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Sample Personal Essay on Abortion
Roe v. Wade shifted the abortion debate in 1973 and provided women their rights over a decision regarding their bodies. The case gave U.S. women more access to abortion and removed the strict requirements that the government imposed on the procedure. Recently, the court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision. This criminalized abortion and reversed the regulations allowing abortion in many U.S. states. The overturning created a new shift in the debate and opened another chapter on the abortion topic. Regardless of these cases and legislation, it is my opinion that undergoing abortion is a personal matter that only the parties involved, especially women, can decide.
Legalization Led to Safer Abortions
Women may undergo an abortion because of certain situations . Some abortion cases are necessary as the pregnancy can be fatal to the woman. This is different from cases where women want to get an abortion because of financial or social reasons. Regardless, the risks of abortion vary. There are many types of abortion and each comes with risks and side effects. Abortion types, such as medical abortion and vacuum aspiration, can cause bleeding, nausea, vomiting, cramping, and others (Burgess, 2022). Taking these side effects into account, it shows that women undergoing abortion are not just terminating pregnancies but also putting themselves at risk.
However, the previous legalization of abortion ensured that these side effects were minimal. Legalizing abortion meant that women could go to clinics and undergo the procedure with professional supervision. Doctors provide abortion patients with relief medication or local anesthetic which can lessen the pain of procedures and mitigate intense side effects (Burgess, 2022). So for women undergoing abortion when the procedure was legal, they had minimal concerns regarding their health. They can undergo an abortion and be confident that a professional physician will do the procedure flawlessly.
Alternatively, the criminalization of abortion can lead to the opposite effect. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade meant that abortion will be unavailable in most states. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion rates are the same regardless if a country legalizes or criminalizes abortion. The only difference is that countries that criminalized abortion record 30,000 botched abortion-related deaths each year (cited in Khazan, 2018). In these countries, women who want to get an abortion tend to go to unsanitary illegal clinics because of limited choices. The physician doing the procedure may not be a licensed professional, thus leading to poor and unhealthy methods. However, women do not have a choice since it is the only way they can access abortion.
There is also the issue where women can go to jail if a state learns they went through an illegal abortion. According to Khazan (2018), a woman who visits a hospital because of an abortion-related complication can go to prison if authorities learn of their condition. This is because abortion is illegal in that state and the woman technically violated the law when she underwent the process. This creates a situation where women who have undergone illegal abortions will hesitate to go to a hospital if they experience complications. If their condition is fatal, refusing to seek medical care may lead to death. This is one factor that contributes to the high rate of abortion-related deaths in countries that criminalized abortion.
Effects on Mental Health
Women’s mental health is a significant topic in the abortion debate. Both pregnancy and abortion can affect a woman’s mental state, whether positively or negatively. For instance, abortion-related deaths in Argentina have a category that pertains to teenage girls who committed suicide after learning about their pregnancy. These teenage suicides account for three-eights of El Salvador’s maternal deaths (Khazan, 2018). This illustrates that pregnancy has a mental toll, especially for teenage girls, and that abortion-related deaths include suicides where a mother kills herself along with the child. For teenagers, the limited access to abortion becomes more serious as they feel social pressure and fear for their future. They contemplate self-harm since it may provide them an escape from the harrowing reality since they feel that they have no other choice.
However, there is also the fact that abortion can lead to negative mental health effects. According to the American Psychological Association, women who undergo abortions can experience feelings of sadness, grief, loss, depression, and anxiety after the procedure. Furthermore, these feelings can intensify after two years (cited in Reardon, 2018). This places abortion in a negative light as it showcases that undergoing the procedure has significant long-term effects. Women can suffer a few years later after the procedure and be in a worse mental state than they would have been if they kept the pregnancy.
While this shows the negative effects of abortion, it also highlights the importance of medical care for abortion patients. As mentioned earlier, abortion rates are similar in countries that legalized and criminalized abortion (Khazan, 2018). So whether abortion is illegal or not, women who want to terminate a pregnancy will try to find a way to undergo an abortion. If abortion is illegal, women who undergo abortion will have no access to the proper medical care and will suffer from the side effects. However, if abortion is legal, physicians can prepare women for the mental health effects of the procedure and mitigate them. This can decrease abortion-related deaths while giving women a choice in the matter.
Abortion places a toll on women physically and mentally. While society debates over the ethics and legality of abortion, women suffer from the limited choices they have over the topic. If I find myself in a situation where my significant other decides to get an abortion, I would suggest that we discuss it as a couple. However, since the procedure will affect her more physically and mentally, I would ensure to not overshadow her and be supportive. If she is absolute that she wants to get an abortion, I would gladly make the journey with her. Alternatively, if she wants to keep the child, I shall not hesitate to become a father. Ultimately, it is her decision as she would either bear the child for nine months or experience the toll of abortion.
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Burgess, L. (2022). What are the Different Types of Abortion? Medical News Today. Available at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325582. Accessed: October 20, 2022.
Khazan, O. (2018). When Abortion is Illegal, Women Rarely Die. But They Still Suffer. The Atlantic. Available at https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/10/how-many-women-die-illegal-abortions/572638/. Accessed: October 20, 2022.
Reardon, D. (2018). The Abortion and Mental Health Controversy: A Comprehensive Literature Review of Common Ground Agreements, Disagreements, Actionable Recommendations, and Research Opportunities. SAGE Open Med. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207970/. Accessed: October 20, 2022.