It has been a century-long debate whether abortion should be banned or should be left as a choice of the women who have conceived. Abortion refers to the termination of pregnancy that results either purposely or spontaneously. Several developed nations have legally allowed termination of pregnancies. The issue of legalization of abortion has always been surrounded by controversies. Some are of the opinion that abortion should be legalized whereas there are some who are totally against the idea.
As per a 2019 report published by the Pew Research Center, six-in-ten adults believe that abortion should be legalized. 38 percent of them consider it to be illegal. Several state legislatures all over the world have adopted abortion restrictions on the basis of genetic anomaly, race selection, and sex selection.
The Supreme Court of the United States in 1973 recognized the right to abortion as a law. However, this doesn’t imply that the decision hasn’t faced any backlash. The Governor of Alabama signed a law that could punish doctors performing abortions to a lifetime in prison. A report published in 2017 states that 93% of Alabama counties don’t have clinics that provide abortions.
Abortion in Case of High-Risk Pregnancy
If there are no clinics, then women would naturally turn to unsafe procedures as an alternative. If abortion is made illegal, women who have experienced incest or rape would have no other option but to go through a physically and emotionally devastating pregnancy. Another aspect to consider in this debate is that there should be an option for women with high-risk pregnancy that can be a serious threat to the safety of the mother or the fetuses that have been detected to have severe defects to be terminated.
If people can choose when they want to become parents, why should the government interfere in their decision to terminate a pregnancy? The matter isn’t as simple as it seems to be. There is much more than what meets the eye.
There is a need to consider the scenarios carefully. If a pregnancy can prove to be a serious threat to the mother, then there should be an option to terminate it for the sake of the mother’s health. Abortion should be allowed in special cases such as –
- For the sake of the mother’s health with mental health being taken into consideration
- In the case where pregnancy is the result of a crime such as child abuse, incest, and rape
- In the case where the child will have an unacceptable quality of life such as physical handicap, genetic issues, and serious mental defects
- For social reasons such as extreme poverty
- Mother unable to cope up with the pregnancy
- Mother is too young to cope upSeveral individuals find that abortion for the sake of the mother’s health is morally acceptable if she is at risk. However, some ethicists argue that abortion being allowed for disabilities is like being offensive to disabled people who are fighting for their right. This would imply that their lives are less worthwhile in comparison to normal people.
Abortion as a Substitute for Contraception
Source: Pandia Health
Some societies take abortion as a substitute for contraception which is not acceptable. There are plenty of options available to prevent conception and abortion is not the only way. Supporters of abortion rights do not support abortions that would be carried out for such reasons. However, some doctors argue that abortion should be a part of the contraception policy of a nation. They are of the opinion that society should allow people to plan their families and allow them to terminate unwanted pregnancies to help them deal with failures of birth control.
Abortion has been used in the past to deliberately abort fetuses that would be born as girls. In some cultures, for economic and social reasons, certain couples prefer to have baby boys. When parents discover the gender in advance, they opt for termination of pregnancy solely because the fetus is female. Selective abortion is unacceptable and is still practiced at a large scale in various regions of the world despite the ban.
Can Banning Abortion Prove Dangerous?
There are both pros and cons of banning abortion. Not all the views can be accepted and not all can be disregarded when it comes to banning abortion in a country. Anti-abortion laws don’t really bring down the figures. They make the entire situation much more dangerous. When carried out as per the safety protocols in sanitary conditions by a trained healthcare provider, abortions are one of the safest medical procedures available. However, when abortions are controlled or criminalized, people turn to unsafe ways to terminate their pregnancies.
It has been estimated that over five million women worldwide are hospitalized every year for treating abortion-related complications. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate when compared to any other developed nation. This is the reason why there is a need to weigh the pros and cons of the situation to come up with a viable solution for the problems.
People with low incomes, refugees, migrants, and teenagers are hit the hardest by the restrictions on abortion. Restrictions can make things difficult for LGBTI people and trans-people who already have huge barriers to accessing reproductive healthcare. Putting extreme restrictions on abortion access does not represent the view of most Americans.
Several lawsuits have been filed after the abortion bans were passed in the United States. Thousands have participated in rallies to stop the ban and people all over the world still continue to raise their voices defending the rights. Banning abortions hasn’t really been effective. Restricting access makes way for toxic herbal medicines and unqualified practitioners to take advantage of the situation.
There should be a law that takes into consideration both sides of the argument about banning abortion. Outright banning or giving complete freedom would never be the right solution. Coming to the middle grounds and formulating a law that respects the rights of pregnant women and at the same time doesn’t turn into a breeding ground for any criminal activity can shape abortion laws in a much better way. Lawmakers need to sit down and discuss to find a common ground on what is acceptable and what is not.