Abortion can be best described as the intentional termination of pregnancy. The debate on whether abortion is legally, ethically and morally acceptable is controversial and has drawn the attention of the world community since time immemorial. This has resulted to the establishment of two fundamentally different schools of thought. One of these schools of thought (opponents) argues that life begins after conception and therefore expulsion of unborn baby from the mother’s womb at any stage of growth can only be equated to murder, while the other school of thought (proponents) stands on the ground that human beings have the right and the freedom to choose what they want and what they don’t want (Lowen). Since women are human beings, then they have the freedom and right to choose what they want and what they don’t want. Undoubtedly, ladies are human beings and therefore they are subject to this law. For a long time, each of these too groups has been struggling to win the public support and attain a legal support on the same. This research paper is written with an aim of unearthing the facts which surrounds this debate by giving the pros, cons and a conclusion of the critique of these two groups on legal and moral basis.
Argument against abortion
The pro-life school of thought argues that life is sacred and no man has the capacity to make or take life. They belief that life begins after conception and therefore doing away with a fetus is illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional act which shows lack of respect to the holiness and sanctity of life (The Minnesota Family Institute). It is highly condemned by different religious groups as a malicious act, which does not give the unborn a chance to live. This has been overstressed by the fact that no human being can determine the future of the unborn. The capability of any human being cannot be predicted at this stage of life and therefore abortion should be made illegal.
Another point worthy noting here is that the pro- choice claim abortion to be the obsolete way of controlling birth. This has facilitated in the increase of sexual immorality which has other far reaching and costly consequences such as the transmission of incurable sexually transmitted diseases like Aids (Colker 61). On this grounds, people can have many sexual relationships which can amount to unwanted pregnancies and hence abortion. The pro-life proposes that people should use acceptable and safer contraception or even avoid sex if they are not married.
Research studies have shown that many women have a subconscious desire and an obligation as per the society to bear children. But the medics have researched and confirmed that abortion increases the chances of having miscarriages, entopic pregnancies and pelvic inflammatory diseases (Siegel 29). These complications reduce the chances of having a child in the mare future. This fact defeats the essence of womanhood and thus abortion should be discouraged. Although it is not certain, it can facilitate to a woman not having a child for the rest of her life. This is very traumatizing especially if the woman is married.
Many a times, women get pregnant as a consequence of non consensual sexual acts such as rape and incest. The pro-choice argues that children conceived under these circumstances, if allowed to live, happens to be a constant reminder of the inhuman act, which was done to the mother and a source of her emotional pain, which is a well known cause of psychological disorder (The Minnesota Family Institute). Based on this fact, they argue that this child is unwanted and should be done away with for the good and benefit of the mother who might be having other children or willing to have them and therefore rendered incapable to take care of them. But the pro-life insist that the unborn child is absolutely innocent and should not be denied the chance to live. Instead, the perpetrator of this inhuman act should be punished as per the laws which they argue that they should be in constituted to deal with these types of sexual crimes.
Still, the pro-life group believes that abortion provides a loop hole for excuses of lack of responsibility of either of the two parents to the child (Colker 76). For instance, if a man impregnates a woman intentionally or by his carelessness, then he can encourage abortion as a way of escaping his responsibility or if it is the woman’s’ ignorance then she can decide to abort so that she does not take the responsibility of taking care of the child. This promotes a sense of carelessness which can accumulate to infidelity and hence high rates of divorce among the married people which defeats the purpose of marriage.
Still to be cited here is the psychological problems resulting from abortion. It is argued that once a woman aborts, she gets into a pull of shame and guiltiness, which can amount to stress and depression. These two factors are known to be the main causes of unhappiness in life. Many of these women who abort are teenagers who are yet to experience life and therefore they cannot bear the pain of disparity in life.
Argument for abortion
The pro-choice argues that human beings have the right to choose what is right and wrong. If women are human beings, then they should enjoy the benefits of this law. Undoubtedly, women are human beings and therefore they have the right and freedom to deicide and do away with any thing that contradicts their desire and effort to succeed in achieving their goals (Colker 69). Pregnancy, as the pro-choice argues, declines a women’s capacity to excel in her life. They say that pregnancy comes with inevitable responsibilities which force a woman to defer all of her activities until she gives birth and brings up the child to an acceptable age. This problem is underscored by the possibility of the father not contributing effectively in bringing up the child.
Still on the same note, under age pregnancies like teenagers have far reaching consequences like jeopardizing their career dreams. In addition to this, teenagers have limited access to pre-natal care services and insufficient resources to bring up their children. It could therefore be logically acceptable to abort than going through this traumatizing life.
Another reason why the pro-choice are for abortion is that some pregnancies are marked with life threatening complications which can lead to death after child birth (Belkin 14). They therefore propose that abortion should be done to save the live of the mother. However, they insist that professional medics should examine, advice and if necessary carry out the abortion to avoid any unexpected life threatening complications that can lead to death or lack of child in the mare future.
Still to be noted here is that increased sexual crimes such as rape and incest in the modern society have contributed in the increase of unwanted pregnancies. This school of thought holds that giving bath to unplanned and unwanted child is psychologically painful both to the mother and to the child. This is because failure of a parent to provide the child with the basic requirements is stressful, depressive and can result to a substandard living style for the child (Siegel 29). To the mother, it is a constant reminder of the inhuman act which was done to her. This is very traumatizing and the only way in which these problems can be avoided, as they say, is through abortion.
The other reason as to why abortion is perceived as necessary is that the modern society is male dominated and women are seen as child bearing objects. This has resulted to women giving birth to many children against their will. The pro-choice argues that women as human beings with the right to decide the fate of their children and therefore giving birth to many unwanted children robs them this fundamental right (Siegel 33. Abortion, as they believe, is a good solution to this problem. They say that legalizing abortion will enable women to have the desired number of children which they can provide for to their best and hence improve their status in the society. Further to this, giving them the right to abort will give them an identity to decide and plan for their children’s fate against their male domination.
In conclusion therefore, these two schools of thought have their arguments parallel to each other. But as it has been revealed in the above discussion, it is difficult to deny the fact that abortion is killing without rejecting the other moral consequences. On the contrary, millions of women abort every day yet abortion is illegal. It is therefore the responsibility of the mother to weigh the two sides and take are own course independently.
Balkin, Jack. “Abortion and Original Meaning.” Constitutional Commentary 24 (2007): 12-31.
Colker, Ruth. Abortion & Dialogue: Pro-choice, Pro-life, and American Law. Indiana. Indiana University Press, 1992.
Lowen, Linda. “Ten Arguments For Abortion and Against Abortion.” Abortion Pros and Cons, and Main Points of the Debate. 2010. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://womensissues.about.com/od/reproductiverights/a/AbortionArgumen.htm>
Siegel, Reva. “Dignity and the Politics of Protection: Abortion Restrictions Under Casey/Carhart.” Yale Law Journal 117 (2008): 29-61.
The Minnesota Family Institute. “Arguments Against Abortion.” Pro-life Responses to Pro-abortion Arguments. 2010. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://www.mfc.org/legmanual/abortion%202.pdf>