The debate about abortion has been going on for the last few decades with some groups supporting its legalization while other groups claiming that abortion should be banned. Every school of thought has convincing reasons why or why not abortion should be legalized. For instance, in the United States the debate about legalizing abortion started in 1960s when different states started to repeal their laws concerning abortion which had been banned there before. The US Supreme Court also ruled that the decision by various states to ban abortion was not in line with the constitution. In other countries like Australia abortion has not been allowed for many years (Pringle, 1997). This opened way for this hot debate which has been going on in different parts of the world where some countries have legalized abortion while others still hold to the traditional view that abortion is illegal and should be banned. In my opinion, I think abortion should be legalized mostly on the basis of human protection which is guaranteed in the constitution.
Reasons for legalizing abortion
There are several reasons why I think abortion should be legalized rather than to ban it. First, the use of law to prohibit women to procure abortion does not stop them from doing so. For many years women in all parts of the world have continued to carry out abortion in secret places despite the fact that it is not allowed constitutionally. When women see the need to procure abortion, they go ahead and do it in secret place without any medical assistance in very dangerous circumstances. This illegal practice has cost millions of women’s lives in different parts of the world. It is estimated that about one million women in the United States seek illegal abortion within a period of one year. Many thousands die in the process and many more are mutilated as they procure abortion without the help of a fully qualified medical assistant. If the abortion was legalized, these women would not have procured their abortion secretly. Instead they would have sought medical assistance in private and public clinics where it would have been done in a professional way. This would save many women from the harmful effects of abortion such as mutilation, infertility and even lives that are lost during secret abortions conducted by unprofessional health personnel. This fact is supported using data from Scotland for a period of two decades of banning abortion (Wilson, 2000).
Secondly, legalizing abortion will protect the health of a woman. “There are many life-threatening diseases that are related with child bearing such as kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, severe hypertension, sick-cell anemia and other types of complications (Wilson, 2000, p. 2).” Successful childbirth of a woman suffering from these diseases will mostly likely depends with the assistance she is given in the hospital before, during and after the child birth. Illegal abortion will not provide the necessary treatment to enable the woman to come out of the process without some health consequences that are related to these diseases. In fact many deaths that occurs during abortion occurs mainly because, the woman who was procuring abortion is suffering from some of these diseases. However, if the abortion is legalized, many women will be able to seek quality medical assistance that will minimize the consequences of all the diseases that the woman may be suffering from. Thirdly, the life of a woman is more important than that of the fetus. It is absurd or arrogant to argue that the unborn fetus has equal rights with the woman and therefore demanding suffering women to risk their lives in the name of upholding fetus rights. At times pregnant women may be experiencing some complications where they are required either to sacrifice their lives or that of the unborn baby. In such situations, there is no way the life of the fetus can be equated with that of the woman and therefore legalization abortion will help to save the life of the mother which cannot be equated with that of unborn fetus.
Fourthly but more importantly, banning abortion is going against the principles of a free society. Pregnancy is a matter that is personal and at same time private. Forcing women to carry pregnancy they do not want not only interfere with their privacy, but also violate their right of choosing what they want. Rights and freedom of a woman are totally violated when the government compel the woman to give birth to a child she does not want. The constitution guarantees every individual freedom of choice and by going this extent the government does not uphold the constitution which established it in the first place. In addition, many battles have been fought and partially won in the past decades to empower women (Kane, 2008). Denying women their productive rights will not only kill their morale in searching for better positions in the society, but also waste many resources that have been spent in liberating women. Thus giving women a chance to have a legal and safe abortion will enable them to retain their personal freedom which is part and parcel of the concept of empowering women in the society. Finally, legalization of abortion will reduce the burden of the government and the society to bring up children that are born by other children. Banning abortion does not in any way stop irresponsible sexual behaviors especially among the young people. Girls as young as fourteen years continue to become mothers as result of untimely and unwanted pregnancies that come with lack of knowledge and irresponsible sexual behaviors. At this age many girls are in schools and there is no way they cannot support their fellow children they have born. Parents, society and the government are therefore given compulsory responsibility of taking care of these new born babies which is expensive in terms of resources. If the abortion is legalized such unwanted burden will be avoided where teens may be allowed to procure abortion when the need arises. This law may also apply in case of a rape or when pregnancy occurs by accidents among the couples. In short legalizing abortion will stop all unwanted pregnancies.
