Whenever the subject of abortion comes up in public, people often take one of the two standpoints. The first is the pro-life stand where individuals argue on grounds that women should not be allowed to carry out an abortion because it would amount to murder. The other group is that which is referred as the pro-choice group. They advocate for the women carrying the fetuses to be given an opportunity to decide whether to carry the baby to term or terminate the pregnancy. No traceable history of illegal abortion would exist it not for the continued demand for the practice from women. Throughout the generations, women have persistently fought for the control of their reproduction by using abortion as a platform in which they can argue out based on legal and medical authorities. Such women, their lives, and perspectives are central to this discussion. Abortion should be legal because it is not possible to enforce anti-abortion laws, the women could have been raped, and the result spares heartache and suffering from homes where parents are not ready.
Looking back at history, it is evident that abortion was not always a crime; instead, the termination of early pregnancies was legal under the common law. The attitude of the common law towards pregnancy and abortion was mostly based on the understanding of pregnancy and human development as a continuous process rather than an absolute moment. During this period, the term abortion was only used to refer to the miscarriages of later pregnancies whenever they were quickened. Nowadays, it is identified as an early induced abortion rather than just abortion. At the time of conception and the preceding early stages of pregnancy, there was no belief in the existence of abortion rather the ethics regarding abortion were grounded on the experience of women concerning their bodies. In the early eighteenth century, conception was perceived as a phenomenon that required attention because it obstructed or blocked menstruation. Herbs were used to restore the menses by terminating the pregnancy (Alexander and LaRosa n.p).
.There was the extensive commercialization of the induced abortion using drugs by the mid of eighteenth century. The advent of euphemism created awareness in women of the ability they had to regulate their fertility through abortion. The sale of abortifacients had now gained momentum, and the doctors and healers were cashing in on the profits. The increasing number of entrepreneurs who sold and advertised the abortifacients drugs inspired the early legislations that cushioned pregnant women from taking them as they resulted in deaths. It is important to note that during this period the laws present did not punish women for inducing pregnancies nor did they eliminate the concept of quickening. The legal silence of these statutes ensured that women retained the right to make their decisions concerning pregnancies before quickening (Kathy n.p). With time, regular medical men were drawn into the debate about sexual politics. They attacked the female practice of abortion terming it immoral, unpatriotic and unwomanly. This gave a new meaning to abortion creating a weapon that the white, native-born, male legislatures could use against the women of their caliber who were busy agitating for personal as well as political reforms. The laws got rid of the idea of common law that allowed quickening and prohibited abortion at any point in pregnancy.
The reasons as to why abortion should be legal
Women choose to end their pregnancies for various reasons. They are more likely to go for abortions when they are faced with unwanted pregnancies. It may also be an alternative when they have life-threatening ectopic pregnancies. In some cases, the fetus may possess some genetic defects or some malformation. Children at times are viewed as a burden and consume a lot of time that would have been put into proper use in working or even furthering education. Marital problems have also been reported to be a cause of abortion since the mothers have the fear of bringing up children in a troubled marriage. Other women cite the financial issues their reasons for terminating pregnancies or that they do not have the desire to have more children. For teenage pregnancies, the inability to raise a child or even conceiving as a result of rape are just some of the reasons that have been cited for the early termination of pregnancies.
Abortion should not be outlawed for the sake of the victims of rape cases. Sexual, psychological and physical violence may partly contribute to cases of unwanted pregnancies. From a pro-choice perspective, an unwanted pregnancy is considered an infringement on a womans physical integrity and autonomy. It may be rephrased to be the use of her body by the fetus that is as a result of rape by a man against her will and desire. It is more of a representation of a physical assault on the sovereignty of a womans body (Marchick n.p). Abortion can cushion the mental health of a woman who becomes pregnant through rape or incest. The injustices committed against the victim do not offer a justification for her to carry the fetus to term. This could only aggravate the anger and mental anguish towards the incident and also the unborn child. The constant reminder of pain that such encounters remind the mother may just be a source of their mental anguish.
People should be allowed to have their freedom of choice whenever it comes to issues concerning their bodies. When restrictions are put on the reproductive rights of a woman, they affect their affect their other related rights. Whether a person is directly or indirectly responsible for their actions, it still does not change the fact that they still have freedom to choose what suits them. Mothers, for example, are already faced with a form of prejudice. Having a child, for instance, can signify the end of a persons career because of the extended periods of time they stay away from work on maternity leave. Before the procedure was modernized and the medicines made available, the back-alley abortions were done using crude tools such as knitting needles and other unregulated pharmaceutical products to perforate the uterus. One of the ways to reduce the mortality rates associated with illegally procured abortions is to legalize the practice. It is widely known that making abortion illegal does not stop the practice all together but rather it makes people seek abortions from unlicensed clinics and get rid of pregnancies through means that are unlawful.
The restrictions on abortions should be outlawed in cases where there is an impending miscarriage. In most cases, this is usually the period of the first fifteen weeks of pregnancy, and the fetal heartbeat has not yet been detected. Once an eminent miscarriage is determined, the physicians often recommend the mother to remove the fetus through abortion. Miscarriages often result in greater physical risks that may result in medical complications compared to abortion. Some of the difficulties that may be encountered include extensive pain; hemorrhage or even the products of conception may remain inside the uterus. The advancement in technology has allowed for the early detection of birth defects during pregnancy. Through the amniocentesis or ultrasounds, a pregnant woman can find out if her fetus is at a risk of birth defects or other genetic disorders. When a high-risk malformation or defect is noted, the mother is informed so that she can make the decision on whether to carry on or terminate the pregnancy. It is imperative to note that reducing the pain the child might have to suffer is better than having children with irreversible deformities.
Abortion should be legalized so as to offer a choice for the mother and also present them with a second chance in life to make things right. It also provides some reprieve for victims of sexual assaults by lifting the burden of having to carry an unwanted pregnancy. Though advocating for its legalization, abortion should not be used as a birth control or an excuse for engaging in improper sexual activities. Proper regulations should be put enacted to ensure that even if the practice is legal, the sanctity of life ought to still be protected.
"Should Abortion Be Legal?". Debate.org. N.p., 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
Alexander, Linda Lewis, and Judith H LaRosa. New Dimensions In Women's Health. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1994. Print. (Alexander and LaRosa)
Camosy, Charles Christopher. Beyond The Abortion Wars. Print.
Gill, Kathy. "Read Up On America's History With Abortion". About.com News & Issues. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
Marchick, Rose. "Medical Reasons For Abortions | LIVESTRONG.COM". LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.
Murray, Justin, Meredith B Esser, and Robin West. In Search Of Common Ground On Abortion: From Culture War To Reproductive Justice (Gender In Law, Culture, And Society). Ashgate Publishing Group, 2014. Print.
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