Pregnancy termination is among the most debated topics globally. It is a topic not supported by many sectors of society, especially the religious sector. Most religious books and leaders equate it to murder; thus, it is considered a sin. Most countries and states around the globe also do not support this act since they believe the infant has a right to life too. Most countries consider ending a pregnancy illegal unless the pregnancy is proven medically to be putting the mother’s life at risk. While other people argue that life is human life is valuable, others, however, say that everyone has a right to choose whether and when to have children. Those who oppose abortion and seem concerned about human life are more concerned about the zygote’s life than the woman’s. People, however, have abortions every time, regardless of whether it is legal. Criminalizing it and restricting people’s access to abortion services in healthcare institutes does not stop it; it only forces people to resort to unsafe and clandestine abortions, especially if the person cannot afford to seek private care, resulting in fatal and life-threatening consequences and stigmatization. Despite sexual and reproductive rights advocates’ efforts to campaign on making abortion services accessible and all-inclusive, most countries have not made their laws flexible enough to accommodate this. Most countries have gone a step ahead and banned abortion. Most countries and states have banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy or after a cardiac activity is detectable. Other countries have placed a total ban on abortion services despite such laws being challenged by reproductive rights activists. This has impacted different groups in society differently. This paper explores how the abortion ban has impacted women’s freedom, the mentally ill, victims of rape and incest, and how it has disadvantaged women socioeconomically. Moreover, the paper discusses the impact of the abortion ban on other cultures, race-ethnicity, religions, and gender groups.
The abortion ban, regardless of a woman’s choice, has affected women in several ways. It has adversely impacted women’s freedom promoting gender inequality. This is because women need the full right over their bodies and the right to decide whether or not to carry an unwanted fetus to birth since the fetus exists inside the woman’s body. This way, they can achieve equality with men since men aren’t restricted in any way. Therefore, an unethical ban on abortion denies women the freedom to independently make choices and treats them as vessels forcing the unwilling to bear the unwanted. Moreover, the ban denies women the freedom to access all medical services, negatively implicating their health since most women are compelled to seek unsafe abortion care, increasing the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions (Langer).
The abortion ban also has disadvantaged women socioeconomically; with forced parenthood, most women are denied the right to education and a chance to reach their full potential (Langer). Besides reducing their earning potential, this also wipes women off the job market despite the societal expectations to support and care for the resulting child for the rest of their life (Hoffman et al.). This alone has increased the gender wage gaps and alleviated poverty rates among women above the national average. Moreover, abortion bans have increased debt and caused bankruptcy among women making it hard for them to thrive economically (Hoffman et al.). Most women enrolled in public safety net programs for food and financial aid. It has also lowered fertility among women bringing negative implications to the labor market (Hoffman et al.). Socially, abortion bans have increased the number of single-mother families since most male partners often fail to take responsibility for their children. It has also led to the stigmatization, discrimination, harassment, abuse, shaming, and defaming of women.
Abortion bans without exceptions in cases of mental illness, rape and incest have also had negative social implications for the subjects. These implications include putting such women on health endangerment (Hoffman et al.). It adversely impacts the mental health of these victims and overwhelmingly burdens those who are faced with parenting children born due to the forced keeping of such pregnancies. This has psychological and economic implications for the victims and the children who may never experience parental love during their growth period. The victims of such cases may also be forced to travel to other states which allow abortion to get access to abortion services at the already overburdened clinics or hospitals.
Nevertheless, abortion bans impact other cultures, races, religions, gender, and ethnic groups differently. Restricting and criminalizing abortion has increased maternal mortality and morbidity globally, but mostly among black and Hispanic as they have the highest unintended pregnancy rates due to difficulty accessing high-quality contraceptives; thus, they choose to seek unsafe abortions. These restrictions have also marginalized not only women but also cisgender and transgender people with the reproductive capacity for pregnancy. They lack not only access to healthcare services but also face stigmatization, harassment, and biased societal views due to their transgender status. This law has also led to religious division since different religions view abortion differently (Vile). Although most regard abortion as unlawful and an act of murder, some liberal Jewish groups and Universalists have challenged the anti-abortion law since they interfere with the religious beliefs of those who are allowed to have an abortion by their faith (Vile).
In conclusion, abortion bans have many positive and negative implications depending on whether one is a pro-life or pro-choice supporter. However, I believe a woman should have the right to decide what is best for her since forced pregnancy retention can have many negative implications for her and the community.
Vile, J. R. “Abortion, Privacy Rights and Religion.” THE FIRST AMENDMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA, 21 July 2022, www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/2140/abortion-privacy-rights-and-religion.
Hoffman, Lauren, et al. “State Abortion Bans Will Harm Women and Families’ Economic Security Across the US.” American Progress, 25 Aug. 2022, www.americanprogress.org/article/state-abortion-bans-will-harm-women-and-families-economic-security-across-the-us.
Langer, Ana. “The Negative Health Implications of Restricting Abortion Access.” hsph.havard.edu, 13 Dec. 2021, www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/abortion-restrictions-health-implications.