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The Subject of Abortion
Abortion is the expulsion, forcible, or induced removal of a fetus from the uterus before its maturity time. It happens due to different reasons, which include medical, ethical, as well as personal reasons that a woman might have. At the same time, there are two types of abortion: induced and spontaneous abortion. Induced abortion happens when a pregnancy is intentionally terminated for some reasons while spontaneous abortion happens when a pregnancy is terminated based on reasons that are beyond the control of the woman.
In the case of induced abortion, a pregnancy might be terminated due to medical reasons when the doctors find that keeping the pregnancy might endanger the life of both the mother and the child thus having the only option of ending it (Sedgh, 2012, p. 4). An example of this case is the ectopic pregnancy.
At the same time, induced abortion can happen when a woman carrying a pregnancy decides not to keep it for her own reasons. Some women may terminate pregnancies to pursue their studies, careers, and or when they deem the pregnancy unwanted, for instance, if it resulted from rape or due to denial from the men responsible for the respective pregnancies in a bid to keep their moral image in society.
Spontaneous abortion, also referred as miscarriage, happens when a pregnancy is terminated due to factors such as shock, accidents, or other biological reasons that might induce the abortion without the knowledge of the mother. As a topic, abortion has elicited a never-ending debate over the world due to the different interests it elicits among different groups, for instance, political and religious people who may be for and or against it.
Epidemiological Results of Abortion
Findings indicate that 42 million abortions occur annually in the world with the biggest number of them happening in the less developed countries. In fact, 83% of these abortions is recorded in the developing world while 17% of them happens in developed countries.
About 35 out of every 1000 women of childbearing age have an abortion annually with this rate varying from country to country, region to region, and continent to continent. Several cases of abortions that happen worldwide are unsafe with 97% of these abortions happening in the developing countries. Out of the many instances of unsafe abortions, developing nations record the highest number with Asia leading in the number of cases (Grimes, 2006, p.2).
The problem leading to high numbers of unsafe abortion cases in most countries is because it is illegal to perform them. However, about 77 countries allow it. Therefore, people in these countries have resorted to unsafe abortions that are mostly performed secretly by unqualified personnel.
Unsafe abortion is dangerous to the life and health of the mother. In fact, 68000 women die from the procedure every year with millions more getting injured permanently in the process. A good number of women who have an abortion always end up in hospital with different morbid conditions that are treatable remaining as permanent damages. Research also indicates that the rate of abortion varies with marital status of a woman.
While 64.4% of abortions happen to women who have never been married before, 18.4% happen to married women while 9.4% of abortions happen to divorced women. Availability of statistics on abortion also tends to follow legal status of practice with countries, which legalize it providing much more reliable statistics than those, which have it as an illegal process.
Political and Religious Views on Abortion
Abortion is an issue in the society because it touches largely not only on life but also on the right to life of people including the born and the unborn. The society protects life as a way of preserving humanity from the dangers of extinction. This case reveals why most countries in the world and pro-life campaigners have made it their business to discourage and illegalize abortion as much as possible.
Religious people uphold this view. Due to the widespread incidents of abortion worldwide and the effects it has on individuals as well as the society, abortion has become a topic for discussion in medical, religious, and ethical forums.
Abortion is also a political issue especially in the United States of America (Barbara, 2005, p. 295). In the US, abortion is one of the main topics during campaigns between Democrats and Republicans with the Democrats supporting it, as opposed to Republicans who are against it. The Democrats’ point of view is that aborting is ones decision and right. It is a liberal way of doing things.
The Republicans’ point of view borrows from religion to which the Republican party subscribes as part of its founding tenets. From this point, the party is opposed to abortion. Therefore, this trend has been replicated everywhere with different groups taking opposite positions besides investing much resources to propagate their views in a bid to give credence to their positions.
Therefore, the positions taken by the society on the issue of abortion are not necessarily intuitive as such. In most cases, persons with religious inclinations and affiliations will tend to fall for the antiabortion crusades while persons with liberal minds and views will tend to advocate for it or rather take a neutral position by neither accenting to it nor opposing it.
