Analysis of the Issue of Abortion and Factors Influencing Abortion Decision-Making Processes Among Women

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While abortion signifies one of the commonest gynecological processes globally, no movement has stirred such ache and controversy like the right to an abortion. The fundamental social and political paradox raised by abortion is two-fold: the legitimate domain to which decision about abortion is to be made, and the salient determinant factors behind the ensuing tenacities over access; aspects affiliated to legitimate authority perceptions, which play an integral role to abortion’s social construction. Ideally, there was no federal legislation on abortion during the 1960s, with multiple states completely banning the procedure except when the mother’s life was in danger (Ackerman & Stettner. 2019). The reformation of abortion laws in the US was spurred by increased health issues of illicit abortion, and while feminists engaged rather late, abortion only became a conspicuous political issue after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Extensive studies conducted by social scientists after the 1973 decision have portrayed that the public is more probable to support abortion in cases of fetal defects, risk of maternal health or where the pregnancy is a result of rape (Williams, 2012). However, these lone reasons fail to jibe with real-life complexities, i.e., the majority of abortions nowadays are associated with an array of factors including the conflicting responsibilities of the job, school, and family, single parenthood, financial instability, abusive relationships, unplanned pregnancies or failed contraceptives as will be noted in this paper (Traina, 2018). To exacerbate the issue is the idea that legal abortion’s trend is towards an increasingly secularized society that features more personal choice and limited regulation by political and religious entities over individual life aspects. Overall, abortion is socially constructed via various authority delineation perspectives that are conflicting.

The History/Legal History (Roe v. Wade) of Abortion

There is clear evidence that in the 19th century, laws concerned with abortion encountered a major transformation, and at the close of the century, every U.S. state had restrictive abortion regulations. Scholars point out that one of the main reasons behind this change was the physicians’ mobilization to professionalize and regulate medical practice (Valerius, 2005). Subtly, the change of the medical community’s role formerly served as a legal abortion opponent, but later became a re-legalization advocate. The early efforts regarding abortion criminalization stressed the dangers faced by women from the procedure, but not on the fetus’ rights (Williams, 2012). In virtually a century later, the risks associated with illegal abortions inspired many people, including physicians to advocate for the removal of abortion from the crime culture and reinstate it as a medical process (Pollitt, 2016). The feat of medicalizing abortion is expansively portrayed within the spheres of anti-choice activism with the aim of medicalizing Post Abortion Syndrome to suggest the risky emotional consequences of abortion among women. Historically, abortion policies were overtly utilized to persuade white women to give birth to more children to counterpoise the increasing immigrant and minority populations (Ackerman & Stettner, 2019). By the ’60s, the American population agenda protracted to overpopulation concerns at large. The issues surrounding overpopulation motivated policy decisions along with judicial considerations. The role of population increase has been cited as one that greatly complicates abortion subject in the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court that legalized abortion (Valerius, 2005). Even though privacy remains the integral right improved in Roe v. Wade, the social climate surrounding that time focused more on overpopulation forces and the risk of the subsequent environmental issues (Ackerman & Stettner, 2019). In the general abortion law reform context, accessing legal abortion was not only premised upon the right of women towards bodily control but was also radicalized as a social control mechanism for population control at large.

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Factors Influencing Abortion Decision-Making Processes Among Women

Generally, the immediate reason often offered by women for seeking an induced abortion is anchored within the premises of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. Nonetheless, the diverse socio-economic and health conditions underlying this rationale are yet to be adequately explored. Globally, the commonest reason referenced by women for having an abortion is to stop or postpone childbearing, which is closely followed by socio-economic issues (Roberts et al, 2020). In this sense, socio-economic concerns engross issues such as employment or education disruptions, lack of financial support and responsibility by the father, increased poverty, desire to provide quality education and life for the existing children, joblessness or incapability to afford extra children (Pollitt, 2016). Furthermore, relationship issues with a partner or husband, especially abusive and/or unfaithful relationships, together with the perception by a woman that she is too young to become a mother engross other substantial classifications of reasons (Traina, 2018). The attributes of women correlate with their respective reasons to seek an abortion; implying that married women and older ones are more probable to classify limiting childbearing as their primary reason behind abortion. Indeed, decision-making on pregnancy termination is a major dilemma among young women and even women in general who are experiencing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy; a phenomenon that may be caused by rape cases or failed contraceptives (Williams, 2012). Rape or incest are some of the most sensitive reasons that greatly provoke the victims to seek induced abortion due to the stigma/shame associated with the act and also the sentiment that they cannot be held liable for the pregnancy; the pregnancy was not their fault (Valerius, 2005). Also, given that teenagers contain special health issues during an extremely significant transition time from childhood to adulthood, failed contraceptives may justify abortion practice among teenagers, which is linked to a lack of sex education on fertility and contraception (Farber, 1991). Such groups are usually subjected to socio-economic and cultural hurdles, which limit their independence and make them susceptible to pressures forcing or influencing abortion decisions.

The Impacts of Abortion

The effects of abortion, in particular, unsafe or illegal abortion have been well recorded in the related literature, and they range from physical and emotional complications to death. Physical complications of abortion include hemorrhage, sepsis and genital trauma among other conditions, and they are more severe among the adolescents compared to the older women (Roberts et al, 2020). Besides, these physical complications have been portrayed to elevate the risk of mortality and morbidity among the subjects. On the contrary, the detrimental impacts associated with unsafe abortion are not limited to the individual only, but instead, they also have major impacts on the health care system as a whole (Farber, 1991). With this respect, treating these forms of complications consumes a fundamental share of resources such as blood supply, hospital beds and related drugs or medications (Ackerman & Stettner, 2019). From a different perspective, even though women’s attitudes following an abortion may greatly vary depending on different factors or circumstances, there is empirical evidence that having an abortion causes emotional distress, negative emotional state and/or mental health issues (Traina, 2018). However, various adversaries have maintained that abortion is a rather benign procedure when it comes to emotional impact, except for the existence of pre-abortion emotional issues or after a wanted pregnancy has been terminated, for example, after diagnostic genetic testing (Roberts et al, 2020). Again, while the rate of unsafe abortions is anticipated to increase after policies restrict access to reproductive healthcare, denying women an abortion increases their anxiety levels, lower their life satisfaction and self-esteem (Pollitt, 2016). Other studies show a strong correlation between interpersonal violence and unwanted pregnancy, on top of the fact that unwanted pregnancy is linked with deficiencies in the ensuing cognitive, social and emotional processes of the child.


Ironically, legal abortion prescriptions do not bar women from seeking abortion from acquiring them. Abortion rates seem to be a bit higher among nations where this procedure is prohibited or extremely restricted compared to states where it can be accessed on request. As such, this phenomenon underscores the core significance of abortion within the reproductive lives of women worldwide. Nonetheless, access to affordable and safe abortion among women varies greatly from one region to another, and besides, abortion access has for years proven tenuous. Overall, it is quite imperative to understand that the reasons provided by women for seeking abortion remains often more complicated as such a decision is normally motivated by various factors as aforementioned.


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