Abortion is one of the main social issues that is facing America today. It is a very sensitive issue that has brought much debate in many quarters in American society. It is a violation of human rights and one wonders what all the debates on human rights are for when abortion is rampant. It robs an innocent human the right to life because of other people’s selfish desires. Religious leaders across the country have stated that abortion is a sin and can only be equated to murder. Why should the judiciary of a state send murders to prison and yet legalize abortion? Isn’t that having double standards? Abortion should be considered a social problem because more than 1.7 million abortions are carried out annually in the United States. Abortions were started to save the lives of women whose lives were in danger if they kept the baby. Unfortunately, this created an avenue for unethical people to violate others’ rights because they are helpless. Abortion should be illegal in all parts of America unless it is medically necessary.
Abortion is one of the oldest practices in America. Research shows that about 50% of the women in America have had at least one abortion in their lives. Women continue to seek abortions and control their reproduction despite the law and anti-abortion campaigns that are becoming quite frequent in the United States. Most of the abortions are done secretly and women rarely speak of the procedure publicly. There are despite the prohibitions that medical professionals have, they often carry out abortions secretly. (Reagan 2)
The first laws to deal with the legality of abortion were brought up between 1821 and 1841. During that time, one federal territory and ten States made certain kinds of abortion techniques illegal. It is interesting to note that the first abortion law in America was not against abortion itself but merely against the method being used (Mohr 20-26). However, the law was against abortion after 16 weeks. Unlike many other countries, the Supreme Court stated that a pregnant woman had her rights and the state had a limited role in the life of the fetus. (Potts, Diggory and Peel 331)
Abortion in some states was made legal in the year 1973. This law took precedence over other state laws which had made abortion illegal in the past. However, there were still restrictions on abortions in the later stages of the pregnancy. Before the United States Supreme Court heard the case of Roe v. Wade, it was legal to have abortions in some states in the United States. It was ruled that a lady and her doctor can choose to terminate a pregnancy that is in the first trimester. It also allowed state governments to limit abortions after the first trimester and this was intended to protect women’s health. It was also found that after the fetus reaches viability, abortions should not be allowed. Some states have passed laws that make it compulsory for a woman to undergo counseling before the abortion is performed. An underage woman must notify and obtain permission from her guardian (Robinson). In states and countries where aborting is illegal, there are numerous prosecutions for people who either procure or carry out the abortion. (Potts, Diggory and Peel 26)
Support and evidence
Not only is abortion bad for the baby, but it is also very dangerous for the woman who procures it. To start with, abortion can cause death. According to statistics, abortion was the cause of more than 2700 deaths in the United States in the year 2007. Most of the deaths are because of infection. Some the instruments that are used for abortion are not properly sterilized and no antibiotics are administered. (Reagan 199)
There are several negative effects that a lady exposes herself to if she chooses to have an abortion. These are both physical and psychological. Short term problems include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, spotting and bleeding. Long term effects are much more serious and often need a medical attention. (World Health Organization 42-43). The more serious physical complications include infections, hemorrhage, cervical injury and convulsions. An incomplete abortion is a common problem and symptoms include virginal bleeding, stomach pains and signs of infection. A failed abortion is whereby the abortion actually did not take place thus the pregnancy is still continuing. The procedure will have to be repeated.
Hemorrhage is severe bleeding and it is caused by damage to the cervix or uterine perforation. Infection after the abortion and can cause pelvic pain, fever, chills and virginal or cervical discharge. Uterine perforation may take place whereby the uterus is cut or damaged during the procedure. There can be anesthesia related complications especially if the people who administer the anesthetic are not well trained. (World Health Organization 42-43). The physical damage that is inflicted on a woman can render her infertile or even cause death. This is quite alarming and has pushed some States to legalize abortion so that women have access to good health care. (Parks). Research shows that a number of women who had abortions earlier in life had a heightened chance of having miscarriages. There are also reported cases of malformations in the subsequent children that the woman may have. There is a link between breast cancer and exposure to an abortion. Women who have had abortions have a higher chance of getting breast cancer than other women.
Some women suffer psychological trauma and go through depression, stress, anxiety. They experience guilt and regret for what they did (Parks). At first, the women experience relief after the abortion especially if they were under a lot of pressure to do it. But with time this emotions turn into depression, regret and numbness. Studies show that about 40 to 60 percent of the women had negative feelings about the abortion within eight weeks of having it. A high number of women have committed suicide or attempted suicide because of the high levels of stress they are experiencing.
Major religions in the world have stated there position in the abortion issue. The Christians have a clear stand to abortion as a sin. It is to be punished as murder. The Orthodox Church strongly condemns the practice and the women who procure for it should be punished like a murderer. Islam regards abortion as a serious offense. Hindu scriptures are the only ones which mention abortion. It views abortion as a sin which should be categorized with incest, adultery with the guru’s wife and murder. This shows that abortion is a morally wrong as the religious writings teach. (Potts, Diggory and Peel 7-9)
Those who are for abortion assert that legalizing abortion is acceptable because it will reduce the number of deaths due to abortion. Many women go for abortions in dangerous conditions where the people performing the abortion are not qualified. The ladies who decide to do abortions in on there own will also reduce. In America, the number of deaths from abortions reduced from 1500 to 100.
People who support abortion say that a woman has a right to live a full life and she can choose to have an abortion will interfere with her career and educational ambitions. They view anti abortion laws as a law that imprisons them by forcing them to carry a child they do not want for nine months.
The above arguments do not adequately support the legalization of abortion in America. Procurement for an abortion is seen as a way to get rid of a problem but it is in fact a way to complicate ones life further. The physical problems that a woman has are much worse than just getting the baby. From the above, we can see that the main reason why abortion should not be done is because of the innocent life that is destroyed. There are terrible consequences for choosing to have an abortion and maybe if people are sensitized about this there will be fewer abortions as women will make an informed choice.
Depression as a result of an abortion. Parks, Loren. 2009. You Are Not Alone. Web.
Major U.S. laws concerning abortion. Robinson, B. 2008. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Web.
Potts, Malcolm, Peter Diggory and John Peel. Abortion. London: CUP Archive, 1977.
World Health Organization, Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems. Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2003.
Mohr, James. Abortion in America: the origins and evolution of national policy, 1800-1900. New York: Oxford University Press US, 1978.
Reagan, Leslie. When abortion was a crime: women, medicine, and law in the United States, 1867-1973. California: University of California Press, 1998.