Abortion is a procedure of terminating pregnancy through the help of medicines and surgery. The history of abortion goes back to the early 19th century when abortion was legal until 1880 when abortion became banned in most of the states unless the woman faced the danger of dying if the pregnancy continued. When abortion became illegal, many women at the risk of their lives took to dangerous procedures like inserting a coat hanger or knitting needle into the vagina and uterus to terminate the pregnancy (Norsigian 2011). It was in 1960s that the fact of how women were risking their lives to undergo illegal abortions was brought to notice by the women liberation movement. The first state to give abortion a legal status was New York in the US. Finally, after several years of feminist struggle for the right of abortion, the US Supreme Court passed a decree in 1973 allowing women to abort pregnancy during the first semester under the right of privacy in the Fourteenth Amendment of the US constitution (Norsigian 2011). Though the decision of terminating pregnancy is a private issue, the termination raises an ethical question of killing an unborn child, and hence, there are a lot of conflicting opinions over whether or not abortion is just. Taking into consideration the opposing views regarding abortion, I believe abortion is an inhumane practice that amounts to murder, and all the justifications given in favor of abortion are not strong enough as there are options for adoption and contraception available for a mother to be able to avoid the process of abortion altogether.
Abortion is Murder
There are dichotomous opinions given on abortion. Pro-abortionists argue that just because most of the pregnancies go through termination during the first semester when the fetus is unable to survive outside the mother's womb, it should not be considered as a separate entity, but people against abortion refute the theory saying that life forms the very moment a woman conceives, and hence it is not justified to say that a pregnancy can be terminated in the first trimester just because a fetus is not a separate entity (Lowen 2014). Abortion is equivalent to murder as it involves killing a human life before it is born. Mother Teresa commented on abortion, "I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is 'Abortion', because it is a war against the child A direct killing of the innocent child, 'Murder' by the mother herself" (Nelson 2005). The techniques used for abortions are inhumane in which medically an unborn child is put to death. At present, there are four basic types of abortions performed in USA. In the suction type abortion, during the early stage of pregnancy, the fetus is vacuumed from the mother's womb as if it is an unwanted piece of tissue, and not a human being in the making. The currette-type abortion uses a sharp knife that looks like a spoon to cut the child from the mother's womb. In the C-section abortion, the baby with the help of a medical procedure is prematurely removed from the mother's womb and left to die of suffocation as the child's lungs are not developed (Pro-Life America). In the dilation and extraction abortion type, the unborn child is cut and dismembered piece by piece with a plier like forcep. The instrument is inserted into the womb forcefully to seize a leg or any other part of the body and then with jerking motion, it is torn from the baby's body. The skull of the baby's crushed and his spine is snapped (Pro-Life America). There is another type of abortion which is facing a lot of debate from all corners. In this type of abortion performed in the late term of pregnancy between 4th to the end of 9 months, the baby is partially delivered, and then a sharp instrument is inserted in the skull to suck his or her brain out. All these procedures point towards one thing and that is killing of a life.
Adoption is an Alternative Option
Pro-abortionists further argue that abortion is a procedure to save a woman from the problem of unwanted pregnancy and keeping a baby she does not want, but it is not necessary for a biological mother to bear the responsibility of raising a child if she is not psychologically and financially fit. Plenty of childless couples are out there seeking adoption. If the mother is unwilling to take the liability of raising a child, then she can put the baby up for adoption. CDC data shows that the number of infertile women who cannot get pregnant or who do not have the ability to carry a baby to full-term is about 6.7 million in USA (2014). About 7.4 million women in USA have used infertility services to cure their infertility and conceive a baby (CDC 2014). The option for Assisted Reproductive Technology or ART is not only expensive, it is also physically demanding on the mother. The success rate of ART is also low, and only 5% couples suffering from infertility go for this option. On the other hand, the number of abortions performed in USA in 2011 is recorded to be 1.06 million. Data shows that about 53 million legal abortions took place between 1973 and 2011 (Guttmacher Institute 2014). If the aborted babies would have been brought to life and put up for adoption, many childless couples could have filled the void in their life by adopting these babies.
Use of Contraception
Pro-abortionists often claim that a woman has the civil right to be allowed to control her body, and abortion is a procedure that sanctions that right by helping to get an unwanted fetus out of her body, but in their claim to allow a woman to control her body, they ignore the right to life of a baby. Just because a baby is unborn does not mean that he or she does not have the right to live. Besides, controlling of body can be done by taking contraceptive pills to prevent unwanted pregnancy. At present, there are various types of contraceptive pills available in the market without any side effect, and these pills are 99% effective (HMV 2014). In fact, there are emergency contraceptive pills like Plan B also available in the market. In case of unprotected sex, these emergency pills can be taken within 72 hours to remove the chances of pregnancy. Besides contraceptive pills, there are other options like vaginal ring, diaphragm, IUD, female condom, male condom, patch and implant that too can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancy (HMV 2014).
Abortion is a sensitive issue that raises a lot of ethical questions as it involves killing an embryo. The issue has been subjected to a myriad of debates over the years. The opinions as regards the justness of abortion vary among people. While many hold the opinion that a woman must have the freedom to be able to have full control over her own body, others share the idea that if a freedom endangers the life of another, then it is better for that freedom to be not in place. Furthermore, abortion techniques used are inhumane, and they are equivalent to deliberate murder sanctioned by the state. In the presence of so many alternative options like adoption and various other ways to prevent pregnancy without harming a life, abortion is a process that can be avoided if one is careful enough to explore the ethical options.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). FastStats. 13 Feb 2014. Web. 26 Mar 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/fertile.htm>
Guttmacher Institute. Fact Sheet. 2014. Web. 26 Mar 2014. <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html>
Health Media Ventures (HMV). 12 Types of Birth Control. 2014. Web. 26 Mar 2014. <http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20354669,00.html>
Lowen, Linda. 10 Abortion Arguments: 10 Arguments For Abortion, 10 Arguments Against Abortion. 2014. Web. 26 Mar 2014. <http://womensissues.about.com/od/reproductiverights/a/AbortionArgumen.htm>
Nelson, Thomas. The Greatest Sermons Ever Preached. Thomas Nelson Inc. 2005. Print.
Norsigian, Judy. Our Bodies Ourselves. Touchstone; Revised edition. 2011. Web. 26 Mar 2014. <http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book/excerpt.asp?id=27>
Pro-Life America. Abortion Methods Described. Web. 26 Mar 2014. <http://www.prolife.com/abormeth.html>