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Published: Tuesday 29th of October 2013
First things first, it’s important to know how abortion is defined before talking about the controversies that surround this subject. For instance, in the Oxford Dictionary, abortion is defined as “The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.” This procedure implies that the embryo or fetus is expelled from the uterus before reaching maturity and being ready for birth.
Worth mentioning is that abortion doesn’t always occur purposely due to medical procedures, as it can also happen out of a sudden, due to certain complications. Thus, it can be stated that there are two different forms of abortion:
When they think or refer to abortion, most people think of the induced form, and this is actually the type of abortion that has attracted controversy during the past decades.
There are many developed countries around the world where induced abortion is allowed by the law and it’s considered the safest medical procedure women can resort to. Of course, each country has it’s own way of interpreting the laws regarding abortion, which is why before going to the doctor and asking for this medical procedure, women should consult the local laws and ensure they know their rights.
In the US for instance, induced abortion is one of the most common practices in hospitals. Studies have shown that nearly one in two women confirm that they have resorted to induced abortion to terminate a pregnancy at least once in their life. Some studies go even further and determines the types of women that choose to terminate their pregnancies and most of them are either very young or over 40s, white, poor or unmarried. Unfortunately, there are also many cases in which these abortions are not performed by trained personnel or inside the medical profession, which automatically puts the life of those women in great danger.
Abortion is performed in numerous countries around the world and it is still considered one of the most commonly performed medical procedures. In the US for example, The Supreme Court decided back in 1973 through the decision entitled Roe v Wade, to ratify the legalization of abortion, thus trying to make this medical procedure much safer. But even so, abortions are still among the riskiest procedures, not to mention that nearly 80 thousand maternal deaths and more than 6 million disabilities occur annually due to this medical procedure.
In the US, there are between 20 and 30 million induced abortions performed each year and half of them are performed in unsafe environment and manner, according to some studies. For this reason, nearly 15% of these unsafe abortions have led to deceases due to the various severe complications that occur afterwards. The increasing number of illegal abortions still worries the authorities, who in the past decades, have tried so hard to fight against this procedure and launched a series of programs and workshops to educate people with respect to the range of contraceptive methods available out there.
Things started to change in the US back in 1970, when an unmarried woman called Norma McCorvey, better known under the pseudonym Jane Roe, decided to initiate federal actions against the Supreme Court. She was 21 and she remained pregnant with her third child. She wanted to terminate her pregnancy, but the Texas law regarding abortion was clear – it was an illegal procedure. She was advised by her friends to state that she was raped, because according to some, there was some exception to the Texas’ abortion law that allowed women who have been victims of rape or incest to opt for abortion. Later on, she admitted that was a fabrication and she even gave birth to that child, who she gave up to adoption. But even so, she continued with the process of proving that the criminal abortion legislation in Texas was unconstitutional.
Initially, she looked for a safe clinical environment to terminate her pregnancy, but she was unable to obtain that right due to the fact that she couldn’t prove that pregnancy was putting her life in danger in any way, as it was the Texas law back then. Although there were other states in the US where abortion was under legal law, she stated she didn’t have the financial resources to travel and have her pregnancy terminated. Thus, she chose to demonstrate instead that the Texas statute was both vague and unconstitutional and that contravened her right to privacy. The right of privacy was then guaranteed by several Amendments.
Jane Roe’s attorney had several strong arguments with which they won the case and proved that the Supreme Court was wrong and couldn’t deprive women’s rights to privacy. The idea that women were forced to have babies when they didn’t want to was wrong. A pregnancy can be a blessing only if it’s planned ahead by both partners or if they accept it later on, otherwise it’s considered a forced pregnancy and it is seen as any other form of bodily invasion. Since the constitution can’t force any American citizen to agree on donating their organs to others in case of unfortunate events, the same way a woman can’t be forced to remain pregnant. Due to these arguments, the Supreme Court stated that Roe was right and admitted that she had her privacy rights violated. This decision of the Supreme Court caused numerous controversies back then and it still continues to do so even today. While there are many women stating that this has freed them from fear, ill health, threat of injury and dependency, there are still some that believe abortion should have remained illegal and been severely punished by the laws.
Social issues are aspects of the society that people are concerned about and that they would like them (those aspects) changed. A social issue is supposed to have two main components: The objective condition – it’s the aspect that can be measured. For instance, in case of abortion, this objective condition implies the legality or illegality of abortion, who is entitled to obtain it and the conditions under which performing it is considered a safe practice.
