Abortion refers to the intentional ending or termination of human pregnancy which, in most cases is usually in the first twenty-eight weeks of pregnancy. In other words, abortion is simply the termination of a pregnancy before the fetus or the unborn baby is able to survive on its own outside its mother’s womb. However, sometime an abortion can occur spontaneously without being induced medically which is called a miscarriage. Miscarriages result in the loss or ending of a pregnancy. Abortion can be of two kinds; in-clinic abortion that entails doing a medical procedure in a clinic, hospital or medical facility and the use of an abortion pill. The kind of abortion done usually depends on the age of the pregnancy and the pregnant woman’s choice. Over the past years, there has been a lot of debate and controversy whether or not abortion should be legal or not. Proponents identify themselves as pro-life and argue that a pregnant woman has a right to abortion that outweighs the right claimed for a fetus or embryo and that this right should not be limited by religious or governmental authority. Opponents argue that life begins at conception and thus abortion is killing a human being. In my opinion, abortion significantly and adversely affects the lives and morals of people in society and thus abortion should not be legalized.
First, abortion should not be legal since life starts at conception and thus unborn babies have a right to life thus abortion would be murder. According to Charles, & Stephens, (2006), when a sperm and an ovum meet and fertilization takes place, the result is creation of a human being with a unique set of genes that form his or her identity and remain constant in his or her entire life. Though most the features of this being are not fully developed, the growth of the fetus in the womb represents human life. An unborn child is a human being and just like any other human being, the fetus or unborn baby has a right to life which should be protected by all means, Charles, & Stephens, (2006). In addition, terminating the innocent human life that is yet to be born is murder and is wrong. In the US, the government through the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, unborn babies are considered as human beings and are protected against assault or murder. The act states that an unborn child is a member of the Homo sapiens species and that anyone who intentionally kills or attempts to kill an unborn child should be punished for killing or attempting to kill a human being respectively. For this reason that human life starts at conception or just after fertilization and that every human being has a right to life, abortion should not be legalized.
Secondly, abortion should not be legalized since the fetuses or unborn children feel pain during the abortion procedure. Surgeons cutting into the womb to perform corrective procedures on tiny unborn babies have seen those babies jerk, flinch and recoil from sharp objects and incisions, (Kane, & Staiger, 1996). With the use of sonograms and live action ultra-sound images, there is evidence of fetal pain as neonatologists and nurses are able to see fetuses or unborn children reacting physically to changes in outside stimuli such as light and sound. At this time, the unborn babies are so sensitive and their sense of touch is very acute that even a single drawn against an unborn child’s palm causes the unborn child to make a fist. Anatomical studies show that one medical fact about fetal pain is that by twenty weeks gestation, the spino-thalamic pathway is fully established, the fetal brain has brain cells that are always ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body just like in adults and that the unborn baby is fully capable of experiencing pain. Moreover, since unborn babies have heightened sensitiveness, they feel pain more intensely than adults. It is for this reason that in specific occasions, surgeons and medical practitioners administer anesthesia during fetal surgeries to protect the unborn children from the intense pain during medical procedures. Given the medical evidence that unborn babies experience pain even more intensely than adults, it is clear that abortion is inhumane and intolerable brutality against defenseless human beings and should not be legalized.
Thirdly, abortion should not be legalized since it causes depression, emotional problems and psychological damage to the mothers who choose to terminate the pregnancy. In most cases, women feel relief just immediately after performing an abortion but eventually with time emotional and psychological problems ranging from mild regret to other serious complications such as depression begin to develop, (Gruber, Levine, & Staiger, 1997). The common psychological damage takes the form of guilt, anger, anxiety, the sense of loss, hostility, suicide and psychosis. According to Grimes, (2003), most women who abort their unborn children do not only suffer from one but in most cases a combination of these difficulties. Another evidence of the depression, emotional and psychological difficulties that women have after abortion is notable in the statements they make while explaining themselves such as, “I killed a baby,” “I cry all the time,” “I aLegalizationm going crazy,” “I cannot look at babies, little children or pregnant women,” or “I’m jealous of mothers,” or “I want to get pregnant again to replace my lost baby.” All these statements represent or articulate the sense of guilt, loss anxiety and anger that post abortive women have to deal with. Another growing problem common in post abortive women is suicide especially on the day that their child would have been born. Post abortive women choose to commit suicide when they are overwhelmed by psychological difficulties such as serious depression and a deep sense of loss or guilt. Generally, abortion results in many emotional and psychological problems and complications that vary among different post abortive women and for this reason, it should never be legalized.
