Every year in the United States 6 million women become pregnant. Over one million of those women make the decision to have an abortion during various stages of their pregnancy (Healthwise, 2008). There are many reasons that a woman may choose to have an abortion including birth control failure, inability to support or care for the child, or unwanted pregnancy. Some other reasons why a woman may get an abortion may be to avoid having a child with a birth defect or severe medical problems, or the pregnancy may be a health risk for the woman (Healthwise, 2008).
Although abortion is a highly controversial topic that can have extreme physical, psychological and social effects that are often viewed in both negative and positive ways, it is ultimately a women’s decision. To end a pregnancy before the fetus has fully developed is called an abortion. There are many ways an abortion can be performed. The process that a physician may choose to complete an abortion largely depends on the gestation period of the fetus and the health of the mother.
Physicians will usually opt for the non-evasive process which involves the woman taking a medication. After taking the medication the woman’s cervix dilates, her uterus contracts, and it results in the fetus being expelled (Abortion Process Explained, n. d. ) Medication may not be suitable for every woman’s situation so the doctor may decide to surgically perform the abortion. The most common surgical procedure for an abortion entails the physician dilating the woman’s cervix and then scraping the lining of the uterus with a surgical instrument such as a curette.
By scraping the uterus it will rid the woman’s body of the embryo. The success rate of either abortion procedure is 95 percent effective (Abortion Process Explained, n. d. ). An estimated 1. 2 million women sought illegal abortions each year before abortion became legal in the United States. Many of these abortions were performed by people with no former medical training. The conditions in which the abortions were performed were unsanitary so the risk of infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, or death was very high. (American Bar Association, 2004).
If people would have had a more diverse understanding about abortion and not thought so negatively about it, it could have saved many women’s lives. Unfortunately, it took until 1973 for the US Supreme Court to make a defining decision in the Roe v. Wade case. This case arose out of a Texas law that prohibited legal abortion except to save a woman’s life. At that time, most other states had laws similar to the one in Texas (Reardon, D. C. , 2010). “Jane Roe, a 21 year old pregnant woman, represented all women who wanted abortions but could not get them legally and safely.
Henry Wade was the Texas Attorney General who defended the law that made abortions illegal. After hearing the case, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans’ right to privacy included the right of a woman to decide whether to have children and the right of a woman and her doctor to make that decision without state interference” (Reardon, D. C. , 2010). This nationally known case made it possible for women to legally get an abortion in a safe setting by a well-trained medical physician (Reardon, D. C. , 2010).
Due to this decision, there was a dramatic decrease in pregnancy-related injury and death. I personally believe that the government already has substantial control in many aspects of our lives and that the decision to have an abortion should be a personal choice. It is life altering to bear a child and then care for them. Not only is it mentally challenging but physically and financially as well. Some women are just not ready for the drastic lifestyle change. This is why I believe an abortion should be a personal decision and not controlled or decided by the US government.
I completely agree with the US Supreme Courts decision in the Roe vs. Wade case. Opinions about abortion can be very diverse but diversity is important in today’s society because it helps others to recognize the differences that do exist. One’s opinion may open the eyes of someone else and give them a new outlook or knowledge on the subject. Abortion is an extremely diverse topic because not everyone agrees that abortion is morally right. Though abortion may be a touchy topic, its reality and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Abortion, as well as diversity, is something that we will have to deal with into the future. So being able to recognize but not necessary accept both sides can be beneficial. Diversity is especially beneficial for a woman that is contemplating abortion. By recognizing all aspects of her decision she can make a sound decision and will be less likely to regret her decision. Not only is the topic of abortion diverse but so are the effects after having an abortion. The effects, that a woman experiences after her decision to have an abortion, may have negative or positive repercussions. Some women who have an abortion feel peaceful about their decision beforehand, have a pain-free and physically easy experience, feel relieved afterwards, and then live the rest of their lives with no problems or regrets. Other women may have a different experience, and may have a more difficult time with the physical procedure itself, and the emotional and physical recovery process” (Reardon, D. C. , 2010). After a woman makes the decision to have an abortion she may experience many negative psychological effects resulting from her decision.
