Our society is characterized by people with different behaviors and varied economical abilities which make them have different preferences. It has been an order of the day to find women with unwanted pregnancies, therefore raising the question of what they should or should not do.
On the other hand, it is not unusual to find teenagers as young as twelve being pregnant, and their parents especially the mothers feel that the age is not the right one to allow their children become parents. The above factors compel the concerned people, mostly the women, to choose abortion as the only best alternative to save the situation.
However, there has never been an agreement as to whether abortion is really the best way to solve this problem that our women find themselves in, given that it amounts to taking of somebody’s life. Though women want the freedom to have absolute control over their bodies, other options should be used since abortion is murder and it deprives the child of its right to life.
Abortion Is Against the Right to Life
Many people have questioned the applicability of the right to life for everybody to the fetus that according to them should be considered as a human being (white 2008). Life starts at conception as this is the only way of procreation available to human beings and therefore the argument that the fetus is not a human being is not sustainable.
The life of a human being should be taken care of no matter what stage it is in since it is still life. It should also be noted that, other scientific methods of reproduction are not effective hence pregnancy is the only known way that continuity of mankind can be assured (Kluge 1991). Given the stand, abortion is therefore murder of a young innocent and helpless child who deserves a chance to live.
The Dependency Argument
The fetus depends on the mother for every means of survival in the early stages of life when most of the abortions take place, and even after birth. It is thus senseless for one to willingly and without any health danger to her life eliminate the fetus which is just like one of her body parts (Kluge 1991).
On top of that, it is irresponsible for one to avoid the duty of care that should be extended to the infant, who even after being born still requires the mother’s care to survive, and instead be the ones to end the life they are supposed to protect (Valenti 2007).
Non-feminists also argue that there are some dire health repercussions that come as a result of abortion, which sometimes exceed the benefits of abortion. Cases have been reported where those who have secured abortion have been unable to bear children again, either due to destruction of the womb or because of the increased chances of miscarriage associated with abortion.
Abortion also is known to increase the probability of ectopic pregnancies and bring about the pelvic inflammatory diseases (White 2008). It is therefore not quite correct if one just argues that abortion is the solution to save people from unwanted pregnancies yet in the end, the same people who are supposed to be saved are being exposed to various worse health conditions.
Unwanted Pregnancies Can Be Avoided
Another point of argument forwarded by non-feminists is that, with the level of technology nowadays, unwanted pregnancies can easily be avoided through use of correct methods of birth control.
There are several ways of birth control that have been proved to be effective in prevention of pregnancies which could be applied and they do not include abortion. Even in cases where one has no ability over the use of birth control measures for example during rape, effective medical attention can ensure that the victim does not get pregnant eliminating the possibility of abortion (Kluge 1991).
The Fetus Is Separate from the Mother
Additionally, some people have argued that the fetus in the mother’s body is just there for a period of time and after developing into a state that can permit it to live outside the womb it will exit (White 2008). To this extent they put it that, the fetus is not part of the body of the pregnant mother so that she can have absolute control over it but a separate possible human being whom she has been given the privilege of taking care of.
Abortion as a Woman’s Choice
Some feminists who argue that abortion should be legalized have however pointed out that, abortion should be left entirely to be a woman’s decision as it affects her life. In many discussions about whether abortion should be legalized or not, it will be noticed that each speaker bases the argument on the protection of the fetus, while the woman who is the subject is left out of the conversation. It is a pity that those who oppose abortion rarely put into consideration the wellbeing of the pregnant women (Sherwin 1991).
Nobody ever questions why the women who want to secure an abortion would want to do so, as the feminists would have liked the case to be. Though abortion is not legal women still find a way of securing it and it is legalization, in the absence of proper education to the concerned women and without being made accessible to all, will not deter women from using crude means to secure it and lose their lives in the process.
Instead of condemning women who undertake abortion, the reasons that prompted them to choose abortion instead of the other available alternatives should be addressed. It can be depicted that, women sometimes have worthy reasons of choosing abortion over any other option and they are not such immoral human beings as they are portrayed to be (Sherwin 1991).
A school girl, who wants to advance her education for her future life, will have no option than abortion if she gets pregnant and her school does not allow pregnant ladies. There are also some employers who do not allow pregnant ladies to continue working with them as this interferes with their productivity, therefore leaving these women with no option than to secure an abortion if they get pregnant in order to protect their jobs.
To the feminists, pregnancy has allowed man to dominate over women in the society over the years. During pregnancy a woman becomes unable to perform most of the duties that sustain her, a situation that continues even after giving birth. The addition of another person after giving birth increases the burden that the woman has to carry forcing many women to economically depend on the men, who then take the advantage of the situation to oppress women (Sherwin 1991).
It should also be noted that, pregnancy takes place in the body of a woman and there is virtually no feasible way that any decision concerning that pregnancy can be made without taking into consideration the woman. The woman is supposed to take care of the pregnancy and take care of the baby sometimes alone because the men responsible can easily disappear. It is therefore upon the woman, to determine whether it is viable to keep the pregnancy or terminate it and not the role of a third party.