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Abortion Viewed Positively
Though debate on abortion has always leaned on a prolife axis, there are so many reasons to allow abortion to happen. This case rests on the reasons given for induced abortion. When a child is born, it is the responsibility of the mother and community to take care of its welfare by bringing it up until it is of age to take care of itself as an adult.
Therefore, when a woman is pregnant, the first thought should always be on how the born baby will be catered in terms of care and other needs. As such, the foreseen inability of the mother to take care of the child is a reason enough for the mother not to allow the child to come into the world to suffer in her presence.
In the United States, the difficulty of mothers getting child support enforcement has been cited as one of the reasons that lead women to take abortions. According to Crowley (2012), “…child support enforcement effectiveness decreases the incidence of abortion as measured by abortion rate” (153). On the other hand, some pregnancies happen when not planned. Mothers carrying the pregnancies take the option of an abortion.
For instance, when a woman conceives at the time of war when there is too much movement and turmoil, abortion can be used as an option as a way of alleviating further suffering of the mother as well as the child. It is viewed as fair due to the fact, although the law might allow abortion, the law universally protects the rights of all living human beings including any child born alive. It would be exceedingly difficult for the mother if she allowed the child to be born without her will.
Challenging Situations in Abortion
The debate about abortion has so far been on for a while without conclusion. It might never reach a conclusion. In the present day, the society has abundant information on abortion. There are structures in place to guide it on how it conducts its activities and how it should conclude them with positive effects. Countries in the world that have legalized abortion have gone ahead to put in place a law that regulates the way an abortion should be conducted specifying the most convenient time of the pregnancy.
In most cases, when abortion has been legally allowed to happen, it has been done at the age of 22 gestational week’s maximum, which is the safest period for the mother. Meta (2011) confirms, “The viability of the fetus is decisive in determining whether or not a termination can be performed…thus, it is 22 weeks in Sweden” (p. 542).
The legislation put in place here allows only qualified medical personnel to conduct it. It goes further to recommend other services like counseling to the mother due to the trauma that comes with the decision to abort. The most compelling issue about abortion whether legal or illegal is that most women who have procured one are never proud to openly talk about it due to the view that society gives it.
Though liberal, there is a sense of instilled guilt that women have whenever they have had an abortion. They can only talk about freely it in forums where they feel comfortable and safe to say it with guaranteed confidentiality. The situation is much worse in societies where abortion is illegal. In these societies, abortion is always done in secrecy and without much consideration to medical counsel, safety of the procedure, and or the law thus leading to negative effects on the mother.
In my opinion, the abortion debate should be approached from the middle ground in that the extreme views and positions of the pro-abortion and the anti-abortion groups should not be used as points of argument. In fact, viewing abortion from the pro-life point of view will lead to a widespread abortion, which on the other hand will be because of careless sexual behavior.
Actually, any type of abortion is dangerous to the mother because it does not guarantee a 100% safety. Some abortions that happen are not entirely the decisions of the mothers carrying the pregnancy but external pressures from the family or society. Examining the role of the society in pregnancy decision-making, Tatum (2012) finds that most abortion decisions are directly or indirectly because of external pressures (p. 47).
In my view, the abortion issue should be tackled based on individual cases with individual decisions. Therefore, when abortion is viewed from the extremes, it will either perpetuate the practice or deny some valid cases a safe way to terminate the pregnancy. Therefore, the abortion case should be addressed devoid of any forms of passion.
Barbara, H. (2005). Abortion and American Politics. Columbia Law Review, 94(293), 294-326.
Crowley, J. (2012). The Effect of Child Support Enforcement on Abortion in the United States. Social Science Quarterly, 93(1), 152-172.
Grimes, D. (2006). Unsafe Abortion: The Preventable Pandemic. The Lancet Sexual Reproductive Health Series, 65(2), 1-4.
Meta, L. (2011). Experiences of Working With Induced Abortion. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 25(1), 542-548.
Sedgh, G. (2012). Legal Abortion Levels and Trends. International Family Planning Perspective, 25(1), 2-7.
Tatum, C. (2012). Decision Making Regarding Unwanted Pregnancy Among Adolescents in Mexico City. Studies in Family Planning, 43(1), 43-56.