Abortion – many sides and many opinions
Abortion is one of the most controversial and talked about topics of our time. It is discussed in classrooms, work places and even on the internet. The definition of abortion is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus as the spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation. (Webster Online, Def. 1). People are always trying to prove if abortion is ethical, if the fetus can feel pain, and when it is more human than non-human. All of those factors come into play when deciding if abortion should be legal or not and it lets people pass judgment on others. We all have opinions ranging from completely anti abortion, pro-life, to completely for abortion, pro-choice, and even sometimes having split opinions. I will show some of these views in my paper and hopefully try to successfully portray the different sides to this topic.
If at some point in a woman’s life she is considering an abortion, there are a lot of factors that come into play when reaching a decision. There are first your personal, life altering choices that hold significance on whether an abortion is the choice you want to make. What is your living situation? Can you afford a child? Are you mentally prepared for a child? Will this help or hurt your relationship with your partner? I don’t think that all women stop and think fully about these questions before making their decisions. I think a lot of the time in the underprivileged areas of the country where young pregnancies are more frequent they make the choice to have an abortion a lot quicker than other areas where there are more resources available to help young mothers. “People who have knowledge of and access to contraceptives tend to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer abortions. It’s no accident hat the world’s lowest abortion rates are found in Belgium and the Netherlands, where contraception is widely available, or that the highest rates are in Cuba and Vietnam, where access is limited. If you really want to reduce the number of abortions, a logical place to begin is with the expansion of family planning programs.” (Christian Century, 2007) I also think that the choice to have an abortion is taken for granted. Woman knowing that they can just terminate the pregnancy easily if it happens to them become careless in their sexual tendencies.
Now that a decision is made to have an abortion, you have to choose from medical or surgical for how the procedure will be done. “The most common reasons women gave for selecting medical abortion were that the procedure offered greater privacy and autonomy, was less invasive and was more natural than surgery. Another study found that among 86 women requesting medical abortions, 48% wanted to avoid surgery.” (Contraception, 1995) Since abortion is such a controversial topic some women feel that the safety of their own home is the best atmosphere to carry out their decision without the embarrassment they may feel or the opportunity to be judged. Medical advances have given us the option to be home and to take a pill called misoprostol which to most women only gave minor cramping and discomfort. This gives women privacy and comfort and at the same time control over their situation. They are taking this pill at their leisure and don’t have to feel the uncomfortableness of a hospital or doctor office setting.
Family planning and teen pregnancy prevention programs have been wildly expanding across the country. There is more focus on helping woman who do not have someone to turn to or educate them on proper safe sex practices and to even practicing abstinence. Pro-life activists believe that human life should be valued from fertilization or implantation until natural death. Any disruption of that is considered morally and ethically wrong and these activists are very vocal in their choices even when not wanted. Most do not believe in contraception and feel it only aids the prevention of life. Without birth control in the lives of young teens or even adults it leaves too much room for abused, neglected children because their parents aren’t prepared or simply did not want them in the first place. You can’t pretend that everyone is suitable to have children and think that they can just practice safe sex and there be no consequences. I personally think that each woman’s situation is unique and what they decide to do with their body is up to them. I feel that pro-life activists push their opinions on other people too much and I don’t think that is right when you already know that these women are already going through a difficult time in their lives and the last thing they want is to be criticized. In Massachusetts there was a law passed that creates a 35 ft zone around abortion clinics preventing pro-life activists from voicing their opinion to patients. I agree with this law and feel it is a step in getting back our rights as an individual. Most of the time a woman will wisely make her decision based on some of the questions that I mentioned before and if it happens that abortion is right for her at the time then that his up to her and her only. We have worked hard in this country to fight for our own rights as an individual and I think that not giving a woman the right to make her own decision on abortion regresses us.
Pro-choice activists convey the idea that having a child is a personal choice that affects a woman’s body and health. They support planned parenthoods and education on contraception and this doesn’t mean that they are for actual act of abortion but feel if the situation calls for it then it is totally up to the woman. Giving women their choice leaves less room for people taking the matter into their own hands and getting rid of their unborn babies in an unhealthy, unsafe practice such as substance abuse or doubty clinics. If we show women that they have to the choice to go to a credible place where they can feel comfortable then they will be more inclined to be safe. Underdeveloped areas of the country have higher unwanted pregnancy rates because there isn’t enough awareness being spread and pro-choice activists are trying to change this. If we have the right to pierce our bodies, tattoo them, get plastic surgery on them, then why isn’t our choice to decide if we want keep something we created or not? Yes, a baby is different than a tattoo but they both involve our bodies and they both involve making a decision about them.
Just like a lot of issues in this country, abortion will always be controversial. I do not feel that there will be a common ground. It is something that each side feels very strongly about and is not something that either side will readily succumb to. Women can properly assess their situation and choose what is right for them at the current stage at their life and be able to find people to support them, clinics to help them, and feel at ease with their decisions. I think this is how it should be in our society, all about personal choices.