The subjective condition – it’s a concern people have with respect to the objective condition. When it comes to abortion, this subjective condition implies the distress caused by the pregnancy, the fact that a woman must carry the pregnancy to full term or terminate it on demand.
Over the years, abortion has generated numerous controversies and people have argued whether or not is a fair medical procedure. While some countries still have abortion included on the list of illegal practices and is forbidden by the law, other countries are much more permissive and allow women who have remained pregnant to opt for abortion, regardless of the reason for which they want to do so.
Abortion was declared legal in the US only after 1973, but before that, no woman was allowed by the law to terminate her pregnancy, except certain situations when the life or health of that woman was at stake. In such situations, if the doctor decided that abortion would save that woman’s life, they would carry it out and this was not considered to be violation of the law.
Nevertheless, the case of Roe v Wade that resulted in the legalization of abortion has intensified even more the debate between the two sides of this subject – those who are pro and those who are against it.
According to specialists and recent studies, abortion is one of the most controversial social issues today. Of course, in some situations, abortion can be considered the best practice for a woman to live on her life happily and without worries, especially if the pregnancy was not wanted in the first place. If she decides to terminate it on her own will, specialists say that woman will have no remorse regarding the choice she made.
On the other hand, there are still a large number of women who state that abortion affected them in a negative way. Many of them were coerced into making this drastic decision by their boyfriends who were unwilling to assume responsibility of becoming fathers due to various reasons, such as financial pressures or fear of losing their jobs. In most of these cases, abortion can automatically lead to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), which occurs when women are unable to work through their emotional states and have to fight imbalances that mostly result from the trauma caused by this medical procedure. This can have serious impact over a woman’s life and state of mind and it can result in drastic decisions such as committing suicide. Many sociologists agree that society can have an immense impact over one’s life. For instance, Wright Mills worked on a theory that proved that changes society experiences can influence one’s life a lot. Before the Roe v Wade abortion case which ended up in 1973 with the legalization of abortion, people in Texas and throughout the entire US in general couldn’t even stand the idea of abortion, as they found it a despicable act. Once the law was changed though and doctors were give permission to conduct such medical procedures without violating any law now, things have changed a lot and people’s attitude towards this practice have changed as well.
With all these being said, it can be agreed that abortion is, in fact, a social issue. There will always be two sides of this debate – those who agree with it and those who condemn this medical procedure, each side stating its own strong arguments.
Just as human cloning, abortion is considered one of the many controversial human issues. People who are of certain religions believe in life after death, while others agree that life begins right at conception. Some think that reincarnation is possible, while others don’t even want to accept the existence of a God. These are only a few examples to state the major differences in perception and the way of thinking people from all over the world have. They believe in different things and have different opinions with respect to life, as well as what happens before and after it.
When it comes to a controversial subject such as abortion, it is the things such as focus and perception that make people from any faith to take side of either the opponents or supporters of the debate. Thus, each of them comes with strong arguments to support their opinions and to prove why they are right and the others are wrong.
In the case of abortion, there can only be one side chosen – either pro or against it. There’s no way to make a compromise here, as this implies to choose either life or death. This is actually what makes this facet so controversial. Neither the supporters, nor the opponents meet anywhere in between and over the past decades, this has generated numerous discussions.
There are many factors that influence each person’s opinion with respect to this subject and one of the most common of them is their religion. Their personal faiths seen from a religious point of view makes people have such different opinions towards this subject.
There are people who believe a woman should have the right to do whatever she pleases and to make an absolute choice in each situation, including whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. If she has good reasons to do it, she should go on with her decision.
On the other hand, those opposing the idea of abortion claim that this is violation of the right to life and that this medical procedure is neither constitutional, nor human. What’s interesting here is that both groups, the pro-choice and the pro-life ones, rely their arguments on the same Fourteenth Amendment, which discusses the subject of human rights.
The pro-choice group have been always trying to make a point out of the many benefits that abortion might bring in certain situations to a woman. They argue that even today many women live in misery and paucity as a result of being coerced to deliver children they didn’t initially want to have. Tens of hundreds of children die every day around the world due to lack of food, clothing, proper shelter or medication. With these being said, the supporters of abortion are of the opinion that the life of women who don’t want to become mothers and offer an unhappy and insecure life to their children, should have the right to express their opinion and make the choice they find the best for them. The rights to reproductive, sexual and political freedom have been intensely argued by the two groups.
