Abortion is a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy before a child can be born. People who oppose abortion are typically against it due to religious or moral reasons. Access to safe and legal abortions is a basic human right despite these personal and moral objections and it is not the government’s place to interfere with a woman’s rights. There are several reasons a woman should be allowed access to abortions. For one, an abortion could end a pregnancy that endangers the life of the mother and the child. Second, a woman could be at a point in her life where a baby would drastically interfere with her work aspirations or school. It’s also possible that the woman can not afford to take care of the child. Lastly, the pregnancy could be the result of a sexual assault, child abuse, or incestual relations.
There are multiple medical conditions that can cause a woman to have a high-risk pregnancy. For example, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries produce more of a certain type of hormone than normal. High levels of these hormones can cause cysts, or fluid filled sacs, to form within the ovaries. Potential risks for a pregnant woman with this condition include developing high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Potential risks for the baby include premature birth, miscarriage and a low Apgar score, which indicates that the baby is not doing well outside of the womb. Another medical condition that could cause serious complications is endometriosis. This is a condition that occurs when the cells that would normally line the uterine cavity are found outside of the uterus instead. With this condition, there is a higher chance that a pregnant woman can give birth to her child too early or the child can be too small when it is born. This can lead to another set of medical problems for the child. Some may argue that “the law should treat abortion like any homicide (Jones).” This argument stands on the idea that life begins at conception, therefore abortion would be murdering a living human being and taking away its human right to live. However, studies have shown that a fetus becomes viable, or able to live outside the womb, at 24 weeks. That being the case, an abortion before 24 weeks would not and should not be considered murder. In the event that abortion is outlawed, or outright criminalized, it can be hypothesized that women would still seek illegal abortions that could end in death or destroy the chance of a woman becoming pregnant down the line. “[A]dding hurdles that force women to obtain an abortion later in pregnancy—or to seek out options on their own, such as online medications of unknown quality—is bad for women’s health. (Grossman)” In 1964, a time in which abortions were considered a felony, Connecticut woman Gerri Santoro died due to hemorrhaging from a home abortion. Santoro escaped a situation of domestic abuse, and in fear of her own and life and with no place to turn to medical or otherwise, had to turn to her only option. In the event that abortion was to become criminalized or become a felony once more, the possibility of a situation such as Santoro’s resurfacing is not only a strong possibility, but a likelihood due to trends in self-inflicted abortions.
Between ages 18 – 24 most women have about an 86% chance of becoming pregnant. This is usually the time when women are in or graduating from college and trying to find a career. Having a child during this time period could prove to be disastrous for the woman’s life and plans. Not to mention she may not have the financial resources required to care for a child. Pregnant college students have a difficult time finding off-campus housing that suits their needs. Studies have shown that college students who become pregnant find it very difficult to graduate. They often find it easier to drop out of school and try to focus on raising their child, however this option can greatly affect their future work and income. The majority of women within the aforementioned age range rarely have enough money to take care of themselves and raise a child simultaneously. Raising a child is a very difficult duty. Children crave emotional commitment and financial resources are necessary to care for them. If a woman feels she is not ready for a child the pregnancy ends up being unwanted. Forcing a woman to carry out her full pregnancy in spite of her desires not to will the child will grow in an environment that does not provide the love and stability that it will need. The woman would have to find health insurance for the child and be able to pay for it. She would also need to be able to pay for clothes, baby formula, diapers, wipes, medications, and all necessities she would need to survive as well. It is reasonable for the opposite side of this debate to conclude that a woman should use better protection methods for herself if she does not want or cannot take care of a child. While this assumption can be agreeable to a certain degree, one would have to consider that not all women have health insurance that would cover birth control. Birth control pills can cost up to $50 for a one-month supply and doctors’ visits to obtain birth control can cost anywhere from $35 to $250. One also must consider that not all pregnancies are a result of consensual intercourse.
In 2008 a 54-year-old English businessman was convicted for repeatedly raped is two daughters over a period of 25 years and fathered seven children with them. This man continued the abuse by frequently moving his family to keep them isolated, threatening them, and keeping them out of school t hide any visible injuries they may have had. His two daughters had 19 pregnancies between them. Studies have been conducted that conclude approximately 32,101 pregnancies result from rape every year. Children conceived of this transgression are not planned since the intercourse was forced. “Any act of sexual violence can be a traumatic experience that may interrupt [ a woman’s] life at home, work, or school, which can also affect [her] relationship with family, friends, co-workers, or significant others. (“The Survivor’s Handbook” 2)” A woman who becomes pregnant as a result of sexual assault will sometimes view the child as a constant reminder of her trauma. Since “perinatal mood disorders affect one in seven pregnant people (Smith)” this could add an unreasonable amount of stress to a woman who is already struggling with her mental health. If a woman has been sexually assaulted, she may be left with painful psychological wounds that could develop into mental illnesses. If this happens, the child could serve as a trigger that would prevent the mother from nurturing and loving her child. The opposing side of the abortion controversy would suggest giving the child up for adoption. This option would offer the child a loving home where it is wanted. Abortions reduce the number of adoptable children. Adoption opens doors for families who aren’t able to have their own biological children. However, it is not guaranteed that these children will find a forever home. A large number of orphans end up in foster care being bounced around from home to home until they turn 18. Once these children reach 18 they’re usually expected to figure things out for themselves. These children often have a difficult time developing relationships because they haven’t had any stability in their lives or anyone to teach them basic social skills.
Abortion will continue to be controversial because there will always be women who can’t or won’t raise their children or give birth. There will always be cases of physical health issues that will prevent a woman from giving her child a healthy life or living a healthy life herself. There will never be enough money in the world to support our growing population and the government has no right to force a child on a woman who is not ready for one. In addition to these issues, as rape exists, there is no way to completely prevent unwanted pregnancies. Both sides of this debate present excellent points. Prayerfully this society will eventually make strides towards the need for abortion all together.
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