There are many reasons why abortion should not be legalized chief among them being that, it translate the mother and the doctors to be murderers by terminating what is perceived the life of unborn child. This is a big medical-political debate that has been going on (Fasubaa, Akindele, Adelekan & Okwuokenye, 2002). The act of murder is surely against the laws of any given country and therefore killing of fetus is considered murder and thus should be illegal. However, this argument lack support because it is not clear when the fertilized egg becomes a person in legal sense and when does the rights of unborn child start. Furthermore, every woman has her rights to decide what should happen in their bodies thus aborting would be part of exercising her body rights.
Secondly, life is considered sacred and only God should terminate it which means that procuring it amounts to sinning against God. Therefore, any country legalizing it would therefore be declaring to the world that it does not believe in God and allows people to take life on their hands. Nonetheless, some communities are pagan and do not believe in God. This means that making abortion illegal to them on these grounds would be baseless for in the first case they do not believe in God .Again, it is irrational to let both the mother and the child to die naturally when the mother’s health is not okay whereas abortion could have saved the mother.
Thirdly abortion creates psychological problems to a mother who does it. Forever in her life the act of aborting will always haunt her for instance when she think that if the baby was born, then she could have become a great person. Also, abortion is mostly procured by young girls who are not mature enough to make good decisions which potentially put stress on them in future when they considerably recount their past acts. This argument has however proved to hold no waters because counseling by a psychologist can eliminate these future psychological problems.
The other argument against abortion is that, its legalization creates burden on citizen’s tax on what is considered immoral acts. This is the money used in construction of abortion clinics and also paying the doctors by the government. People have a feeling that this money would have been invested in other development projects as well as in improving the citizen’s welfare especially in the developing countries. However the funds used is so less compared with the economic loss the country experience when working mothers die in abortion procurement under the hands of unqualified quacks when abortion is illegalized.
The last but not least argument against abortion is that there are other methods of birth control and therefore it should not be used as a method of birth control. These methods include use of contraceptives, condoms, natural and withdrawal methods which all prevents the mother from getting pregnant after a sexual encounter. The aim of using these methods is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Research has shown that some of these methods such as natural and withdrawal methods do not totally eliminate chances of unwanted pregnancies. This means that they will still occur and women will resort to visit unprofessional health personnel for abortion thus necessitating its legalization.
Response to counter thesis
Secondly, most of the counter arguments that are given to oppose legalizing abortion are based on the moral basis. According to Cornides (2008) human rights and ethical principles cannot be interchanged in the ongoing debate of abortion. For example banning abortion on the basis that it is against the law of God and that it contradict the morally accepted moral values of the society. The issue of morality is not comparable on any basis with violation of individual rights such as denying women a right to make choice on what they want as it is a guarantee of any free society. Using the argument that abortion is against the will of God is based on the assumption that everybody in the society believe in God which is not true. State law should be neutral to everybody without considering what they believe in. The constitution guarantees every citizen the freedom of worship irrespective of what they want to worship. Thus using morality and religious grounds to make state law may lead to making laws that are discriminatory. In conclusion, abortion should be legalized based on the above arguments that show the benefits of legalizing abortion to individual women, government and society at large.
Cornides, J. (2008). Human Rights Pitted Against Man. International Journal of Human Rights, 12(1), 107-134.
Fasubaa, O., Akindele, S., Adelekan, A., & Okwuokenye, H. (2002).A politico-medical perspective of induced abortion in a semi-urban community of Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 22 (1), 51-57.
Kane, G. (2008). Abortion law reform in Latin America: lessons for advocacy. Gender & Development, 16(2), 361-375.
Pringle, H. (1997). Is abortion illegal? Australian Journal of Political Science, 32(1), 93.
Wilson, W., & Murray G. (2000).Two Decades of 'Legal' Abortion in Scotland: A Spatio-temporal Analysis. Scottish Geographical Journal, 116(1), 1.