Abortion research but having some understanding of

  Abortion has been taking place since as early
as ancient times in various ways, when it was commonly accepted. There weren’t
any official laws against abortion, until 1869, when Pope Pius XI proclaimed
that humans gained a soul at conception. Therefore, he set up laws that forbid
any form of termination of pregnancy and to this day, there are still numerous developing
countries where these laws remain.                                                                                                                                                                    The
controversial debate about abortion has been going on and on, ever since the
legalization between 1950 and 1985 in almost all developed countries because of
civil rights and women’s rights. As you can see reading the 2 quotes at the top
of the page, there is a clear distinction between the views on abortion of
these two people which show the main sides to this debate, the pro-life
movement and the pro-choice movement. The advocates of pro-life believe that
abortion should undoubtedly be abolished, one reason being that in their
opinion, abortion is equivalent to murder. From the opposed point of view,
pro-choice followers stand for women having the right to make their own choices
about their bodies and abortion, and not the government. At this moment, before
having done any research  but having some
understanding of the topic, I am a strong believer of the pro-choice movement.
However, I am very interested in researching and gaining knowledge on this
topic, which might change my mind. I am going to be discussing three themes –  ethics and culture, economics, and science – that
are of great importance to this topic and should all have to be considered
while deliberating the question: “Should abortion be abolished?”

 

Ethics
& Culture

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For the greatest part, the abortion debate
is about ethical and moral rules and values. Since the case of Roe vs. Wade (a
woman named Norma Mccorvey – Jane Roe as an alias to protect her identity- went
to court to try to get a legal abortion claiming she was raped because she
thought this was the only way to get a legal abortion) there has
been much controversy around the topic. Due to this case, abortion was legalized
in the United States of America in 1973 and many people have been supporters of
abortion. Though, there are still a lot of people who are supporting the
pro-life movement. One of the ethical arguments of the pro-life defenders is
that carrying out an abortion is equal to murder and that taking another humans
life, no matter how young or their stage of life, should be penalized. As 29%
of the pro-life followers are Christian, they often use the argument that God
prescribes the same penalty—death—for someone who causes the death of a baby in
the womb as for someone who commits murder. They believe that if women want
control of their body, this should include the responsible use of
contraception, and if that’s not possible, 
through the practice of sexual abstinence.                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the pro-abortion arguments
talks about cases of rape or incest. Forcing a woman to give birth to a child
conceived by one of these would cause more emotional harm to the victim than
when getting an abortion. Women should be regarded as an individual person, not
just as a receptacle for a fetus and they should have full control over their
own bodies.  Pregnancy also has
tremendous repercussions on other aspects of a woman’s life. It damages her
body, education,  often restrains her career
and it affects her whole family life. Lastly, a common conception about women
who have abortions, is that they are careless and don’t use contraception.
However, 50% of these women do use contraception, so even when using
contraception there is a big possibility of becoming  unwantedly pregnant.                                                                                                                                    In
countries and cultures where abortion is legal on request, only  34 women in every 1,000 have one. In countries
where abortions are always illegal or only legal if a woman’s life is at risk,
37 women in every 1,000 have (an illegal) one. Most of the countries where
abortion is illegal are developing countries, which could cause the slight
increase in rates because of the restricted access to birth control.  In these countries with strict abortion laws,
mortality rates due to (illegal) abortion are much higher: 220 deaths per
100,000 unsafe abortions, and even 520 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions in
sub-Saharan Africa. In countries with less restrictive laws there are only 30
deaths or fewer per 100,000 unsafe abortions.  Illegalizing abortion therefore does not have
many positive effects, but a lot of religions and cultures only care about the
ethical and moral principles of abortion.

Economics

Abortion also has some economical facets to
it. In the opinion of the pro-abortion supporters, children are fairly
expensive, expensive enough to justify abortion. They think that the costs of
having a child troubles the parents with a lot of costs, and it also loads society
with high costs when poor mothers have children and can’t provide for them.
They also claim that abortion is needed to reduce population growth and costs
related to this growth. The pro-life supporters counter-argue this with the
fact that the majority of the children grow up to be working adults who will
pay taxes, save, invest or spend their money. Even before becoming adults and
growing up, parents spend large amounts of money on their children, from
diapers to school books to cars. A growing population leads to higher amounts
of spending money and will thus lower unemployment.  If abortion had not been approved in the
United States of America in 1973, over 17 million people extra in the USA would
be employed, which would result in an additional $400,000,000,000  from these laborers according to the National
Center for Health Statistics, Guttmacher Institute and the Bureau of Labor
Statistics.                                                                                                                                                                                             A
decline in birth also puts more weight on the young to help and support the
elderly. An example is China, where the government is battling with less and
less  young workers to support the aging
society. Abortion leads to a declining birth rate and therefore could lead to
the same complications.

