical evidence. The arguments against abortion are backed by majority of the religious doctrines and theories of morality. As such, these arguments are concerned with the general welfare of humanity and they carry more weight than the points that are in support for abortion. The major shortcoming of points in support for abortion is that they are self centered and they only aim at helping the individual women in question.
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