In the opinion of those supporting the idea of abortion, this procedure should be legalized in all countries, because it can reduce the chances of insecure and unsafe abortions. During the past few decades, many studies have shown that the largest number of unsafe abortions occurred in countries that have legally forbidden this procedure. One very good example here is the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is considered to be against the laws. In Canada for example, this procedure can only be performed upon consent or demand. Understandably, each country has established its own laws with respect to abortion and while in some countries these laws are clearly expressed and can be easily understood by everyone, there are other countries that still haven’t made abortion laws clear.
From an ethical point of view, people are trying to analyze the situation and to apply an either good or bad label to abortion. This ethical debate that some people bring up into discussion tries to shed more light over the rights the fetus is supposed to have and the validity of those rights, as well as the rights of the mother. In many people’s opinion, the fetus is unaware of self and incapable of thinking, which means that it automatically depends on the mother until the delivery is performed. This point of view implies that the mother is the only one responsible for the life of the fetus and that she is in charge of deciding what to do with it.
Throughout the years, there were pro-life supporters that agreed with selective abortion. This entailed that the mother was entitled to terminate the life of the fetus, but only if it presented any danger to her life, or if the fetus was the result of a case of rape, incest or contraceptive failure and the mother didn’t initially want that child. Furthermore, this selective abortion also referred to the situations in which the fetus presented severe deformities due to physical or mental defects or certain diseases.
However, most pro-life supporters are of the opinion that fetuses are actually human and that they have to go through a lot of pain when they are subjected to abortion. These supporters state that judging a fetus as not being a human being by its inability to talk is wrong. They believe that each fetus has the same rights as any other human being and terminating its life even before it begins is equal to violating the right to life.
Pro-life supporters also state that fetuses are potential lives and threatening their existence leads to the violation of the fundamental right to life, which is one of the most important rights in all countries all over the world. The fact that the unborn is deprived from the right to a valuable future is nothing but an act of injustice and discrimination.
Of course, one of the best practices to avoid abortion is to not remain pregnant in the first place. There are so many contraceptive methods available on the market today that it’s nearly impossible not to know about at least one of them. Whether it’s about condoms, contraceptive pills or certain medical procedures people resort to, each of them can help women and prevent them from remaining pregnant.
It’s essential to get well informed over these methods and to learn everything it is to know about each of them. Thus, women will have a much clearer idea upon these methods and will be able to make the best choice for them. What’s most important is that this information must be passed on to children as well, and this should be done from an early age. The more informed children are with respect to what contraceptive methods imply and what pregnancy actually means, the more preventive they will be.
By using one of these contraceptive methods, women won’t get pregnant anymore, which means that they won’t eventually have to resort to abortion. Even though it might sound like a cliché, it’s actually true that prevention is the best practice in such cases. By preventing remaining pregnant, a woman doesn’t have to decide between terminating the life of the fetus and letting it live and grow.
Overall, it is generally agreed that the Roe v Wade abortion case that happened back in 1973 was a turning point in the history and brought women closer to having equal rights to men. Although there are still many cases in which women and men don’t have the same rights, each change brings women closer to meeting their expectations and achieving their goals. The fact that the Supreme Court that ruled on this controversial abortion case in 1973 is proof that things are starting to change and society starts to perceive things from a different perspective. Even though some consider the decision made by the Supreme Court in 1973 an act of liberation to women’s rights, others don’t share the same opinions and still believe that abortion is a wrong practice and should be banned by the laws. This is, after all, what makes this subject a controversial one and what determined people consider it a social problem not only in the US, but the whole world too.
While some support the idea of abortion, especially because the world’s population is continuously increasing, which might have some serious repercussions in the future, others believe that terminating the life of a fetus without leaving it with the right of deciding it on its own is an act of injustice towards the fetus.
Regardless of which side you are right now, you should consider one important thing – that you should come up with a responsible plan for your life as soon as possible. It’s important to be aware of the contraceptive methods that exist, to talk openly with your doctor and parents about what it means to have a child and what abortion implies. Being well-informed from the very beginning prevents unwanted events from happening, so you won’t have to make a choice of life over death for instance. Anyone who thinks of bringing a child into this world without actually wanting them should first spend some time and consider the consequences that follow this act.