On the other hand, proponents of abortion argue that having a choice over when and whether to have children is essential to a woman’s freedom, independence and ability to determine her future. Petchesky, (1996) suggests that abortion is about allowing a woman the right to make choices about when they want to have children in relation to their age, financial stability & relationship stability and that it is the not the place of government to legislate against woman’s choices. In addition, proponents of abortion ague that reproductive choice empowers women by giving them control over their own bodies. For example a high school girl who gets pregnant can choose to abort the unborn baby if she wishes to continue furthering her education and pursuing her career without having to take the responsibility of bringing up the child at the moment. Another evidence to the argument that abortion give women gives women a choice in regards to their reproduction is the idea that undue restrictions on abortion infringe upon a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature. Proponents also support the Roe v. Wade decision and say that it was a landmark of what is, in the truest sense, women’s liberation. However, my refutation to the idea of abortion giving women a choice in their reproduction is that abortion does not give them a choice or freedom. True choice and freedom can only come about when women choose not to become pregnant when they are not ready to take responsibility of the child by use of contraception. In the US, the decision in the Roe v. Wade case was wrong and should be overturned. Therefore, abortion should not be legalized.
Another argument by those who support abortion is that personhood begins after the fetus is viable; able to survive on its own or after birth and not after conception. The evidence that proponents give for this is that fetuses and embryos are dependent on their mother and not self-determining beings and that therefore abortion is the termination of a pregnancy and not a baby. Another evidence that abortion proponents give to support the idea that personhood begins after birth and not at conception is that age is counted from the time of birth and not after conception, (Henshaw, Singh, & Haas, 1999). In the US, fetuses or unborn children are not counted during census and even during the Roe v. Wade case, the majority opinion stated that the word “person” as used in the fourteenth Amendment of the US constitution does not include the unborn. Nevertheless, the rebuttal to this is that even fetuses are persons as much as most of the parts of their bodies are not fully developed. This is because just after conception, fetuses have their own set of genes that are unique for them for their entire life which includes when they are born and even when they become mature people. This set of genes is what gives a fetus or any unborn child an identity as a person thus unborn children do not have to wait until they are born to be regarded as ‘persons’. Therefore, the idea by proponents that personhood begins after birth or when the fetus can be able to survive on its own outside its mother’s womb is not a correct basis for abortion. Life begins at conception and even unborn babies are people; therefore should not be terminated and thus abortion should be illegalized.
In conclusion, terminating a human pregnancy before the unborn child is born has very many negative effects. Unborn children too have a right to life and therefore abortion is murder. Just like any other person, fetuses are capable of feeling pain and thus aborting exposes them to unimaginable pain. Post abortive mothers also undergo a lot of trauma and emotional and psychological difficulties as a result of abortion. Abortions reduce the number of adoptable babies and still it is not fair to kill an unborn baby while someone else is struggling to adopt a baby. Moreover, selective abortion based on abnormalities is overt discrimination. For all these reasons, it is clear that abortion id inhuman and immoral and should never be legalized.
Charles, K. K., & Stephens Jr, M. (2006). Abortion Legalization and Adolescent Substance Use*. Journal of Law and Economics, 49(2), 481-505.
Grimes, D. A. (2003). Unsafe abortion: the silent scourge. British Medical Bulletin, 67(1), 99-113.
Gruber, J., Levine, P., & Staiger, D. (1997). Abortion legalization and child living circumstances: who is the” marginal child?” (No. w6034). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Henshaw, S. K., Singh, S., & Haas, T. (1999). Recent trends in abortion rates worldwide. International family planning perspectives, 44-48.
Kane, T. J., & Staiger, D. (1996). Teen motherhood and abortion access. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 467-506.
Petchesky, R. P. (1996). Abortion and woman’s choice: The state, sexuality, and reproductive freedom. London: Verso.