The issue of whether to legalize abortion or not remains an emotive one. With improvements in healthcare standards, and with a major breakdown in the social support structures that made it easy for people who had unplanned children to cope, abortions have been on the rise. However, while there can be very strong reasons to allow women to terminate their pregnancies, there are some reasons too that make that option less than ideal.
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Stotland, a pro-abortionist, states, “The decision to have an abortion is not an easy one and it is not the right decision for every pregnant woman, even in difficult circumstances” (1). Making abortion an option that any woman can consider at will is dangerous. There are real consequences to it that far exceed the reasons presented to carry out an abortion. This paper argues that legalizing abortion is a wrong move that will cause more harm than good.
Causes of Abortion
Several circumstances make women to procure abortion. Some of them are indeed very moving, such as conception after rape or incest. In other cases, the pregnancy presents a danger to the life of the mother due to preexisting or emergent conditions. Outside of these, there are also cases like teenage pregnancy where conception is a consequence of willful action, or the result of extramarital affairs.
In others, the baby is simply a major inconvenience to the social life of a woman such as one who has a demanding job or is struggling through school, or is simply afraid that she will not be able to take good care of the baby because of any number of reasons (Potts, Diggory and Peel 501).
These circumstances present some of the conditions that drive women towards the option of abortion. In as much as some of them are very disturbing, legalizing abortion to cover them is simply responding in the wrong way. Below are the reasons for this assertion.
Reasons Why Abortion should Remain Outlawed
Man Has No Authority over Human Life
At a philosophical level, abortion gives man the right to decide who lives and who does not. This is the same argument that many activists who are against the death sentence present. The idea that a man can stand and decide that a fellow man does not deserve to live is the basis of the criminal law on murder.
How is it then that a mother should have the legal option to abort her unborn baby? Is this not conferring the power to decide whether someone should live to another human being? People who support the death sentence based on murder argue that if someone has taken the life of another, then they do not deserve to live. Their case is stronger because the murderer is guilty of the gravest offence known to man.
However, unborn babies are very innocent and have not done anything to warrant their abortion. Other people made all the decisions leading up to their conception. From a human rights perspective, “legalizing abortion would authorize discrimination against children at the risk of abortion” (Joseph 74). Once life has begun, no human being has the right to end it. It is simply beyond us.
Legalizing Abortion makes it an Option
The second reason why abortion must not receive legal cover is that it will make abortion one of the options available to pregnant mothers, even when the abortion may not have any objective justification given their circumstances. Legalization of abortion sounds like a pragmatic approach to the problems bedeviling illegal abortion because it will be easier and safer for a mother to procure abortion services.
Using the law as the guide to decide on which pregnancies should proceed to full term and which ones shall not, will come with the common challenges of enforcement. In cases where a mother does not want to continue with the pregnancy as a matter of choice, she will device ways through which to circumvent the law and get away with the abortion. If the law makes it very easy to get an abortion, then the cases of abortion will go up because mothers who would otherwise deliver their babies will consider it as an option available to them.
The whole point of contraceptives is to prevent pregnancy in the first place. Even though they do not always work, abortion is not a reprieve when they fail. It should be clear to everyone who engages in sex that one of the consequences of sex is conception. It is therefore not a good thing to come up with laws to shield people from the consequences of willful actions.
There are situations where the case for abortion is indeed very emotive. Some women conceive after going through rape and hence they seek abortion because of the pain associated with bringing a baby conceived after rape to full term. On the surface, this looks like a valid point, and indeed one of the situations that warrant the legalization of abortion.
First, rape is traumatic in itself regardless of whether the woman conceives or not. Many women spend the rest of their lives dealing with the psychological consequences of rape. Just as they have the capacity to recover from the incident and deal with the consequences, it is possible to also deal with conceiving after such an ordeal. We may say that a woman that conceives because of rape can abort.
What about those that contract HIV or end up with other lifelong conditions? Can we say that they can commit suicide as a way of dealing with it? The second reason why abortion is difficult to justify is that in these cases, the woman will have to deal with the trauma of rape and with the trauma of abortion.
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Even though the conception may have happened under traumatic circumstance, abortion does not ease the pain but introduces another layer on it. This kind of trauma is even more difficult to deal with if the pregnancy was normal and there was no immediate threat to the mother’s life. Abortion is a traumatic experience regardless of the circumstances; hence, it is better to bring a pregnancy to term and deal with the consequences, other than deal with lifelong trauma.
Legal Abortion Remains Dangerous
One of the most consistent justifications for the legalization of abortion is that when abortion is illegal, women who are determined to have it end up getting substandard services that contribute to very many deaths worldwide. The solution therefore, according to this line of thinking, is to make abortion available on demand.
This way, pregnant women can get better services and reduce the mortality rate of women seeking abortion. Granted, it may be true that there are women who will use every means they have to get an abortion because of the potential consequences of the abortion to their lives. However, legalizing abortion to cover them is to negate the purpose of law and order.
What needs clarification to such women is that abortion is a dangerous procedure even when done within the law. Not every operation goes right even in the hands of experienced surgeons. In addition, abortion can compromise the woman’s capacity to conceive in the future, and in some cases, it can result in death. This is to say nothing of the lifelong psychological problems.
In the end analysis, there seems to be only one ground where abortion should proceed. This is when the mother is in medically certifiable danger due to the pregnancy. Many women go through miscarriages, which is a type of uninitiated abortion. Others realize that they are carrying a still child, which necessitates abortion.
Under such circumstances, abortion is the only way to protect the life of the mother. It should be the only situation to warrant abortion. This does not take away the consequences, and in some cases, it actually aggravates them. Abortion is permissible only when it will preserve the life of the mother.
Joseph, Rita. Human Rights and the Unborn Child. Leiden: BRILL, 2009. Print.
Potts, Malcom, Peter Diggory and John Peel. Abortion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. Print.
Stotland, Nada Logan. Abortion: Facts and Feelings : A Handbook for Women and the People Who Care About Them. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Pub, 1998. Print.