Abortion should be considered moral, constitutional, and a woman’s basic right in every country around the world. No one should hold power over a woman’s body except herself. A woman should have the freedom of choice in abortion and birth. Upholding Roe vs. Wade and its future amendments that aim to safeguard women’s reproductive health is a must for all legislators – for the sake of women and society.
On pregnancy and abortion
Pregnancy is a very delicate matter. Needless to say, abortion is, too. Not every mother has planned to have a child nor are they pleased to have one. The circumstance of a woman matters very much in both subjects and a lot of questions need to be answered beforehand. Is the woman fit to be a mother? Does she think she’s ready? Is she physically, mentally, and emotionally capable to take care of her to-be baby? Is she planning to get pregnant? Will she be able to provide the child a good and healthy life?
The answers to these questions matter a lot in pregnancy and also in regards to having an abortion. But in the matter of abortion, you have to ask a second set of questions: is the pregnancy a result of sexual abuse, rape, or incest? Is the father of the child abusive? Is the mother a minor or of age? Is spousal or parental involvement needed? Is putting the child up for adoption an option? How will the pregnancy affect the mother if it is continued or terminated?
It can be noticed that these questions are constructed for the mother and the future of the child. There are a lot of factors to consider before in planning pregnancy or having an abortion. Telling a woman what they should and should not do about their body can be damaging for both the woman and the people around her. This raises the question: should a woman be allowed to make the sole decision on having an abortion?
Abortions are not mere impulse – it is almost always a last resort, an act of both surrender and desperation. Thus, medically-proven safe abortion procedures should be made available on request to women worldwide. The World Health Organization has recommended methods of abortion procedure to be carried out depending on the pregnancy duration to ensure the safety of the mother. Sadly, there are only 56 countries in the world where abortion is legalized.
A woman may have decided to get an abortion because the child the woman is carrying is the result of abuse or rape. Forcing a woman to carry the child of her abuser is callous and vile, to say the least. The countries that prohibit abortion under any circumstance should reconsider their stance and thoroughly study the nature of the reasons behind abortion. Most of the countries that forbid abortion is more concerned about the morality of abortion rather than the mother’s well-being.
Another reason for abortion is when a pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. Some countries recognize the need to save a woman’s life and the preservation of mental health as valid grounds to allow abortion. Forcing a mother to continue a risky pregnancy essentially qualifies as attempted murder. Every woman should be given the choice to discontinue the pregnancy if her life or mental health is at stake. It should not be labeled as a selfish reason because how can an unwell mother take good care of her own child if she is not well herself?
In cases wherein the mother is stripped of the right to abortion and continues with the pregnancy, the unwanted child suffers, and this most commonly happens in adolescent pregnancies. Emotional and psychological immaturity often leaves a teen mother incapable of raising and nurturing a child, being a child herself also. In most cases, due to the need to drop out of school, the mother has much less opportunities to provide the child’s basic needs.
Not only do young mothers drop out of school, but they also suffer from stigma. Some teenage mothers are lucky enough to be given the opportunity to resume their education after some time. Unfortunately, this is not what happens for some cases. Children of single teenage mothers are not only deprived of basic life opportunities, but also of the guidance, nurture, and care that they need. As a result, risk of criminal behavior development is higher in children of single teenage mothers than in children of older, married mothers.
Unintended or unwanted pregnancies may lead to unwanted children. Medical, psychological, emotional, and financial reasons easily explain the prevalence of dead fetuses and abandoned live babies in countries that prohibit abortion. In virtually all cases, abortion or abandonment is the final course of action. Some mothers, rather than risk imprisonment, resort to suicide due to hopelessness.
Abortion-related suicides are an overlooked by-product of the absence of safe and legal abortion. In the United States, statistics indicate that abortion-related maternal deaths and suicides were at their highest during the time when abortion was still illegal. The rates plunged dramatically when abortion was made legal in 1973 by way of the landmark Roe vs. Wade.
Aborted unborn babies would have been tremendously likely to be reared by an impoverished, uneducated single parent and supported by welfare. These factors are not ideal in raising a child and are almost always roots of crime. States in the US that had the highest abortion rates before Roe vs. Wade experienced the most significant drop in crime in the following decades. However, in Latin America, most of the women still have to go through unsafe abortion procedures.
The argument in favor of foster care should be invalid. While the aim of foster homes is to provide shelter and guidance to children who cannot live with their families, statistics seem to state otherwise. Due to the steadily increasing number of infants sent to foster homes, social workers are steadily getting outnumbered. Finding qualified foster parents is taking a longer time than the rate of acceptance of foster care facilities of unwanted or neglected babies.
This problem results in overcrowded foster facilities, almost effectively assuring that the already inadequate care and guidance children are getting will only be scarcer. Worth noting is that the overwhelming majority of these infants were because of unwanted pregnancies. If abortion is outlawed, there is little doubt that foster homes will become overcrowded. Aside from that, the number of unwanted, uncared for, and neglected children will inevitably translate to economic disadvantage. A sad truth: time spent in foster care is one common denominator among juvenile delinquents.
Outlawing abortion is pointless. Abortions will perpetually be present in society due to several reasons – to protect the exclusive right of women over their own bodies, sexual privacy, health, and to prevent the mother and child from future suffering. That if the child is to be born, will suffer an ill life and others around them will experience the same thing which may lead to abuse. Proscription of abortion endangers women’s lives; whereas legal and safe abortion protects women’s lives.
Abortion will continue, whether it is safe or not, because of reasons and circumstances beyond control. In countries that ban abortion, women suffer greatly. Fear of imprisonment prompts women to resort to illegal abortion that grossly endangers the mother’s life. Worse, in some countries, pregnancy from rape or incest does not qualify as reason for abortion. And if abortion is to continue no matter what, wouldn’t it be better if women were to be provided safe and legal access to it?
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Center for Reproductive Rights. (n.d.) The World’s Abortion Laws. Center for Reproductive Rights. https://reproductiverights.org/worldabortionlaws