In the context of present-day developments, the question of abortion is actively discussed, and opposing opinions on this issue are expressed. On the one hand, the decision on abortion regard only the woman and her body. In addition, unintended pregnancy is likely to affect the life of a child. On the other hand, it is evident that abortion causes ethical concerns due to the fact of a child’s death. However, abortion prohibition will result in significant negative consequences, which are impossible to be minimized. For this reason, abortion legislation appears to be a more effective solution.
Keywords: abortion legislation, abortion prohibition, the right to abortion.
Abortion is one of the contentious issues to which people rarely have a simple answer, especially when they lack the necessary knowledge to make a complex and substantiated position. Affecting people on a profoundly personal level, the idea of abortion has impacted the discussion of women’s rights for decades due to the questionable aspects of the specified procedure. Although abortion could be represented as a morally wrong choice to make, the fact that requiring one to do otherwise would mean compromising women’s bodily integrity suggests that the problem goes significantly deeper. Particularly, the phenomenon of abortion needs to be scrutinized through the lens of different ethical perspectives in order to approach the subject matter objectively and justify its existence. Despite all the ethical considerations, prohibition implies even more negative consequences, and for this reason, abortion legalization appears to be a beneficial solution.
Supporting Abortion Legalization
The right to an abortion should be seen as a fundamental women’s right since it implies that a woman can have bodily autonomy. Indeed, when restricting access to abortion services for women, one creates a setting where women’s reproduction rights are controlled by others, which contributes to the rise in gender inequality and the current situation with gender-based oppression. In an environment where creating a life requires two people and where instances of assaults on women occur, abortion must be seen as a necessary measure. In fact, according to Chae et al. (2017), to defend women’s rights to have abortions, one should not even go as far as connecting the instance of rape to the justification of abortion. The described strategy may lead to opposite consequences than expected. Instead, providing pregnant women with a full range of options and allowing them to evaluate every possible avenue that they can take is crucial for exercising their right to bodily autonomy.
Furthermore, one must consider the argument that the right to abortion also implies protecting the rights of children, namely, the right to be born into the families who want them and love them. Indeed, if abortions are prohibited nationwide and punishments for women refusing to give birth are established, children will be born to families and environments where they will be unwanted. As a result, these children will grow up in a very unhealthy environment that will be potentially dangerous for their mental health. Indeed, Rana et al. (2021) show that children who are born into a hostile setting where they were initially unwanted have difficulties at the early stages of childhood development. Thus, abortion allowing to interrupt an unplanned pregnancy should contribute to the idea of women exercising their rights. Particularly, it implies freedom to decide whether a woman is ready and capable of accepting the responsibility to take care of a child and raise it.
Finally, abortion implies an invasive procedure performed on a woman’s body, which is a description that is applicable to any surgical procedure performed exclusively on a female patient. Consequently, the ability to choose it and consent to it must be recognized as a healthcare-related right of any woman based on the specifics and uniqueness of female physiology (Kanstrup et al., 2018). Since consenting to a surgical procedure remains one of the foundational principles of bodily autonomy, it is vital to provide women with the right to abortion as their fundamental right on the basis of their unique biology and related needs.
Arguments against Abortion
As a rule, when arguing against abortion and insisting on removing it from the list of legally allowed medical procedures, the opponents of abortion rights address the issue of the sanctity of human life. They refer to the life of the unborn child and consider the embryo a human, and supporters of this opinion regard the following facts. First of all, an embryo has a unique genome and physical qualities, which make it closer to a real human during the development of an embryo, such as having limbs, eyes, ears, fingers, and others. Admitting an embryo as a human, opponents of abortion consider this procedure equivalent to murder. In addition, in case an embryo appears to be a human, it has a right to bodily autonomy.
Another widely spread argument involves responsibility for having a sex act. Men and women are potentially responsible when initiating sexual contact. They are aware of the possible result, which is pregnancy, as none of the means of contraception are completely reliable. In other words, from the perspective of people, who are opposed to abortion legislation, people willing to get rid of unwanted pregnancy attempt to solve the problem for a baby. In these circumstances, people make efforts to find a solution to a situation, which occurred through their fault, and the solution appears to be taking the life of a baby, who is guilty of the happening at all. Furthermore, it violates the right to bodily autonomy of a child. For this reason, abortion cannot be a sufficient measure in this situation.
An opposing view presents a confirmation that a child feels pain in the process of conducting an abortion. According to Michiana, “By the age of 20 weeks, LMP at the very latest, pre-born babies are capable of pain, although it is likely that they feel pain even earlier than studies have definitively proven” (Abortion hurts the aborted baby, n. d., para 4). Therefore, as an embryo is sensitive to pain, conducting abortion appears to be unethical.
