Main Issues Concerning Abortion: Critical Analysis
The biggest question people have on abortion is usually the idea of is a fetus considered to be alive? The people who argue a fetus has no rights, are those who claim that a fetus is not alive. It is a well known scientific fact that life begins at conception. (1) In biological terms, to be alive it must be able to have a method of reproduction, be capable of growth, along with being able to react to stimuli.(2) According to Professor Stuart Campbell’s “Watch me Grow”,
“Eight weeks after a fetus is conceived, all their bodily structures and organs are developed, including their tooth buds. At nine weeks, their fingernails and toenails are starting to grow, and the fetus has the ability to swallow. By ten weeks, the sex of the fetus is visible, after twelve weeks the baby has the ability to squirm and perform multiple movements along with having well defined eyes. By fourteen weeks, the baby is able to respond to external stimuli.” (3)
A fetus is significantly more developed in a short time period than most people seem to realize. Thus leading to the notation of people dismissing the idea of a fetus being alive as most people do not understand the complexities of fetal development. Although when a fetus is inside the mother, the fetus won’t be able to take care of themselves or live independently outside of its mother. Along with the fetus not being able to have it’s own individual thoughts or engage in moral thinking or rational judgement.(4)
If we consider a fetus to be alive, then the question of a fetus having a right to life changes to whether or not a fetus has any intrinsic value. When a embryo is first conceived, it doesn’t have any intrinsic value. However, as it grows and develops, it’s value grows as well. (The Unborn Victims of Violence Acts recognizes that when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman, and injures or kills both her and her unborn child, he has claimed two human victims.(5) However, it’s okay for a mother to choose to terminate her baby, if she doesn’t intend on raising it or even attempting to find a family who would want to raise it in advance to it being born. When the fetus is first conceived, it doesn’t have as much value as a legit baby, as it is not conscious. The fetus’ full value is then determined by whether or not the mother wants to carry it to it’s full 9 month term. When a baby is actually born, their survival is completely based off of their mother- or an external force as well. (6) By actually giving birth, the baby gains more value, because at this time, they’re fully recognized as a human being, and they are given the ability to be aware of their own consciousness.
Abortion should not be seen as something that will enhance women’s rights, nor feminism, this is because it is not a solution to the continuing struggles women face in the workplace, at home and in society. There are two primary reasons a woman may have an abortion; because she is lacking financial resources, or she has a lack of emotional support.(7) In the United States alone, 33% of abortions are performed on women aged 20-14.(8) This shows how it’s more likely that unwanted pregnancies would be more common among women in university, and teenagers. Since younger women are more likely to not have financial aid or support(9) they may not be able to give their children decent lives and childhoods, resulting in the mother believing that it just isn’t the proper time for them to start a family and bring a new life into this planet.(10)
When a woman wants to give their baby a better life than what they could provide, there are a couple of options, the most socially accepted and spoke of which is putting the baby up for adoption. A second option- which is also a touchy subject and is often left out of education manuals, (11) and often seen as socially unacceptable, is abortion. When a mother has the first option, she has the ability to choose and a family for their baby. Adoption also gives the birth mother a sense of security and reassurance that the baby will be given the life that the mother couldn’t provide for it. Adoption can have problems though, most obvious is that the biological mother would have to carry the baby for 9 months, and go through all the physical and psychological impacts a pregnancy has. Undergoing an unwanted pregnancy is the second most common cause of death for girls aged 15-19 worldwide. (12) If a girl is this young, she shouldn’t have to feel obligated to carry a child inside her for 9 months, and risk herself dying because her body isn’t fully developed enough to carry another. All women who will carry a baby throughout the full term, and then give birth to it will develop a bond with the fetus that grew inside them, and this will develop maternal instincts. In a study by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, three-quarters of birth mothers still experienced feelings of loss 12 to 20 years after placing their newborns.(13) After a woman commits herself to the pregnancy, and develops her maternal bond, she may believe it’s immoral to not then continue to commit to the child and raise it. It’s hard and can be a burden for the mother, and she shouldn’t have to question her past self on if she did the correct thing, especially if she was a younger woman
In multiple countries, children who are unwanted at birth, or whose mothers are unable to take care of them, are not always able to be adopted, and will simply be sent to orphanages. there is already a surplus of children who are put up for adoption compared to children who are adopted per year. There is up to 50 million abortions per year, (14) so if these 50 million people had to carry out through their pregnancy, that’ll add 50 million more children per year who grow up in the system, or even just in an orphanage, with no real family.
When a woman decides to have the second option, which is having an abortion done, she’s just making a choice for herself and her future. In the United States, 1 in every 5 pregnancies end in abortion.(15) Having a baby is a major responsibility, and brings upon great lifestyle changes for the mother, and for all involved. When the baby is born, and during the 18 years of taking care of and raising it, the mother ends up revolving her life around the child. The mother has to start this process though months before she gives birth though. When a mother is pregnant, she has to give up numerus items, such as coffee, fish, and at times even her job. Women who are pregnant in high school or college, are more likely to drop out, or cancel all of their future plans, even if they did decide to give the baby up. The main thing is, younger girls who don’t have their future completely settled and planned out, shouldn’t be forced to have to carry a baby for 9 months, or be expected to keep it. By having the teenage mother keep it, she’s not only attempting to balance her own life out, but also the babies. Younger girls are typically physically and mentally unable to take care of one- they’re typically still going through puberty, and by allowing one to experiment with a pregnancy, is the same thing as toying with a babies life. When teenagers get Abortions, there is evidence that it does not elevate the risks of depression or low self esteem.(16) Teenage mothers typically end up not seeing their friends as often, and have to put their futures and life on hold, which could contribute to the mother being depressed, or anxiety ridden. (ancedote still)(17)
( However, According to guttmatcher, abortions can have an effect on infertility rates among women.) (18) “If a mother has an abortion performed at a young age simply due to the fact that she wasn’t stable or ready enough to have a kid yet, then there is research that shows that because of her having a previous abortion, she may be more likely to have a premature delivery. 40% of all women seeking care for complications either reported or have shown strong clinical evidence of prior attempted terminations. Nearly 17% of these women were in the second trimester of pregnancy and 42% of them experienced high serevity complications. (Hogue, c. glob.)”(19)
The concept of family planning, along with practicing birth controls, and performing abortions is as old as the concept of pregnancy. The first recorded evidence of an abortion came from the Ebers Papyrus, which is an Ancient Egyptian text containing multiple medical records, in 1550 BCE. In Egypt, they used herbal methods, which was taking a series of herbs to induce a miscarriage. (20) They would use the herb pennyroyal which is a mint like herb, and create a tea. Pennyroyal is incredibly toxic and if ingested can cause major liver and nervous system problems. (21) Abortions used to be incredbly dangerous.
