Abortion has remained a controversial subject since time immemorial. For Along time, a large group of people who have now come to be known as pro-life activists has vehemently campaigned against the legalization of abortion, citing that it is not only inhumane but also a sin, and as it constitutes taking away the life of the unborn child. However, those in support of the practice argue that abortion ought to be legalized so that a mother who is in danger is saved from dying (Dyer 89). The even greater controversy has been deciding really whether abortion amounts to murder, as a pregnancy below five months has not yet formed a child. In an attempt to resolve this controversy, various countries have come up with legislations and the abortion law is the focus of this discussion. The discussion will delve into what has made the abortion law to be controversial and give reasons why abortion law is not appropriate. The discussion will also provide an alternative to the current law.
The history of abortion dates back many years ago when the practice was done as a method of family planning (Campbell 87). If a couple conceived a child without intending to, then the woman would undergo an abortion to get rid of the pregnancy. However, this did not go on well for a long time due to the ethical and moral issues surrounding the practice. To be noted is that both the English and the Common Law argued that once a woman feels the first movement being made by the child, an abortion after that would be illegal. The born alive however stated that a foetus was not a reasonable being and therefore abortion could not amount to murder.
By the 19th century, pro-life activist groups began emerging and countries that previously allowed abortion began to restrict and sanction the circumstances under which abortion could be conducted. Today in many countries, abortion is illegal and it is only allowed under very special circumstances to save the life of the mother. The rates of abortion are said to be higher in developing countries than the first-world countries (Eser and Hans-Georg 870). Moreover, since abortion is illegal even in third-world countries, most of them are carried out in backstreets, leading to a high number of deaths among women.
Main Arguments For and Against Abortion
Every side of the divide seems to have good reasons as to why they back their claim. Those who are opposed to the practice, argue that abortion goes against the ethical and moral standards of society. They further argue that abortion should not be allowed as it involved taking away the life of an innocent infant and thus amounts to murder. They argue that if a woman conceives against her will maybe through rape, there is an alternative to giving birth to the child and having that child adopted. Pro-life activists argue that it is only a society that is uncivilized that would openly allow a human being to freely take away the life of another. There is also the argument that abortion may cause other complications in lifelike infertility, miscarriages in subsequent pregnancies and even death in some serious circumstances. Abortion has also been said to have severe negative psychological impacts, and this may result in stress and depression.
On the other hand, those who support abortion argue that this practice should be allowed to save the life of the mother. They argue that if the doctors discover that the life of the mother is at risk due to the pregnancy, then such a pregnancy ought to be terminated since the mother can still conceive again and give birth to another child (Keown 654). They also argue that if a woman is raped and as a result conceived, it would be unfair to force such a woman to keep the pregnancy and give birth to such a child since the baby will be a constant reminder of the rape ordeal. Those in support of abortion also argue that if a woman discovers that she is pregnant and yet she does not have the means to bring up the child when it is born, they should be allowed to get rid of the pregnancy other than giving birth to the child and let the child suffer for lack of basic means of survival. Another very strong argument that has been advanced by those in support of the practice is that since abortion takes place in the first three months of the pregnancy, there is no being that is in existence at this time as the foetus cannot exist independently on its own. They, therefore, argue that it is erroneous to say that the life of the foetus has been taken when it is not alive. They also claim that abortion is not dangerous if carried out by a qualified medical practitioner. It only becomes dangerous when it is done by a quack.
I am of the opinion that the law on abortion is still not appropriate. I believe that abortion should be made illegal because legalizing abortion will see a society departing from its morals and ethics. Another reason why we must find the abortion law inappropriate is the fact that it provided loopholes through which mischievous people may use to their advantage. Therefore, it should remain illegal and the special circumstances under which it should be allowed should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if a woman gets pregnant but they have no means of raising the child, then such a child may be given for adoption rather than terminating the pregnancy. Life is sacred and we must always be careful to treat it as such. God is the giver of life and such; He is the only one with the sole authority to take it away. Therefore, for every situation that presents itself, it ought to be dealt with separately, but abortion must not be legalized by all means. Research shows that many of the women who undergo abortion develop other problems in the future such as depression and stress while others are totally unable to conceive. Those are able to conceive are likely to have miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.
There are those who still argue that abortion should be allowed based on certain prevailing circumstances. The problem with this argument is that making abortion legal will not only be a great departure to the root morals and ethics of the society but also may lead to a crisis in the future as there will be fewer children being born due to abortion. People must also be allowed to take responsibility for their actions. If a woman gets pregnant, then they should be allowed to carry their cross and be responsible for their actions. If abortion is to be made legal then we are looking at an oblique future since we are destroying tomorrow’s generation.
Abortion must therefore be made illegal if order and societal norms are to be maintained (Beckwith 57). Pretty much of the countries in the west have since legalized abortion citing that making it illegal would be a gross violation of the privacy rights of a woman. However, it must always be remembered that the rights of the public must always override those of an individual and when the rights of individuals seems to conflict with that of the general public then those of the public must always override. Abortion is an issue that goes against the general societal morals, ethics, norms, and expectations. Therefore, the rights of the public, in this case, must come over and above those of the individual thus declaring that abortion should not be legalized.
As controversial as it has remained, it is important for people to come out and state strongly that such a practice is wrong. There seems to bandwagon kind of attitude where people seem to support certain notions and practices just because other people are supporting them. It is however important for every person to take time and ponder the various consequences drawn from legalising abortion. The society will suffer from moral decadency and we can be sure that future generations are endangered not to mention the risk of losing the woman during the abortion. It is only fair that we face the facts sooner than later and accept that abortion has no place in the society.
Beckwith, Francis. Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
Campbell, Dennis. Abortion Law and Public Policy: Volume 7. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Print.
Dyer, Fredrick. The Physician’s Crusade against Abortion. London: Science History Publications, 2005. Print.
Eser, Albin and Hans-Georg, Koch. Abortion and the Law: From International Comparison.
to Legal Policy. New York: TMC Asser Press, 2005. Print.
Keown, John. Abortion, Doctors and the Law: Some Aspects of the Legal. London: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.