Our sexual society has changed so much that many teenage and unwed mothers have turned to abortion as an alternative. As I have grown from being a teenager to a young adult I have encountered numerous pregnant young ladies who have had no idea of whether to have an abortion or keep the baby. Many of them have been young and aren’t mentally, emotionally, or financially stable to take on that kind of responsibility. I decided to discuss the matter of abortion because I don’t think many young women know too much about the subject. First, what is abortion? An abortion is a procedure, either surgical or medical, to end a pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from the uterus. (Health Scout) Many people believe that the procedure is immoral and hurts the human race as a whole. Others on the other hand think that it protects women’s rights and that it is discriminatory to outlaw abortion. I plan to discuss the matter at hand by equally presenting both sides of the issue and comparing the pros and cons of abortion.
While looking into the subject of abortion you must first come to realize what is growing inside of the mother and distinguish whether or not it is considered to be a life. The main question that poses a conflict is that whether the fetus is considered to be a person before it is fully developed while it’s still in the womb. It has been found that the sperm fertilizes the eggs with twelve hours and ultimately becomes what they call the “zygote” containing all the chromosomes needed to create a new “human life.” (Abortion) Many argue, that since the fetus is a “potential person” and has not fully developed yet, that it should not have the rights of a human being. They figure since it’s only a piece of tissue that the mother is housing, that she has the right to get rid of it if she chooses. Others argue that the fetus is more than just tissue and that it should have the same rights as the woman. They feel that the fetus is just a phase in the process of becoming a person and that life occurs at conception. In the article “Nine Reasons…” Israel Steinmetz and Planned Parenthood both express their views on the same topic. Planned Parenthood argues that the woman is more than just her fetus and that she has the right to choose. They are saying that giving a fetus the rights of a living, breathing human being is wrong and that the fetus’ rights do not supersede those of the woman.
The Supreme Court backed this statement on January 22, 1973 when they gave women the right to control their reproductive choices. (Abortion) The Supreme Court decided that only in the third trimester, where the baby is said to be “viable”, does the court have to consider the rights of the unborn child. In concurrence with my earlier research, Steinmetz also argues that the fetus is more than just piece of tissue and a person’s genetic makeup happens at conception. He believes that in the first trimester the baby is not yet “fully developed” but has a small brain and can feel pain and vibration; therefore it is a human being. In Missouri they also adhere to the belief that life happens at conception and unborn children have protectable welfare in life and health. (Abortion) The next question that arises is that whether or not abortions are morally wrong. Many people seem to think since the law allows it that it must be morally right, but I personally think that many people simply don’t think about the issue at hand. Being morally wrong or write goes back into the discussion of the whether or not the fetus is a human being. Of course if the fetus is a human being it would be morally wrong to abort it because that would be considered as taking a life.
On the other hand if it isn’t considered to be a human being then why would it matter if the mother chooses to have an abortion? John O’Connor points out “there are three kinds of people that consider abortion to be acceptable and moral: (1) those who believe that since the fetus is not yet fully developed it does not achieve the status of a human until birth; (2) those that believe that since the law permits it that it is morally acceptable and (3) those who just don’t think about the subject at all.” He understands all of these aspects but still considers the underlying purpose of abortion: that it kills babies inside of their mother’s womb. (Abortion) Some would argue that abortions should not be considered a moral decision let alone immoral, because the person considering the procedure is making their decision on how it will later affect their lives. There are a number of reasons that abortions are occurring whether it be because she is an unprepared teenage mother or a victim or husband or boyfriend pressure.
Abortion rights activists believe that abortion is a choice and important right that women should be able to openly consider. Pro-choice advocates believe that having the right to choose to have an abortion should ultimately outlaw the rights of a fetus. As said earlier the Supreme Court stated that it only considers the right of the fetus when it is viable, but when exactly do you draw the line on viability? If a person was on a kidney machine, that person would no longer be viable. Another example of viability would be directly at birth, you are able to survive on your own but if left alone you will die, which ultimately means that you are not viable. (Anti-Abortionist…) So if the Supreme Court only considers the fetus’ rights when it is viable wouldn’t that mean that our rights would not be considered until we were of age to survive on our own? With all this being said the question still stands whether or not abortion is considered immoral or morally right.