Some common feelings that one can experience after an abortion are feelings of shame, guilt, and grief. These common feelings can be associated with larger psychological issues such as post-abortion stress syndrome (PASS). PASS is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder and may occur within a few hours following an abortion, or it may not surface until many years later (Burke, T. , & Reardon, D. C. , 2002). The process of deciding to have an abortion, experiencing the procedure and living with the grief, pain and regret is certainly traumatic.
Some symptoms of PASS include anxiety, survivor’s guilt, depression, thoughts of suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, self-punishing or self-degrading behavior. (Burke, T. , & Reardon, D. C. , 2002). A woman can also feel judged by others after an abortion which can add to the negative thoughts that they have about themselves and their decision. The common misconception is that the woman is the only one affected from having an abortion. But that would be incorrect, there are other people affected who are involved in this permanent and life changing decision such as the unborn fetus.
The fetus’ life is terminated and it will never have the opportunity to experience life. However, the effects don’t just stop at the fetus. The father of the unborn fetus can experience the same psychological feelings as the woman. But unlike the woman, he doesn’t have a legal right to protect his unborn child which could result in him also feeling helpless. Abortion can also affect the woman’s current and future child. The woman’s surviving or future children could experience survivor’s guilt and wonder why they were they saved and while their sibling was aborted (Burke, T. & Reardon, D. C. , 2002). They could also express anger at the fact that a sibling could have been a part of their life and wonder what the future could have been like. Though others may be impacted psychologically, the woman is the only one to experience the immediate physical side effects post-abortion which can include abdomen pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some more serious side effects include heavy bleeding, infection, scarring of uterus, future fertility issues, and possible death (Reardon, D. C. , 2010).
Though some of these are minor side effects, some can last long term and increase your chances of having negative psychological effects. Though there are many negative effects post abortion, there are also several positive effects. A woman can resume life as “normal” after having an abortion without it interfering with her schooling or career. Some women may choose to have an abortion because they are not able to support or care for a child. A young woman may decide to get an abortion because she does not want to disappoint or anger her family.
She may also choose to have an abortion so that she has a greater chance of completing school. Many women that become pregnant are not financially stable enough to support a child. In this case, an abortion may be the best choice because the child would otherwise be living in poverty and have a poor quality of life. A woman may also make the decision to have an abortion if she becomes pregnant due to rape or incest. Being raped is a traumatic experience for a woman and should she become pregnant from this assault and decide to keep and raise the child it may be a constant reminder of the horrific assault.
Pregnancy can also put a woman’s health at risk and potentially be fatal for the fetus or herself if she continues to carry the child inside her. Whatever a woman’s reason is for having an abortion she will have to live with her decision for the rest of her life and learn how to cope with it. Every woman will react and cope differently with her decision to have an abortion. Dealing with her feelings can take time and there is no right or wrong way to move through the process (DePuy, C. , & Dovitch, D. , 1997). She may need to talk to someone that has an open-mind or diverse opinion about abortion to reassure her decision.
Someone that she could turn to and trust could be a family member or close friend. She may also need to see a psychologist to address her issues. There are many support groups today that are non-judgmental and can help guide a woman through the recovery process after having an abortion. This can be a very detrimental time for her and she will need to learn how to accept her decision and grow from the experience. Everyone has a different opinion about abortion, whether they agree with it or not. They may base their opinion on what they value or what they’ve been taught through their culture or religion.
Abortion is a part of today’s society and will continue to be a controversial issue in the future. Abortion is a very diverse topic that generates strong reactions among many people. The decision to have an abortion is not a choice that is easily made. Both pro-choice and pro-life have negative and positive effects. Before a woman makes the decision to have an abortion she needs to consider all her options and weigh all the risks. Good or bad, it is a life-changing and controversial decision that will have a lasting effect.
Cite this The Effects of Abortion
The Effects of Abortion. (2017, Mar 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-effects-of-abortion/