The last argument against interrupting pregnancy implies a theory that it is more frequently applied for getting rid of children of color. African American women are occasionally pushed to have an abortion instead of making an independent choice in this regard (Dobbins-Harris, 2017). Consequently, it may be done on purpose in order to restrict the population of a particular nation. In the context of having fundamental human rights, this tendency is not acceptable in the modern world.
Criticism of the Prohibition
The specified arguments as an appeal to the ethical justification of abortion, or, to be more precise, the alleged lack thereof, appears to be morally empty since they do not entail focusing on the rights of the newly born infant (Beynon-Jones, 2017). The specified issue ties into the problem of failing to provide a child that was born as a result of a woman being refused an abortion with the emotional support and love that it needs in order to receive an opportunity for further development.
In addition, there are studies, which prove the fact that abortion does not hurt children till a particular age. They do not have nerve-endings formed in the brain cortex till 24 weeks from conception. The majority of professionals are convinced that they are essential to be sensitive to pain (Kanstrup et al., 2018). As for age after 24 weeks, this issue is not explored to a large extent in order to conduct a precise verdict. Thus, at the early stages of pregnancy, there is an option of having an abortion without pain for a child.
The argument against abortion falls flat both from logical and ethical perspectives since it fails to accommodate the needs of both women and infants. Instead, the focus on prohibiting abortion seems to pursue the goals of meeting the preset ethical standards for the sake of the standards itself instead of considering the needs of those that these standards were created to protect and support (Nash, 2019). For this reason, the right to abortion must be seen as an integral part of a system of human rights, specifically, those that must be given solely to women based on the reality of their biological sex and related needs.
For this reason, considering all the information, which is precisely proved these days, abortion should be considered an inalienable right of any woman on the basis of female physiology and related needs. It should be mentioned that there are options of conducting a procedure with minimum harm and pain for an embryo. It is misconstrued that abortion is seen as an encroachment on the foundations of ethics and morality. However, the specified argument appears to be overly exaggerated and failing to see the point of the specified message. Instead of viewing abortion as the epitome of evil, it should be regarded as the lesser evil and the option that is more reasonable compared to the alternative, namely, bringing a child into the world where it will be unwanted and, most likely, will not receive the support, resources, and emotional warmth that it needs (Chae et al., 2017; Fuentes & Jerman, 2019). Consequently, while celebrating abortions does not seem to be appropriate, they must be deemed as a medical procedure and a surgery that serves as a means of managing an unwanted pregnancy as a condition that is unique to women.
Despite being a very contentious issue in the present-day world, abortion to this day represents one of the foundational rights for which multiple women have been fighting for the entirety of their lives. Namely, the disruption of bodily integrity and autonomy of women should be mentioned as one of the direct effects of the currently proposed legislation. Therefore, prohibiting abortions will cause even more dire outcomes since, being deprived of an opportunity to have an abortion in the sterile setting of an operation room, one will have to compromise and opt for having an abortion in the setting that has been repurposed to perform the specified type of operations. As a result, the quality of the intervention and the efficacy of services will drop. For this reason, the concept of abortion must be supported as one of the principal rights of women everywhere, standing in solidarity with the rest of women on the matter of abortion implies.
Abortion hurts the aborted baby. (n.d.). Michiana. 2021, Web.
Beynon-Jones, S. M. (2017). Untroubling abortion: A discourse analysis of women’s accounts. Feminism & Psychology, 27(2), 225-242. Web.
Chae, S., Desai, S., Crowell, M., & Sedgh, G. (2017). Reasons why women have induced abortions: A synthesis of findings from 14 countries. Contraception, 96(4), 233-241. Web.
Dobbins-Harris, S. (2017). The Myth of Abortion as Black Genocide: Reclaiming our Reproductive Cycle. National Black Law Journal, 26(1), 85-127.
Fuentes, L., & Jerman, J. (2019). Distance traveled to obtain clinical abortion care in the United States and reasons for clinic choice. Journal of Women’s Health, 28(12), 1623-1631. Web.
Kanstrup, C., Mäkelä, M., & Hauskov Graungaard, A. (2018). Women’s reasons for choosing abortion method: a systematic literature review. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 46(8), 835-845. Web.
Nash, E. (2019). Abortion rights in peril: What clinicians need to know. New England Journal of Medicine, 381(6), 497-499. Web.
Rana, M. J., Cleland, J., Sekher, T. V., & Padmadas, S. S. (2021). Disentangling the effects of reproductive behaviours and fertility preferences on child growth in India. Population Studies, 75(1), 37-50. Web.