Legalization of Abortion – A Debate
Abortion has been a controversial issue around the world, especially in the United States, for decades. While abortion has been legalized in many states in the US, many states still have upheld their erstwhile decision of banning abortions. The practice of terminating a fetus has often been debated on the grounds of morality, legality, and ethics. Some argue that women have the right to choose what she wants to do to their body. While an opposing school of thought suggests that abortion should be banned by law since it is an immoral act. In this essay, we will discuss whether abortion should be made legal or not by presenting arguments both in favor and against the motion. We will also evaluate pro-choice and pro-life points of view and try to understand why abortion often gets synonymous with murder.
Debates On Abortion
The debates on abortion usually revolve around moral, ethical, and legal grounds. People who are staunch believers in the pro-life concept argue that abortion is morally wrong. Abortion means taking the life of someone innocent, especially when the unborn child is not at fault. They believe that life begins at conception, and everyone, even if they are unborn, has the right to live. So, this school of believers argues that government should protect the lives of unborn children by law and ban abortion all around the US.
On the other hand, the advocates of pro-choice argue that as a woman, she has the right to decide what is best for her. Ultimately, it is her own body, and if she chooses to terminate a pregnancy, then the government cannot prohibit her from doing so. They believe that women should have the freedom to choose whether to carry on with the pregnancy or not. They also believe that if the government enforces laws about abortion, it is an infringement of women’s rights.
Arguments Against Abortion
· Abortion leads to suicide and depression
People who argue against abortions always talk about PAS or post-abortion syndrome, a scientific term coined by Dr. Vincent Rue. Rue himself is an anti-abortion campaigner, and his studies observed that women who have undergone abortions feel trauma and stress, which leads to acute depression in many cases. With prolonged phases of depression, many women also are forced to choose the path of suicide.
· Abortion causes cancer
Abortion is already a rather emotive issue. It is also being observed that women who choose to abort their pregnancy put themselves at risk of cancer. Many women who underwent abortions later succumbed to cancer, particularly breast cancer. However, most modern medical communities have disregarded this belief saying that there is no substantial evidence to connect cancerous cells to abortion.
· Abortion leads to infertility
The early methods of abortions were indeed terrifying. Doctors used dilation and curettage methods that always carried the risks of permanent scarring, which could lead to complications. So, it is true that until a certain time, abortions could threaten a woman’s fertility. But with the recent suction-based techniques, the risks of infertility are now negligible.
· The fetus feels pain
Another argument against abortion was that the fetus can feel pain when it is surgically removed. Hence, this is a brutal affair that must be stopped. However, the medical board has dismissed this concept. According to medical experts, to feel pain, a fetus must have a working nervous system and a brain. That development is not completed in a fetus until the twenty-sixth week. So if the abortion is done before that, it is highly unlikely that the fetus even realizes what is happening.
· Reducing access to abortion decreases the demand
Anti-abortion campaigners operate under the assumption that if the government limits access to abortion, then the women will be demotivated to ask for abortion or pregnancy. However, this assumption lacks data, as most studies show that abortion rates are almost equal in countries with and without legal abortion laws.
Arguments For Abortion
· Abortion is a safe medical procedure
Contrary to the assumptions of many anti-abortion campaigners, abortion is a completely safe process. In the US, the death rate of legal abortions is minimal. (0.7 deaths among 1,00,000 abortions)
· Abortion bans endangered healthcare for those not seeking abortions
Medical treatment for non-viable pregnancies follows the same process as abortion. So, when abortion gets banned, many women who need similar kinds of treatment get deprived of proper medication.
· Banning abortions deny autonomy to the body
Banning abortions means that the government is not allowing women to have control over their own bodies. In the 21st century, not allowing someone to take decisions about their own body is a regressive idea and sets a bad precedent for future generations.
Evaluation of Pro-life Vs. Pro-choice Point of View
The pro-choice and pro-life points of view are both based on two deeply-held beliefs – the individual right of a human and the value of human life. Pro-choice believes that every woman has the right to take any decisions about her own body. And that includes the decision to terminate her pregnancy. According to their argument, the government should never interfere in anyone’s personal life and choices.
However, the advocates of pro-life believe that life is sacred, even when it's unborn. So, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of those who are yet to be born. So, they believe that killing a fetus is a form of murder and must be restricted by law.
When we evaluate these two schools of thought, we find that the fundamental difference between pro-choice and pro-life believers is their belief about when life starts. While pro-life believers believe that life begins at conception, pro-choice advocates believe there is no life until the baby is out of the mother’s womb. This difference of opinion is the source of all the controversy regarding abortion. View Examples
The Reasons Behind the Concept – Abortion is Murder
- Many pro-life believers are under the impression that abortion is murder because they believe that a mother is intentionally killing a life during an abortion. They believe that every life since conception has the right to live. So, they oppose the idea of killing an innocent human being.
- Another reason they argue abortion is murder is because it violates the right to life. Every human being has the same right to live according to the international laws. So, if everyone has the right to live, it is the responsibility of the government to protect that right. So, they argue that the same right should be extended to unborn children too.
- They also believe that every child that is yet to see the light of the day is innocent and has done nothing to deserve death. So, they tag abortion as a form of unjustified killing and argue should be prohibited by law.
Furthermore, their justification is that unborn children are the most vulnerable members of the society. They cannot speak for their rights, nor can they defend themselves. Since it is our duty to protect vulnerable members of society, the government should also extend the protection to unborn children.
Conclusion to the debate
So, by judging all these points, we can only say that abortion is an extremely sensitive and contentious issue. It involves beliefs that are deep-rooted. Hence it is nearly impossible to change anyone's mindset about this topic. The debate can carry on eternally as it creates a conflict between individual rights and human life. This is why the abortion laws in the US have seen many reforms. Abortion was strictly prohibited in most of the American states even a few years back. However, many states have lifted the bans after protests. Many states made regulations like if the doctor can hear the fetal heartbeat, then they cannot proceed with the abortion anymore.
However, the debate doesn’t seem to see quick resolutions as the two types of believers have conflicting views on the fetal heartbeat issue. While pro-life activists believe that a heartbeat indicates a life, the government is doing the right job by prohibiting abortion. However, pro-choice advocates argue that fetal heartbeat can start as early as around six weeks of pregnancy. Most of the time, women don’t even understand that they are pregnant at six weeks. So, many women can get exposed to several health complications because of this rule. They also argue that the socio-economic condition of the parents also plays a crucial role in deciding whether they are ready to have a baby. So, if the abortion bans, even the partial ones, are not lifted, many women will be forced to opt for illegal abortions.
Most of these illegitimate health centers are unhygienic and unsafe, which puts the lives of these women at risk. So, like most issues in our society, there is no easy and definite solution to whether abortion should be made legal or not.