 

Science

There are a lot of scientific aspects to abortion and the
consequences. Some of them are facts, some of them are myths. According to the
pro-life activists, one of the main effects of abortion is the development of
mental health problems, in particular depression, suicidal thoughts and regret.
The anti-abortion supporters have named it post-abortion syndrome (PAS),  and it was specified as a type of PTSD
(post-traumatic stress disorder) by psychologist Dr. Vincent Rue. There have
been many studies to try to prove that PAS exists, e.g. a study conducted by Dr.
Priscilla Coleman, a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at
Bowling Green State University in Ohio. According to this study, women who had
abortions had an overall 81% more risk of getting mental health problems and
had 55% more of a chance of any mental problems than women who carried to full
term.                             An
important observation on the pro-abortion side is the fact that post-abortion
syndrome is not a term that has been accepted by the American Psychological
Association or the American Psychiatric Association and it is not listed in the
DSM-V (the handbook of mental health). Pro-abortion activists therefore
strongly believe that anti-abortion activists have made it up in order to
promote their political agenda.  A recent
research in Denmark to disprove recorded the mental state and health of 365,550
women, of which 84,620 had had an abortion. It did not find any correlation
between having had an abortion and an increase of mental health problems. This
was not particularly surprising, as previous studies had found that if a woman
was not already depressed or suicidal, then “elective abortion of an unintended
pregnancy does not pose a risk to mental health”. 90% Of the women even
reported their abortion as a relief.                                                                                                           Another
topic around the abortion debate that is discussed a lot, is the link between
abortion and breast cancer. It is strongly believed on the anti-abortion side
that induced abortion can increase your chance on getting cancer, particularly
breast cancer. The World Health Organization, the Royal College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Cancer Institute and the American
College of Obstetricians completely dismiss these assertions.  The largest study on this topic was done in the
1990s in Denmark. 1.5 Million women were linked with the National Registry of
Induced Abortions and with the Danish Cancer Registry. The study showed that
induced abortions overall had no effect on the risk of breast cancer.                                                                                                                                                 It
is also commonly believed that abortion can cause infertility. This suggestion
is based on outdated abortion techniques, where there was a risk of scarring
the reproductive organs and thus potentially leading to complications. However,
this technique has been replaced with a much safer method in the early 1970s.
Kimberley A. Thornton, M.D., infertility specialist and reproductive
endocrinologist at RMA of New York, declares that there is zero evidence that  abortion could cause infertility. Lastly,
pro-abortion supporters often use the argument that the fetus can feel/be in
pain when having an abortion. Though, in the early stages of pregnancy, a fetus
had not yet developed a nervous system and brain so they are unable to feel any
pain.                                                                                                             

 

Conclusion

After the extensive research I have conducted, I still agree
with my initial view on the subject. In my opinion, the answer to the research
question “Should abortion be abolished?”, is no. There is not enough clear,
scientific evidence that abortion has any negative effects on women and I think
the pro-life supporters base their arguments too much on feelings and
assumptions. I stand for equality for everyone, no matter their gender, sexual
orientation, race, etc. and I think having the option to get an abortion is
very necessary for gender equality, as childbirth and pregnancy have such a big
impact on every aspect of a woman’s life such as her education and her career. I
believe that women should be able to make decisions over their own bodies and I
think it would be ridiculous if this would be done by the government. They
should have the option to have a legal and safe abortion whenever they want to,
no matter if it’s because of their financial situation, their family life,
their relationship status or other reasons.  Illegalizing abortion would force tons of
women to get unsafe abortions, risking their health and even their lives. Making
abortion illegal does not stop abortions. It stops safe abortions.                                                                                                                         Though my opinion has remained
unchanged, I have come to understand the other side of the debate more. I think
abortion is still a very controversial topic and it is not talked about enough,
but it is important to educate people on controversial topics and to speak up
for what you believe in.