The Supreme Court ruling in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case changed the course of society. In its landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is solely the woman’s choice, protected by the 14th amendment under the right to privacy. Nevertheless, abortion remains one of the most controversial topics of today, more than 30 years after Roe v. Wade. It is a well-known fact that there are a variety of circumstances that surround and affect women’s choice to get an abortion. Likewise, there are a number of ways to perform the abortion—most practices are now safe, though there are still some that are not completely risk-free. Considering the many factors that affect someone’s decision to get an abortion, it is my opinion that it is a matter that should be discussed by the parties involved, but ultimately decided by the woman carrying the fetus.
I imagine I would have the same reaction as Max’s character in Obvious Child. Despite the reality of the situation, when one finds out that you are about to be a father, the excitement is inevitable. However, as Max realized later on in the film, I am well aware that abortion is not our decision to make, especially when we are not married. As Max did, I would respect my girlfriend’s decision, whatever it is, and give her the support she needs.
There are many cases that can justify a woman’s choice to get an abortion. However, despite these, anti-abortionists still insist that abortion is wrong, with some arguing that it is not safe, which is no longer true. Depending on the woman’s circumstances, the type of abortion that will be performed can vary. Most abortions are done before 12 weeks of pregnancy. Aspiration abortion and medication abortion are two of the most common procedures with high success rates. Aspiration abortion is performed by sucking the contents of the uterine through an electric pump or a manual vacuum aspiration. Medication abortion makes use of pills to induce a miscarriage. These have been proven safe but they are not without side effects, such as bleeding, cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, or fatigue. These are the procedures that can be performed for early pregnancies.
Later pregnancies, however, would require different procedures. These are suction, dilation & curettage and dilation & evacuation, and induction abortion. Suction, dilation & curettage involves dilating the uterus, then removing the fetus through the surgical instrument curettage and mechanical suction. This ensures that no tissues are left behind in the uterus. This also comes with cramping and menstrual-like bleeding for up to two weeks after the procedure. Induction abortion also uses medication, however, these are not taken orally. One way induction abortion is performed is by inserting misoprostol tablets or prostaglandin suppositories into the vagina every few hours until the fetus and placenta are pushed out of the vagina.
These procedures have become much safer since Roe v. Wade. However, if the procedure is not performed in a legitimate clinic, it can be risky for the woman. Given that abortion has become a lot more accessible and safer now, I think the matter of safety can be pushed to the sidelines, provided that safe clinics are available.
Pregnancy, as well as abortion, can have serious effects on the mental well-being of the woman. There are a lot of reasons for this. Unwanted pregnancy, for teenagers, for instance, comes with numerous repercussions. It could disrupt their education, not to mention it carries a lot of stigmas to get pregnant at a young age. Other women who may not have the resources to support a child or are in an unhealthy environment may experience mental health problems. Researchers have concluded that women who undergo abortion have the same tendency to experience mental health problems as much as women who have a stillbirth or give birth to a child with serious abnormalities. Nevertheless, the post-abortion syndrome is a real possibility for women who undergo the abortion, regardless of their context. Post-abortion syndrome is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder, which means that abortion is indeed a traumatic experience. This can have serious debilitating effects on the life and relationships of women.
This may seem like a bad image for abortion, but I disagree. The reality of these psychological effects reinforces, in my opinion, the need to legalize it and for partners and other people to be supportive of the woman making the decision to get an abortion. Abortion is a difficult enough ordeal to go through without the rest of the world making it more difficult for the woman. Legalizing it would make the procedure more acceptable for society. Even if this does not happen right away, this is bound to happen at some point. Furthermore, legalizing it would allow psychologists to gather more information about post-abortion syndrome, and provide necessary support for them. As it is now, most states require counseling before abortion, but this is mostly to discourage the woman from undergoing an abortion. This likely only makes the burden even heavier than it already is. Psychological support before and after the procedure to help the woman cope with its effects should be available. Since this is not available, the responsibility to support the woman then rests on her partner and friends and family. Should I find myself in such a situation, I would most certainly be as supportive and understanding as possible. I would not hinder my partner’s decision, but I will make sure that she is ready.
Should my girlfriend get pregnant unexpectedly, and she tells me that she wants to get an abortion, I would suggest that we deliberate it together. Naturally, I will take caution not to overshadow her decision. However, it is important for me to make sure that she is 100 percent sure of her decision. Given my situation right now, where I am still studying and will thus be unable to provide for a family, I will be inclined to agree with her to opt for an abortion. At this point, such a decision is for the betterment of our lives. Furthermore, my girlfriend, too, is still in school. She is studying for a demanding career, so going through with a pregnancy would postpone her studies and plans. Without these considerations, and given that my girlfriend is also willing to go through with the pregnancy, I will not hesitate to become a father. However, ultimately, it is not my decision to make since it is not I who will become pregnant.