Abortion is a social issue that evokes strong feelings and judgments and is also subjected to continuous debate over a long period. In the recent past, the issue of abortion its legality and availability of chances for abortion has attracted considerable attention and has also generated quite a number of controversies. Abortion involves multifaceted issues including the right of women to protect their physique, the nature and responsibility of the State to protect the unborn, the friction between religious and secular viewpoints, rights of spouses and parents in the decisions leading to abortion and above all the conflict in the rights of the mother and the fetus. Abortion has a long history and various traditional methods were being used for inducing abortion. Abortion is a procedure which is intended to terminate a pregnancy. In abortion, embryo or fetus and placenta is removed from the uterus by using medicine or surgery. Abortion procedure is carried out by a licensed physician or some other practitioner acting under the supervision of a licensed physician. Abortion can also occur because of certain complications during pregnancy. Abortion has a number of health considerations. When performed at early pregnancy, abortion is considered safer than childbirth. The procedure may lead to some serious complications when the abortion is performed in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Abortion may be a spontaneous abortion which is the expulsion of an embryo or fetus due to natural causes or induced abortion where the pregnancy is aborted intentionally. Induced abortion becomes an elective abortion when performed at the instance of a woman without any accompanying maternal health issue or fetal disease. Despite the legalization of abortion in developed countries women choose several unsafe self induced methods for terminating pregnancy.
Views in Favor of Abortion
Peikoff is of the view that it is the right of the woman to her life that provides her with the right to terminate her pregnancy at her wish. According to Peikoff for discussing the controversy relating to abortion there is no need to cede to the terms “pro-life” and “right to life” as advanced by the antiabortion advocates. He advances the argument that the status of the embryo in the first trimester, which is pre-human, is the fundamental issue that needs consideration. Only the religious dogma attaches the sanctity of life to a group of cells. An embryo can only be considered as a potential human being, which can develop into a live human being on the choice of the woman carrying the fetus. Since the embryo which is less than three months is nothing more than a frog or fish and to compare the fetus with a child is ludicrous (Peikoff).
Views of Thomson also are in favor of abortion. According to the author the fetus cannot be considered as human being and therefore there is no killing involved in abortion. The burden of unwanted children on the woman acts strongly in favor of abortion. Carrying and delivering a child by a woman having adverse cardiac conditions would endanger the life of the woman. The anti-abortionists consider the fate of the embryo as more important than the life of a woman; but a woman is to be considered more valuable than a fetus. A woman must be able to make a decision about abortion based on her own conscience. Disregarding the right to abortion would result in ending the rights, health and pursuit of happiness of women. More than anything else by outlawing abortion, the society will allow children to bear children which is not beneficial to the teenagers. Further compulsory childbirth laws cannot be considered to be in compatible with a free society (Thomson).
Despite these arguments which support abortion there is another school of thought, which vehemently claims that abortion should not be allowed in view of the following arguments.
Views against Abortion
Lowen advances several arguments which go against abortion. First life is supposed to begin at conception and therefore abortion tantamount to the act of murder. Abortion thus can in no way be permitted by a civilized society. Abortion represents the permission to do intentional harm or take the life of another human for no reason. When there are more than 1.5 million families in the United States who want to adopt a child there can be no unwanted child demanding abortion. Another major issue in connection with abortion is the health issues. An abortion could easily lead to medical complications at a later stage in the lives of women who resorted to abortion. Even in instances of rape, proper medical attention would protect a woman from becoming pregnant and abortion of an unborn child is to be considered as a punishment to the child for no crime committed by it. On the contrary it is the perpetrator who deserves the punishment (Lowen).
Both physical complications and psychological complications have been reported to result from abortion which makes it painful for a woman. Despite the administration of anesthesia 97% of the women undergoing the procedure of abortion have reported experiencing intense or severe pain. Studies report that abortion may lead to the risk of the incidence of breast cancer among women. Damages to the lining of the uterus and permanent infertility are some of the other consequences of abortion. Researchers have identified undesirable psychological problems in women as after-effects. Women experience psychological problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, personal relationship disorders and in some cases even attempts to suicide are not ruled out. Women who opt for abortion experience communication difficulties and feel that their self-esteem is damaged (National Right to Life). All these physical and psychological issues point towards the undesirability of resorting to abortion, if alternative solutions are available.
In consideration of the arguments advanced for and against abortion, one can come to the conclusion that abortion leads to the ending of a unique human life and the right to life should be considered as more fundamental and important against any rights or arguments which have been advanced in favor of abortion. The bare facts connected with the issue of abortion clearly describes the helplessness of a unique individual human life which can either motivate human beings for practicing compassion, nurturing and protection or alternatively can use the opportunity to exercise a deadly killing power to end an innocent life. Overall there are a lot of arguments which go to prove that abortion is not only a crime but also would generate greater problems to the woman. The cons of abortion are too many which should make the woman think many times before deciding in favor of abortion. Considering all the situations and instances abortion is to be considered as an act of violence against the unborn child as also against the woman who is pregnant, apart from being a crime perpetrated against moral standards established in a civilized society.
NationalRighttoLife. nrlc.org. 2008. Web.
Lowen, Linda. Ten Arguments For Abortion and Against Abortion. 2009. Web.
Peikoff, Leonard. Abortion Rights are Pro-Life. 2003. Web.
Thomson, Judith Jarvis. A Defense of Abortion. 1996. Web.