Before Roe V Wade passed, abortions were not always legal, which resulted in them being performed in a non-medical circumstance. Due to the lack of proper medical resources and training, In 1965, 17% of any pregnancy related deaths were due to unsafe abortions.(22) Now, in a post Roe v. Wade society, less than 0.3% of all women, regardless of age, or stages of pregnancy would go through any complication or physical harm during abortions. The only time abortions would have any risk would be outside the first trimester.(23) (hammer down)In Texas and other states in particular they have inteionally made abortions more difficult, you’d need to use a souce, but you could mention that this sholdn’t be allowed to happen as it interferes with a woamn and disregards the reasons a woman would want an abortion.
In the 1973 court case Roe v. Wade, the supreme court decided in a 7-2 decision that having an abortion should recognized as a fundamental right for women. The court recognized that although there is no fundamental right to having an abortion within the constitution, there is a right to medical care found in the bill of rights 8th amendment. (24) that having an abortion performed should be recognized as a fundamental right, because of the great burden childbirth along with childbearing would give to the mother. The Court also claimed that the texas law violated the fundamental right of doctors being able to provide medical care.
Within the past decade, multiple Catholic and other countries with strong religious perspectives, have been starting to move past religious views, and more into secular and progressive views. Ireland is a country with high religious prosperity and views. However, before 2012, Ireland was one of the last Western-European Countries that still held strict anti-abortion laws.(25) They had an amendment which took away any rights of a mother having an abortion, unless the mother was in immediate danger and had a risk of losing her life. This Amendment made it nearly impossible for a woman to get an abortion, along with the government dealing out harsh consequences if a woman wanted to get an abortion, including jail time.
With countries such as Ireland having implemented strict abortion laws such as this, it prevented women to not be able to receive vital medical aid that they were in need of, because of the slightest chance that it could affect or endanger the life of the fetus. By Ireland moving towards secular beliefs, they were able to allow women to have the proper medical care they needed, along with multiple surgeries and being able to abort the baby in general.
‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.’ 26
The Dublin Declaration is a self proclaimed pro life activist group that formed in 2012 in Ireland after Ireland had repealed the 8th amendment.(27) Their beliefs are based off the Catholic moral premise known as the doctrine of double effect. They claim that killing a baby is not completely necessary when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger.(28) But they refuse to name or explain any other options that would save a woman’s when she is on her deathbed due to being pregnant. This lack of evidence makes this group entirely based in myth. Despite, the lack of evidence they have for their reasoning when a pregnant woman’s life is at stake, members of the Dublin Declaration do anything to make the pregnant woman feel nothing but guilt for being willing to choose to save her own life and not the babes and thus they try and convince the mother to choose to not perform possibily life saving surgeries and furthermore essentially sentencing a woman to death. In 2019, at one of Ireland’s Dublin Hospitals, somebody leaked medical information and personal information about patients who got abortions performed. A number then would contact them, and threaten them, and it was claimed that the number is leaked to a rogue abortion counselling service. They also created false counsiling sessions, for women who recently had an abortion to sign up for and talk to a psychologist. When the woman would sign up for it and come, they’d harass the women for having the abortion. (29)
the Dublin declaration is a huge influence upon 5 particular places in Latin America. In fact, within these 5 countries, their only reasoning nowadays for banning abortions rely on the Dublin declaration’s claim that “abortion isn’t the only method doctors could use to save somebody” (30)
President Sebastian Pinera of Chile, in 2012 claims “if the mother opts for a treatmenr that will save her life but not that of her child, we would not be facing a case of abortion. In the same way, if she decides to opt for the life of her child, while risking or sacrificing her own- a decision must be respected -she would not be commiting suicide” (31)
He suggests in this quote that the babies life is more honorable than the mothers,
There are two problems with this however, the first one is that they’re causing a guilt and undue burden onto the mother, for wanting to get help. The mother could’ve wanted to give birth to the baby or wanted to start a family, but if it comes to medical complications, the mother should have every right to choose themselves and their life over having a child and potentially dying. Mothers shouldn’t have to withhold care for their bodies in order to keep and preserve life for the fetus that they’re carrying. If the mother is unhealthy, or extremely sick, she should have a right to exterminate the baby if it will help her be well. If she doesn’t, and it doesn’t get better, she could either live and the baby could end up being born potentially damaged, or born with complications or problems, Or the mother could end up dying, along with the baby, (which will result in the mother’s friends and family missing her). Since the baby hasn’t been exposed to any external outside people or forces, nobody would miss it. If a mother is getting rid of a child only due to medical conditions, that’s probably a traumatic experience as it is. The Dublin Declaration has no right to make it even more traumatic for the mother.