The legalization of abortion as part of human rights has produced controversy between two conflicting sides. With supporting solid arguments, advocators recognize that legalizing abortion promotes the autonomy of individuals to have the capacity of making informed decisions on their bodies, as opposed to the practice antagonists who view abortion as a crime since it denies the fetus a chance to live. Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before or at 28 weeks of gestation. The reason for termination can be deliberate or medical indications (Sedgh et al.,216). For proper reckoning of the matter’s sensitivity, policymakers have stipulated guidelines that recommend the ideal procedure for doing abortion. Laws and policies governing the process of conducting abortion discredit people who still consider the practice immoral and sinful because it is expected that modern democracy upholds freedom of choice as an essential human right. Moreover, medically prescribed abortion is curative if the continuation of pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother or establishes a diagnosis of fetal genetic abnormalities.
Policies formed to encourage safe motherhood by stakeholders, especially the World Health Organization (WHO), spearhead the use of contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy. However, WHO and The Lancet – O’Neill Institute Commission on Global Health developed an abortion law map that incorporates consideration of human rights when conducting an abortion. The law map recognizes the need to identify any mother as an entity entitled to decisions concerning their health without discrimination. Ethical considerations, including integrity, privacy, and confidentiality, are upheld for any abortion procedure, either self-abortion or hospital practice. A study on the effectiveness of self-abortion recommends telemedicine to improve the outcome as patients are guided by professionals even when far. The study, therefore, approves that no abortion is unsafe if the proper instructions are followed (Pizzarossa et al.,211). Thus, the law identifies abortion as an individual choice that deserves respect, and the act is not criminal as long as one follows a safe and sterile procedure.
Gestation is a delicate condition that makes both the mother and fetus vulnerable to health issues. Health practitioners prioritize the mother’s health, and any impairment during the prenatal period that imposes a grave danger to the mothers’ survival is eliminated. Ideally, the impairment is a pregnancy-related disease that both the mother and baby risk losing their lives when diagnosed (Schoen,112). In most cases, abortion becomes the only alternative to preventing undesirable consequences such as death. Additionally, evidence has confirmed that terminating a pregnancy is therapeutic for couples with a baby diagnosed with multiple congenital abnormalities. Principally, aborting the baby at an early stage saves the team from future mental agony as kids with genetic diseases expose their parents to socioeconomic and psychological problems. Hence, apart from keeping the mother’s life when their health is at stake, therapeutic abortions benefit the parents from future mental trauma, especially if their unborn baby is malformed.
Despite the vast befits of abortion, records of unwelcomed outcomes associated with the procedure are overwhelming. WHO ranked unsafe abortion as the leading but preventable cause of maternal death and diseases in 2006 (Schoen,210). The common post-abortion complication is infections resulting from poor infection prevention during the procedure, and improper care is given after the process. Sepsis, when not managed, will eventually lead to maternal death. Besides, abortion is also considered immoral because it denies an innocent unborn baby a chance to live. Heath stakeholders such as USAID have made contraceptives accessible and affordable in facilities to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Failure to utilize the provided contraceptives and opting for killing the baby seems unfair from a moral perspective. Thus, abortion has its shortcoming as it can lead to unnecessary loss of the mother’s life and promote immorality by killing the innocent life of the fetus.
In conclusion, despite the common argument that abortion is a crime due to severe complications such as maternal morbidity and mortality, policy enforcers have equalized the significance of considering women’s decisions to do abortion as a human right. By legalizing the practice, decent democracies have provided recommended criteria on how the procedure should be done, bearing in mind the autonomy of the client requesting abortion and fostering the need for ethical consideration. Additionally, evidence agrees that abortion is therapeutic in saving the mother’s life when the mother’s health is at risk. Also, terminating the pregnancy of a fetus diagnosed with life-threatening anomalies protects the expectant couples from future psychological, social and economic frustrations. Therefore, folks should accept that the pros of abortion are enormous compared to saving the mother’s life cons.
Pizzarossa, Lucía Berro, and Patty Skuster. “Toward human rights and evidence-based legal frameworks for (self-managed) abortion: a review of the last decade of legal reform.” Health and Human Rights 23.1 (2021): 199.
Sedgh, Gilda, et al. “Legal abortion worldwide: incidence and recent trends.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 39.4 (2007): 216-225.
Schoen, Johanna. Abortion After Roe. UNC Press Books, 2015.