Abortion, the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, is exercised by one out of every three women by the time they reach the age of 45. While it is a legal medical procedure, it is also a subject that raises controversy. Should a woman be able to kill her developing baby? Is this a crime? Is it morally correct?
The topic of abortion has been blown out of the water to the point where people forget that it is indeed a medical procedure, not just a moral issue. There are a couple different ways that abortions are done. Up to seven weeks, doctors will use MTX tablets, which are distributed either orally or vaginally. This procedure causes contractions and cause the fetus to be expelled. Up to 9 weeks, doctors will also use Mifepristone which is given orally after a physical exam has been completed. It causes the uterine lining to break down, which prevents the pregnancy from continuing. Finally, there are two surgical procedures that can be used. Both are invasive and are fairly similar.
People against abortion make the claim that the fetus is a living human being, and therefore abortion is murder. Their argument is centered around the fact that the fetus is defenseless and has no voice, therefore they will be that voice. In my opinion, while the fetus’s heart is technically beating, it is not truly alive. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of life is: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body. While looking at a fetus of no more than 20 weeks, one cannot make the claim that they are a “vital and functioning being”. They rely totally on the mother and cannot physically do much of anything. If you take one out of the mother, it would not be able to sustain itself at all. On a spectrum of living to dead, a fetus is much closer to the “dead” end.
While I don’t believe that abortion should be used as a crutch for all of the people who make mistakes, I do believe that it should be a resource reserved in the case of an emergency such as rape.
Imagine walking down a dark street after a night out with friends. You are three blocks away from home when a man in his twenties comes up behind you. You start walking a little faster, but don’t think much of it. You notice him getting closer and start to jog. Suddenly, he grabs you and pulls you behind a store. He rapes you and, when he is done, gets up and walks away. A month later you find out you are pregnant with his child. Now, in this situation, lets say abortion has been made illegal. With no other options, you are forced to have the child of a man you do not know, a man who is a criminal. The first time you look at your newborn baby, your tears are not fueled by happiness, but by fear and anger. You do not see the face of an innocent child, but the face of the man who raped you.
In situations like the one I just outlined, abortion is a vital resource. No woman should have to relive the worst night of her life over and over again. Abortion not only offers a safe alternative to having the baby, but it also spares the woman the heartbreak and agony of seeing the child she didn’t plan to have.
America, as stated in the constitution, and repeated by us every day, is a free country. This encompasses the right given to people that allows them to make their own decisions, regardless of the opinions of others. While abortion is widely disagreed upon, it is a choice that is made by an individual, based on the needs and lifestyle of that person. No one else can tell that person whether or not an abortion is the right choice. As said by Margaret Sanger, “No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.” How can we call ourselves a free country if we are going to take away the rights of women to control what happens to their own bodies?
Situations where the mother’s life is threatened pose another opportunity for abortion to be used. Lets say when you were ten, you find out your mom is pregnant. Everything looks good, your mom is healthy. Then, your parents come back from a routine check up and you are informed that there is something wrong with the pregnancy. Your mom’s life is in danger. Now as a ten year old, you don’t fully understand what is happening, but as the due date approaches, your mom goes to the doctor more and more. Abortion is not an option. Your mom goes into labor and more than 12 hours later, your baby brother is born. Your mom managed to survive the birth, but is bedridden in the hospital for two weeks. She underwent multiple surgeries to fix the problems caused during her pregnancy and the birth. Your mom was lucky…she very well could have died. The doctors tell her she cannot have anymore children, and that there might be problems with your baby brother because of the complications.
In this situation, abortion may have been a useful resource. Had abortion been allowed in this situation, the mother would not have had to undergo such a painful and life threatening situation. While she lived to see her child, some women are not that lucky. Some women in the same situation choose to abort a child that could potentially end their life, but if that choice was not available, how many more children would grow up without their mother? How many families would lose a loved one because of the lack of resources to save her life?
As I said before, abortion should not be used as a crutch for every person who made a mistake. In the majority of situations, I believe that if a mistake is made, the person should have to live with the ramifications. However, in both of the situations I outlined, I believe abortion is a necessary and useful resource. It offers a safe and reliable outlet for women who are not able to handle the pregnancy, either emotionally or physically. Abortion will continue to be discussed for years to come, whether or not it is made illegal. No matter what happens, there will be two very strong and very different opinions on abortion.