Abortion is an issue that people have been questioning for generations. It is often a very hard personal decision to make; you must consider all sides of the issue. Abortion is the removal of a foetus before it has been born. Some call this murder; others say it is a matter of personal rights. Here I will explore all the arguments for abortion, leaving you to make this decision for yourself.
Many women have abortions for many different reasons. Some because they feel they are too young, they do not want to have a child, or because they were raped. They may feel a child will restrict their ability to live their lives to the fullest at a younger age or simply because they cannot afford one. There are many reasons that a woman may choose to terminate her pregnancy each different from the next. She might not want to be a single parent, she doesn’t want to marry her partner, he can’t or won’t marry, or she isn’t in a relationship. She might not want anyone to know she has had sex or is pregnant due to family reasons or embarrassment. Or the most logical reason- she or the foetus has a health problem. Abortion ends a pregnancy before birth takes place. When an embryo or foetus dies in the womb and is expelled by the body, it is called a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and is natural and unpreventable. To end pregnancy voluntarily, is an induced abortion.
When a foetus is dead at birth, it is called a stillbirth. More than 90% of all abortions are performed during the first three months of pregnancy. In fact, more than half are performed within the first two months. These abortions are usually performed at a hospital or abortion clinic, and the women go home an hour or so later. Abortion in the last three months of pregnancy is extremely rare but still do take place. Only about 1 out of 10,000 abortions take place after 24 weeks. These are the most complicated and are performed only when the pregnancy seriously threatens a woman’s health or life or when the foetus is severely deformed. Most women who have abortions are under 25 years old and unmarried. Divorced women and women with financial difficulties are more likely to choose abortion than any other women. Nearly one-third are in school. After abortion most women will feel a brief sadness or other negative feeling but recover very quickly. These problems, if prolonged, are often called “post-abortion syndrome”.
Abortion is a very grave sin in the Catholic Church unless the woman’s life is in danger. The fifth commandment states ” thou shall not kill.” Catholics have said: ‘Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end, no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.’ And ‘Do not slay the innocent and the righteous.’ The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely wrong to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule and to the Creator, say the Catholic Church.
Pro-life groups say that abortion is deliberate murder, even though the foetus is unborn. They believe that as the foetus is living, it has rights and therefore abortion qualifies as a killing. They say that if the woman did not want to have a child, she should not have had unprotected sex and so it is her own fault and she must bear the brunt of it. If your mother had decided to abort, you would not be here now.
But pro-choice groups say that just because the woman got pregnant by mistake or without realising the consequences does not mean that she should give birth to a child that she is unready or unwilling for. This applies most profoundly in the case of teenage pregnancies, as 1/3 of women choosing to have abortion are still in school. They say that having a child could drastic decrease the woman’s quality of life, especially if she is financially insecure. In the year 2000, 1.3 million abortions took place. If it was made illegal, the world’s population would be increasing at an even higher rate than it is now.
Many people also say that since the foetus is incapable of self-conscious thought it is not yet a person, and so the rights given to people do not apply to it.
Another pro-choice argument is that legalizing abortions has eliminated many illegal abortions performed by unskilled practitioners under unsanitary conditions. These abortions often caused death and permanent reproductive injuries. Abortion on demand also prevents unwanted births, possibly lowering infant and child abuse and neglect rates.