To a greater extent many women have no control over whether to have sex or not, since we live in a male dominated world where men tend to force ladies on what to do and what not to do. Feminists also argue that birth control measures are not that effective to save the women from unwanted pregnancy and more so they have side effects to users (Sherwin 1991). These taken into consideration, women should be allowed to have a final word on whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy.
Morality and the Fetus
In the arguments of non-feminists, a woman has been relegated to take the position of a mere object of carrying the fetus which everybody, except the pregnant woman, is concerned about its welfare. The woman therefore is depicted as a very unreasonable and irresponsible person who seeks for any slightest opportunity to end the life of the fetus.
It is forgotten that, women are also moral beings who love their children very much and will always endeavor to take good and maximum care of their pregnancies and children (Sherwin 1991). Even the doctors, physicians and the courts have also taken this view and are trying as much as possible to come up with ways of taking care of the fetus disregarding the pregnant woman.
The fetus’ status has also been presented as independent rather than relational as is the case, since the fetus depends on the mother for survival until given birth and not the other way round. In addition, the fetus is given the moral perspective while it is known that a person becomes a moral person after independently interacting with others in the society and undergoing socialization, which can only happen after a child has been born.
Politics and Abortion
Giving the doctors the power to determine when an abortion is necessary is in a way allowing abortion but letting a third party have authority over how it should be carried out. Furthermore, the doctors have proofed to be among the people who are opposing abortion, and they have gone further to take the fetus as their patient in their labs assuming the very woman who carries the fetus.
This, together with the provisions in the law that hold doctors criminally liable if they help in carrying out abortions under unclear circumstances, deter the willingness of the doctors to help pregnant women who seek abortion (Sherwin 1991).
Despite all the efforts that have been made to prevent abortion, it is a fact that it takes place in society and sometimes under very dangerous conditions. Feminists therefore argue that, instead of wasting money trying to prevent abortion which people will end up securing, the money should be channeled to improving the health facilities and services that those who want to keep their pregnancy receive from the hospitals.
On top of that, if women are empowered academically, socially and economically then they would have means of supporting themselves and cases of abortion would reduce (Sherwin 1991). Teaching about birth control methods during abortion would also help in reducing unwanted pregnancies, and thus abortion rates will decline rather than strictly trying to prohibit abortion.
Feminists have good points that are agreeable, if people would stop the morality arguments and try to reason the points out. I agree that in some cases it is worthless to bring another life into this world just to suffer. A woman who has no way of providing a better life even for herself should not be prevented from securing an abortion, because this is done in the best interest of both parties, as the child will not be left to suffer while the mother is also relieved of the burden that would have been unbearable.
Due to lack of financial ability, many young women have resulted to prostitution which is the only way they can put food on the table. These women sometimes have other children they struggle to provide for and having another child is just not feasible. Therefore, no matter how the subject of abortion is looked at, women should have the final decision as it directly affects their lives.
On the same note, the fetus lacks most of the characteristics that define a human being and therefore cannot be taken as a human being per se. In addition, empowering women economically will help prevent abortion because as anybody else, women love their children and if possible they would want to keep their pregnancies.
On the other hand, it is wrong to argue that men take advantage of pregnancy to oppress women because women do not get pregnant all at the same time to be taken advantage of. Besides, pregnancy is not inability such that once a woman becomes pregnant she is vulnerable to everything. It is also important to note that, the argument that birth control measures are not effective is misplaced, since it has medically been proofed that some birth control methods for example condoms, are up to 99% effective.
Women should also not argue that they do not have the power of choosing when to have sex with their partners because clearly they have that power. In conjunction with that, giving one the right to abortion is not same as giving her authority over her sexual and reproductive life, and therefore feminist should stop taking the two as one.
Abortion is still a subject of debate as to whether it should be legalized and be made available to those who demand for it. Many women seem to have good reasons as to why they would want to have an abortion, though it should be noted that it might be difficult to differentiate those who are genuine from masqueraders.
Despite the fact that it affects women’s lives, leaving abortion entirely on their decision might lead to its misuse hence calling for informed actions. Though laws have been enacted to guard the pregnant woman whose life might be in danger while at the same time taking care of the fetus, all the concerned groups need to be consulted in order to come up with a solution that takes all the stakeholders into consideration.
Kluge, Elke-Henner. Biomedical Ethics in a Canadian Context. Ontario: Prentice Hall Canada, 1991.
Sherwin, Susan. “Abortion Through A Feminist Ethic Lens.” Dialogue 30 (1991): 327-342.
Valenti, Jessica. Full frontal feminism: a young woman’s guide to why feminism matters. New York: Seal press, 2007.
White, James. Contemporary Moral Problems. Stanford: Cengage Learning, 2008.