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Human life has been held in high esteem and indeed one of the founding principles of our country is the inalienable rights to life and freedom for all. However, as our society has advanced through the years, the issue of abortion which is defined by Alters (2006) as “a procedure performed to end a pregnancy before birth occurs” has become predominant. While some people view abortion as benevolent, others view it as an evil which should be purged from the society.
Anti-abortionists declare that this procedure is a violation of the rights to life for all individuals while advocates of the same concur that it is a personal choice which should be left to the discretion of the individual. These controversies have led to the calls for making abortions illegal in the country. In this paper, I shall argue that abortions should remain legal since they safeguard the health of women and lead to improvement of life for the society at large.
Arguments for Abortion
Statistics indicate that in places where abortions are not legal, illegal abortions are performed mostly by quack doctors in unhygienic conditions greatly threatening the life of the women undergoing the procedure. NARAL (2009) indicates that the decriminalization of abortions in the US has resulted in the protection of women’s health since the procedures are undertaken in proper medical surroundings which results in fewer deaths and complications.
It is therefore evident that the legalizing of abortions is beneficial since it safeguards the health of the woman. However, opponents of abortion assert that abortions may have far reaching consequences including the loss of ability to bear children in future. Studies indicate that this argument is faulty since abortion rarely impacts a woman’s fertility or predisposes the woman to complications in future pregnancies (NARAL, 2009).
Ideally, conceptions should happen with the mutual consent of both people involved. However, this is not always the reality and in some cases, conception occurs under distressing circumstances such as rape and incest.
Studies indicate that women who are pregnant as a result of rape often apply their negative feelings against the rapist on the child leading to bad parenting if the pregnancy is allowed to run its full course (Farrell, 2008). As such, abortion in these cases may result in better psychological health of the woman since after the abortion, the woman can begin the healing process.
Anti-abortion activists on the other hand show that abortion in rape cases may not alleviate the trauma caused by rape but rather increase the psychological burden on the rape victim (Farrell, 2008). While this may be true in some instances, forcing a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to completion against her will lead to greater psychological damage. Abortion therefore presents the better means for future coping with the trauma caused by rape.
Abortions are sometimes performed on purely economic considerations. This is the case when an expectant woman hails from a poor background and does not have the means to support a child. In such a case, letting the pregnancy run its full cause will result in a baby who the mother cannot adequately care for. Such babies will therefore be dependent on the society and the government to fend for them. Naden (2007) notes that abortions on economic grounds are beneficial to individual women and families and the larger economy.
Anti-abortion activists argue that life is sacred and aborting on economic grounds is tantamount to killing poor people so as to eradicate poverty in the world. However, Alters (2006) demonstrates that abortion is not equivalent to killing since the fetus is not an individual by law. In addition to this, it would be cruel to bring a child into a world where one cannot adequately care for it.
This paper set out to argue that abortions should remain legal since they are hugely beneficial to women in particular and the whole community at large. To reinforce this assertion, this paper has reviewed some of the arguments made in favor of abortions. The counter arguments offered by anti-abortion activists have also been given to provide a balanced view of the issue.
From the discussions presented herein, it is clear that making abortion illegal can only lead to greater damages to women’s health and losses for the society. As such, abortion should be kept legal for the benefit of women and the prosperity of our country.
Alters, M. S. (2006). Abortion: An Eternal Social and Moral Issue. USA: Thomson/Gale.
Farrell, C. (2008). The Abortion Debate. ABDO Group.
Naden, J. C. (2007). Abortion. Marshall Cavendish.
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NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation. (2009). The Safety of Legal Abortion and the Hazards of Illegal Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/