For decades up to the present day, one of the most political and moral debates that has been introduced is the issue of abortion. The two opposing viewpoints are constantly at odds, in defending what they think is just. Advocates for pro-life are in favor of ruling out abortions and women conceiving a child whether it is wanted or not, whereas those who are pro-choice wish to give women the opportunity to decide the outcome of their pregnancy. Thus, the decision of whether a woman wishes to terminate an unwanted pregnancy should rightfully be her own choice without influence from outside, unrelated parties.
In contrast to abortion, the aftermath of having an unplanned child can result in numerous negative outcomes for the mother that many people do not consider or blatantly disregard. Being forced to give birth to a child not only takes a physical toll on a woman’s body, but also affects her mental health and financial aspects. In regards to financial instability, women who are denied abortions are more likely to become unemployed, to be on public welfare, and to be below the poverty line.
Those who oppose abortions fail to see that the means to have and support a child may not be accessible to a woman at the time of which she would conceive; therefore, having said child will put an even larger strain on her life, as well as the child. A survey in the peer-reviewed Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health recorded that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%) and women who did not have a suitable partner were against being a single mother or in a complicated relationship (48%), according to Lawrence B. Finer’s Sept. 1, 2005 Guttmacher Institute article “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives.” It is unlawful to ask any woman to put their life on hold to support another human being without having the means to do so, as it only complicates her life and in some cases, is more harmful to the child’s development. Regarding a woman’s mental health, the fear of lawfully being forced to have a child has prompted women to explore unethical, illegal procedures in order to terminate the pregnancy themselves. Thus, access to legal, professionally-performed abortions reduces maternal injury and death caused by unsafe, illegal abortions. Some 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion annually, making it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality (13%). Of the women who survive unsafe abortion, 5 million will suffer long-term health complications, according to Lisa B. Haddad and Nawal M. Nour’s 2009 article “Unsafe Abortion: Unnecessary Maternal Mortality.”
In addition, reproductive choice empowers women by giving them control over their own bodies. Although it is an unfortunate reality, we must take into account that every year thousands of women become pregnant as a result of rape or abuse. These are very traumatic crimes and it’s already difficult to cope with them. Thus, forcing victims to carry a physical reminder for nine months can cause an abundance of stress, anxiety, and depression. With that said, a number of unexpected complications may occur during a pregnancy. Some of which can have lasting effects of the fetus, and may result in deformities, disabilities, etc.
Abortion allows pregnant women the option to choose not to bring fetuses with profound abnormalities to full term. For some parents, having a child that will require around the clock care for majority of their life is not something they can or are prepared to commit to. In the United States of America, every citizen is entitled to a number of individual freedoms including speech, press, assembly, etc. Thus, what one does with one’s body should be another matter in which the affected person has the right to do as they please. It should not up to the government to tell women to give birth or not, and this is what denying access to abortion amounts to.
Despite what those who are pro-life may believe, abortions, if done properly, are neither harmful to the unborn fetus nor the host. Those who are not in favor of abortion are quick to make assumptions about situations they do not fully know the extent of. For instance, opponents of abortion often claim that it is used as a form of birth control, but this simply is not true. Only a small fraction of women, less than one in ten, who have abortions were not using any form of birth control when they became pregnant. Most were using a method that did not work properly. Denying access to abortion forces women who never intended to become pregnant to have children they did not wish or prepare for.
Additionally, as over-emotive opponents argue, the act of abortion is not to be looked at as killing babies. Most abortions take place in the first trimester of pregnancy, when the fetus is not capable of living independently and in many cases has not even developed a nervous system or functioning brain yet. It has the potential to become a person but is not one yet. Nonetheless, the fetus certainly cannot feel pain or emotional distress. Though the majority of pro-life advocates are concerned with the health and safety of the fetus, many often fail to acknowledge the risk of giving birth. The mortality estimate increases to 10.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. The mortality rate related to legal induced abortion during that same interval was 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions. Thus, according to federal statistics, the risk of death associated with childbirth was approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion, according to Raymond, Elizabeth G. and David A. Grimes’s Feb. 2012 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists article “The Comparative Safety of Legal Induced Abortion and Childbirth in the United States.” As the statistics show, having a child poses just as much risk, if not more so, than choosing to have an abortion.
In spite of the ongoing debate regarding the controversial issue of abortion, the fact remains that women are forced to carry the weight of the decision that they chose to make when faced with a pregnancy. Denying a woman of the right to do as she wishes with her own body is not only unlawful, but unethical. Many will argue that abortion itself is unethical, as those who oppose it often equivalate the act of terminating a potential child, in an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, to the murdering a born child. However, there are countless studies that prove that both mother and fetus are not harmed in the event of an abortion, when executed properly. At the very same time, there are several threatening risks and complications that can develop in the event of a pregnancy, which can be fatal to either fetus or host, if not both.