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Abortion: Freedom Versus Illegality

A trend and projection of abortions in the U.S. conducted by Jones and Jerman (2022) indicated that women performed 926,190 abortions in 2014, an equivalent of 14.6 abortions per 1000 women of reproductive age. Jones and Jerman (2022) estimated that before women of reproductive age attain 45 years, 30% of them would have performed an abortion. These statistics show how abortion is common and affects many women in the U.S. Due to the high number of persons affected, the government should carefully consider human rights and health issues surrounding induced abortions to ensure women are not disadvantaged and adversely impacted by the decisions they make about abortions. One of the most common debate on abortion issues is whether the procedure should be legalized and performed at the discretion of the person carrying the pregnancy. The debate persists despite the World Health Organization acknowledging that abortion is a safe health intervention procedure if it is carried out by qualified health personnel in a healthcare setup. Even with these assurance, induced abortion is fully legalized in some states and continues to face moral backlash in society. Due to these challenges, women carrying unwanted pregnancies lack the freedom to perform abortions, resulting in botched processes due to unsafe procedures performed by unqualified persons. Also, adverse impacts of abortions are influenced by factors such as age, income, and ethnicity, making the prevalence of abortion-linked mortalities about four times higher among the disadvantaged groups (Studnicki et al., 2020). Since these deaths are influenced by the illegality of the process the government must provide women with the freedom to decide whether to make an abortion or not because the circumstances of unwanted pregnancy may vary from low social status to rape or mental illness.

The government must provide women with the freedom to decide whether they make an abortion or not due to social status challenges that impact the quality of life for mothers and children. Women experiencing unwanted pregnancies go through a decision–making process on whether to induce abortions or carry the pregnancy to term. The decision–making process that these women go through is impacted by sociocultural and economic barriers that force unwanted decisions on them (Frederico et al., 2018). Therefore, even before a woman decides to conduct an abortion, she is already pressured by social and economic issues that impact her decision–making process. If women experiencing unwanted pregnancies are denied the freedom to conduct induced abortions, their pre–existing social and economic status is worsened. According to a study by Foster et al. (2022), women who are denied conducting abortion experience more economic hardships than those permitted to induce abortions when experiencing unwanted pregnancies. Social status impacts several facets of the quality of life, such as individuals’ mental and physical well–being (Wingen et al., 2020). This implies that a person of low social status is prone to experience mental and physical health issues caused by a lack of access to critical resources. Suppose a woman of low social status is denied the freedom to terminate unwanted pregnancies. In that case, her social status worsens, as Foster et al. (2022) explained, resulting in more severe mental and physical health issues. Besides social status, the circumstances under which a woman conceives determine whether or not she keeps the pregnancy.

Women who conceive through rape incidents must be given the freedom to induce abortions because rape results in mental, emotional, and physical health complications that make women not ready to give birth and care for their children. Rape results in mental issues such as post–traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, which makes women not ready to carry pregnancies to term if the rape results in conception. Therefore, such women should be permitted to conduct abortions to protect themselves and their children from health risks (Campbell, 2013). In addition, rape causes emotional issues such as fear, loss of control, and disorientation, making women unprepared to care for their children. Therefore, to protect women and unborn children from more emotional issues, they should be permitted to conduct abortions if rape results in pregnancy (Campbell, 2013). Lastly, rape may result in the transmission of diseases that risk the mother and unborn child’s life. The issue can be resolved by inducing abortions to protect the mother from severe health complications (Campbell, 2013). Besides rape, mental health status should also determine whether or not an abortion is conducted.

Women with mental health issues must be permitted to conduct abortions for their safety. Women experience prenatal and postnatal mental disorders that can severely impact mothers, fetuses, and children (Campbell, 2018). The severity of the mental disorders would increase if an expectant mother had mental issues before conception. Therefore, to protect such women from experiencing increased mental health issues, they must be permitted to induce abortions. If abortions in women with mental health issues are not permitted, children born out of such risky health status are prone to have poor health outcomes. Keskin et al. (2021) interviewed mothers who had been diagnosed with fetal complications to evaluate their mental health status, depression, and fetal complications. The study found that anxiety and depression scores were higher in women who had mental issues before conceiving. Also, the authors determined that children born in mother who had previously received psychiatric support treatment had higher prevalence of congenital anomalies than those born from mothers with no mental health issues. The study affirms that women with mental health issues should have the freedom of conducting abortions to protect themselves and the unborn children from foreseeable health complications.

To sum up, expectant women of low social status, those facing economic challenges or mental health issues, or those who conceive through rape must have the freedom to decide if they conduct an abortion to protect themselves and the fetuses from adverse health complications. Allowing women the freedom to conduct abortions will minimize mortality rates in disadvantaged groups and protect them and children from adverse health complications. Also, freedom in conducting abortion will prevent women in low social and economic status from worsening their situations and experiencing poorly quality of life.


Campbell, B. (2018, April 13). Mental health issues in pregnant women linked to baby health. belfasttelegraph.

Campbell, R. (2013). The psychological impact of rape victims’ experiences with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. Applied Ethics in Mental Health Care, 149-178.

Foster, D. G., Biggs, M. A., Ralph, L., Gerdts, C., Roberts, S., & Glymour, M. M. (2022). Socioeconomic outcomes of women who receive and women who are denied wanted abortions in the United States. American Journal of Public Health112(9), 1290-1296.

Frederico, M., Michielsen, K., Arnaldo, C., & Decat, P. (2018). Factors influencing abortion decision-making processes among young women. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health15(2), 329.

Jones, R. K., & Jerman, J. (2022). Population group abortion rates and lifetime incidence of abortion: United States, 2008–2014. American Journal of Public Health112(9), 1284-1296.

Keskin, G., Gümüşsoy, S., & Yıldırım, G. Ö. (2021). Assessment of mental health issues in pregnant women with fetal complications: Relation to attachment and anxiety. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care58(3), 994-1002.

Studnicki, J., Fisher, J. W., & Sherley, J. L. (2020). Perceiving and addressing the pervasive racial disparity in abortion. Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology7, 233339282094974.

Wingen, T., Englich, B., Estal-Muñoz, V., Mareva, S., & Kassianos, A. P. (2020). Exploring the relationship between social class and quality of life: The mediating role of power and status. Applied Research in Quality of Life16(5), 1983-1998.


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