Another question, which I think the most important, is whether abortion is safe for the mother and the fetus. Steinmetz and Planned Parenthood analyze both sides and aspects of the issue. Planned Parenthood seems to think that making abortion legal has improved women’s health in some kind of way. They stated that the availability of an abortion has helped lessen medical complications that could have resulted from pregnancy. Steinmetz argues that Planned Parenthood’s figures show that many women had complications due to aborting their babies. (Nine Reasons…) On a positive note, with legalization of abortion came the remarkable decrease in abortion-related deaths. Before abortion was legalized women had to turn to back-alley butchers, illegal pregnancy-ending drugs and life-threatening self-abortion techniques. Since legalization women have had the benefit of advanced medical knowledge and equipment. Although abortion is said to be safe and the risk of death has drastically decreased, there are still risks of complications. You also have to take into consideration which trimester the abortion is going to occur.
The longer a person waits the, the more complication and greater the risk of death. Normally, since pregnancy is a natural process within the woman’s body and because the procedure is intrusive the body will experience both long-term and short-term effects. Since abortion was legalized abortion advocates has made the process look “risk free” instead of portraying the actual view of the issue. (Abortion) In addition to the medical complications come the psychological and physical complications. Most women that decide to have an abortion have not been properly informed of all its possible risks and complications. The doctors do not inform the patient of the degree of pain they might experience nor do they add in the fact that there will be mental pain and complications. Severe bleeding, puncture of the uterus and cardiac arrest are only a few of the possible complications due to abortions. Along with those come the chance of never being able to have kids again and breast cancer.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1994 found that women who had abortion increased their chances of getting breast cancer before the age of forty-five by fifty percent and teenagers under the age of eighteen who had an abortion after eighth week or pregnancy by eight hundred percent. (Is Abortion Safe) These are only some of the physical complications that might accompany having an abortion. As for mental complications, Post-Abortion Syndrome is known to occur. During PAS, which is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, often occurs as a result to having an abortion. Women suffering PAS may experience development of eating disorders; depression and thoughts of suicide; and alcohol and drug abuse to only name a few. (Safe Haven) In my opinion the mental effects could have a much greater effect on you than the physical ones.
Last but not least I would like to discuss the issue of a wanted child. Many people justify having an abortion by saying that they aren’t able to take care of the child or simply just don’t want to take that kind responsibility. My problem with that would be that they took the risk of not having safe sex and knowing the consequences. This issue posed the problem of “an unwanted child”. Adoption advocates have continued to argue that an unwanted child is a justifiable reason for abortion, when in all actuality no child is unwanted there are just unwanting parents. Some simply believe that it is wrong to bring an unwanted child into the world because they are more susceptible abuse and neglect. They argue that having an abortion eliminates the risk retaliation by kids on others due to the abusive childhood. The ultimate alternative to abortion would be adoption. There are many families that are unable to have kids that would love to have the child that a mother wants to abort. Participants in the abortion process go through numerous screenings and spend a lot of money to achieve their dream of having a child.
No matter what side you choose to be on, the fact still remains that the ultimate goal is to promote a healthier life whether it be for the fetus or the mother. Both sides agree that life is supposed to be preserved and that it is a process. In addition to these common points some others have to be considered. Senator Clinton pointed out that whether not you are for or against abortion we should all agree that every child should be wanted. (CNS News) We all should also agree that the woman has the right to know the risks and procedure. There is no real solution for this issue because we cannot say that doing one thing specifically could fix the problem.
Whether it is legal or illegal there is still a chance that women would turn to abortions. Abortions are said to protect women rights but there could be laws passed to both protect women rights and lessen the morality issue of abortion. Anti-Abortionists believe that the fetus is a person from conception; the only way this could be proved is through thorough research. Both sides of the issue propose sufficient arguments but the question is, is either right or wrong. Abortion will always be a highly controversial topic and it will be difficult to determine just one solution.
1.Cozic, Charles, and Stacey Tipp. Abortion: Opposing View Points.
San Diego: Greenhaven Inc, 1991.
2.”Is Abortion Safe; Alternative to Abortion.” Abortion Medical Rights. National Right to Life. 8 Mar 2007 .
3.Steinmetz, Israel , and Planned Parenthood. “Nine Reasons Abortion Should Be Illegal.” (1998): 3-4. 6.
4.Jones, Susan. “Senator Hillary Clinton Seeks ‘Common Ground’ on Abortion.” (2005): 1.
5.”Abortion.” Health Scout. 2001. Health Central Network. 8 Mar 2007 .
6.”Abortion: The anti-abortionist’s arguments.” Abortion Arguments: Pro and Con. 8 Mar 2007 .
Courtney from Study Moose
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