Throughout the 21st century, that has been multiple controversies around the world, with a new one every few months. One of the unsettled controversies involves giving women the right to abortion. In easy terms, abortion goes by the definition of ending a pregnancy prematurely by removing the embryo or foetus from the body intentionally.
Women and even girls as young as 10 years old often opt for unsafe and illegal abortion due to the various barriers faced such as restricted laws, high cost and also judgement from the public eye (World Health Organization, n.d. para. 4). Legalizing abortion has never been easy even in this modern age of technology in the medicine field. The fight for abortion can be divided into two groups of people. Those against abortion are referred to as pro-life while those fighting for abortion rights are pro-choice people. Pro-life advocates believes that terminating a pregnancy is basically murder leading to abortion on request being illegal in countries such as Afghanistan and Brazil. However, women should be given the right to be in control of her body with the women’s health and emotional condition taken into account before banning abortion around the world.
To begin with, a person’s insight on human life widely depends on his or her upbringing and beliefs. Pro-life supporters believe that life begins at conception, so unborn babies are human beings with a legal right to live. According to science, zygote is the first cell formed immediately after fertilization, followed by morula, blastocyst, embryo and finally the foetus form (Ruse and Schwardzwalder, 2011).
The logical questions then come flooding in such as “In which of these life stages is it considered alive?’ and “Is it human if there’s no organ formation?”. Advocates believe that each and every human individual is gifted with a unique identity, a distinctive set of genes that is close to impossible to be replicated and this gift should be protected in order to promote diversity in gene expression (ProCon.org). Throughout the years, people assume that abortion is equivalent to murder, and the mother is considered heartless and should be held accountable in the name of law. (Ruse and Schwardzwalder, 2011).
Moreover, some also believed that without abortions, it is considered as an advantage to women, children and the society. Nevertheless, the abortion procedure represents so much more than terminating a pregnancy. It proves that women should be given control over their own bodies and aids in saving them from a lifetime of despair and regret from an unwanted pregnancy. In the words of Betty Friedan, women have been fighting for centuries to gain freedom and equality. The fight for abortion is nothing more than providing women the basic choice they deserve (Siegel and Greenhouse, 2011).
Women should be able to decide their own future without pressure placed by a group of strongly religious people who evidently will not be there to support throughout the pregnancy journey. Motherhood is an extremely special bond between the child and the mother and the mother should be emotionally ready to experience it.
However, some may argue that abortions reduce the number of adoptable babies. Women are advised to give away their unwanted babies to happy yet desperate couples who are unable to conceive instead of considering the option to abort. Studies have shown that around 81.5 million individuals have considered adoption at one point in life in America (America Adoptions, n,d, para. 6).
This proves that abortion is far from the only choice given to single mothers out there. By giving the baby up for adoption, the baby has a chance to live happily with his or her family while the mother can continue on with her live. Pro-life advocates believe that banning abortion does not affect the pregnant women’s life with the adoption option in place. In spite of that, abortion inevitably gives pregnant women the option to not bring foetuses with profound abnormalities to full term. Some foetuses have such severe disorders that their whole life will be impaired and affected if they are brought into the world. No other individual will understand the emotional strain on the mother who is knowingly carrying an abnormal child to term with such fatal congenital defects. Even if the mother got through her emotional thoughts, babies with such abnormalities will also be discriminated during the adoption process. This will only cause mental scarring to the young infant at a young age.
It is also morally irresponsible to force a woman to carry her pregnancy to term even when it may impose health risk to the mother and only for her to give it up for adoption. It is only right to have a child when an individual is more well-equipped financially and emotionally to raise and care for them, even with certain abnormalities (Luhrmann, 1979). Abortion should always be a legal option for mother to provide optimum conditions for their child in the future as contraception may still have a 0.1% chance of not working.
In other words, for a woman to make an abortion decision will most definitely cause a huge impact on her mental and physical health. The aftermath of an abortion like depression, guilt and anxiety is not easily understandable by outsiders and will also affect their daily life and activities. However, if women opt to take the abortion option, we should be there to support them throughout the journey and not belittle their decision. Women have proven now and again that they are a vital role to the society hence their legal rights should be protected as well. When abortion is illegal or carried out in an unsafe environment, women may suffer from significant health consequences. The World Health Organization should consider making the abortion procedure one of the basic health services in hospitals around the world.
- World Health Organization – Unsafe abortion: global and regional estimates of the incidence of unsafe abortion and associated mortality in 2008
- National Center for Biotechnology Information – Abortion stigma: a reconceptualization of constituents, causes, and consequences
- Guttmacher Institute – Abortion in the United States