Abortion Clinics Should Remain Open and Accessible

Research PaperAbortion
May 15, 2019

Abortion clinics enable women to exercise their rights. There is ongoing deliberation to close down abortion clinics all over the United States. If successful, this will impede societal progress and regress to an era when women were deprived of basic rights. 

Prior to 1973, abortion-related injuries and deaths had been prevalent due to absence of safe and legal abortion as it was considered a felony. The US Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in the Roe vs. Wade case allowed women to undergo safe and legal abortions performed by qualified professionals. The right to get an abortion has since been inscribed in the 14 th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing the liberty to make decisions concerning childbearing, unequivocally covering women’s right to abortion. Women should be able to make fundamental decisions concerning their bodies and sexual privacy. Only women should be able to make the choice whether or not to abort. Pro-choice stance, correspondingly, is pro-Constitution, pro-woman, and pro-society.

Abortion clinics guarantee safe abortion, as well as psychological and medical care before and after the procedure, to scores of women who elect to undergo the operation. This is because in all cases, the decision to get an abortion is always a final decision, an act of surrender, a difficult but deliberate action. Whatever the reasons are - psychological, medical, emotional, and financial – they are all valid and protected by the Constitution. 

The deliberation is aimed at significantly reducing the number of abortions and presumably, eradicating abortions altogether in the future; the aim itself is unattainable because it runs contrary to human tendency and behaviour. The pro-life movement, fiercely supported by equally irrational ultra-religious groups, is miserably ignorant of the following: 1) that this act is a blatant assault on a fundamental right of every woman protected by the Constitution, 2) abortion will always be present in society due to its uncontrollable nature, and 3) that lobbying to ban abortion on grounds of religious belief is a direct violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution – separation of church and state. Abortion rates in the country before and after Roe vs. Wade are almost the same, which gathers that Roe vs. Wade just enacted into law an already common but formerly illegal practice and that abortion had long been present prior. However, one statistic radically changed – abortion-related injuries and deaths. Due to abortion’s illegal status before 1973, abortion-related injuries and deaths were quite common, due to lack of access to medically-safe abortion and fear of imprisonment. Roe vs. Wade marked a significant drop in abortion-related injuries and deaths due to the presence of easily accessible medical facilities and clinics. The positive change persists until now.

Should Roe vs. Wade get completely overturned, women of the United States will be no different from the oppressed women of countries that criminalize abortion to this day. Not only shall maternal deaths become commonplace; the burden of proceeding with an unwanted pregnancy  shall continually manifest on women – psychologically, emotionally, and physically. On a larger scale, societal regression can reasonably be likened to when women were not allowed to vote, or when slavery was legal. 

The point that pro-life activists make, that abortion is killing, is partially true but majorly flawed. Pro-lifers are quick to assert that the fetus inside a mother is already a life and that it is the mother’s duty to protect that life. Again, this stance is clearly a misconception. While heartbeat in fetuses begins to develop between the third and fourth week, a fetus has nothing in common with a live, feeling, breathing human baby. That is because until 24 weeks, it does not feel anything yet as its brain is still undeveloped and unequipped to discern; its body has not yet acquired the ability to send signals to the brain. Concerning its correlation to the mother’s health, a fetus, irrespective of whether or not the pregnancy is planned, poses many risks to the health of the mother because it uses her entire system for incubation. The argument fails to note that if the mother cannot maintain her health due to the complications of pregnancy, both of them might suffer irreversible problems, hence the need for abortion. 

If a fetus endangers the life of an otherwise healthy mother, abortion is also a must. If a fetus has developed complications that will eventually result in serious malformation or a lifelong condition after it is born, thus making the baby a burden to both himself and those that care for him, abortion is also the answer. The degree of need for abortion increases immensely if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In such cases, abortion is the sole solution. No rational woman would want to raise a child that is a constant reminder of the horror of past abuse. In cases of scarcely educated and/or impoverished mothers, teens most of the time, abortion is viewed as a ticket to a better life and to stop the cycle of poverty. Evidence suggests that a great number of juvenile delinquents were unwanted pregnancies, forcibly raised by poorly educated mothers in poor environments and subsisted on welfare. Lack of education, poor upbringing, and poor environment are almost always guaranteed to breed criminal behaviour. 

The pro-life argument “a fetus is a life form” is solidly repelled by the validity of abortion’s status as a last resort in cases of unwanted or risky pregnancy. No healthy and planned pregnancy ever results in abortion. Abortion exists because contraception failed. Abortion is present because there is a need for it. 

If abortion clinics are no more, a woman has to get out of her own country to undergo safe and legal abortion and she will have to shoulder the cost of travel on top of the operation. The financial burden adds to the already pressing psychological toll of unwanted pregnancy, and the fact remains that not everyone can afford travel costs. The repercussions of closing down clinics go beyond depriving women of a basic right to their own bodies and sexual privacy; it also endangers other facets of their personal lives. The absence of abortion clinics would mean that women will have to abandon their other important obligations just to have an abortion, something that is their very right to begin with. 

When not falsely proclaiming that abortion is murder, pro-lifers often point out to adoption as the alternative in less serious cases. It must be made known that not all women have the physical and psychological fortitude to go through an unwanted pregnancy. To employ a “some women can do it, why can’t she?” perspective is not only selfish but also callous. 

Of prime importance is the need to explain ad nauseam to pro-lifers the basic premise of abortion and the purpose of abortion clinics: abortion is the final course of action decided by a mother to terminate an unwanted or seriously risky pregnancy; abortion clinics provide the mother care to safely carry out the procedure to save her life and well-being. Shutting down abortion clinics does not present any advantages. It strips women of independent decision-making and their very personal right to exercise ownership over their own bodies. Although pro-lifers appear to present valid points, it is evident that they are irrationally obsessed with the fetus to the point that they forget that the mother’s overall health matters more – an insensitive, one-sided, unlawful view. The decision whether or not to get an abortion depends on the mother and the mother only.  

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