Abortion- An Ethical Dilemma
When it comes to fighting wars and protecting one’s homeland, honor and freedom, ending human life becomes the only option and it is morally accepted by the oppressed. Despite some gray areas in the moral debate, majority of the international world usually supports the oppressed through physical equipment, food and supplies, and most importantly, approval and emotional support. When it comes to starting life, the global population sees it as a blessed advancement to human race. However, this point of view has considerably changed over time and the issue of starting a new life has become a moral gray area in much-heated debates. Aborting a fetus is a hot debate topic that raises moral, emotional and practical questions. Abortion is not only a moral crime; it should not be legalized in the United States of America because it is harmful to women and society as a whole in many ways.
First and most importantly, a human life is precious and should not be thrown away even before birth. Before even debating whether abortion is right or wrong, one needs to look at what is being aborted - a fetus. The opponents argue that aborting a fetus is better than having an unwanted child who is neglected and raised without parents (Thomson, 1971). However, instead of seeing abortion as the answer to solving the problem of neglected orphans, people, especially leaders in charge of changing and implementing legal policies, need to work together to find effective alternatives to take care of those children. Every child born has the potential to become a strong and contributing asset to society and it is wrong to not even give him or her that chance, simply basing one’s reason on the two words: “what if?” Furthermore, opponents cite that all human lives are not equal and there are those which are clearly accidental and unwanted. However, this is not only an ignorant and morally defiant claim, it is false. It is not far-fetched to believe that children born from rape tragedies can grow up into healthy and intellectual adults who are able to contribute greatly and successfully to society (Prolife, 2011).
Secondly, the continuous abortion debate gets further complicated because the status of the fetus as a living thing comes under question. The opposing parties claim that it is not clear as to when life actually begins. They claim that according to scientific researches, any fetus before 24 weeks does not feel pain and it is, therefore, not a real living thing. However, putting a number on the expiration date is unacceptable and invalid. The fact is that a fetus, regardless of how old it is, holds the ability and potential to feel pain in the near future. Furthermore, scientific data is subject to change in accordance with advancing research. For instance, in 1990, the United Kingdom moved the time from 28 weeks to 24 weeks after uncovering new data (Borland and Clout, 2007). Ann Winterton, the MP for Congleton in Cheshire, stated that the limit should be cut to 18 weeks and that “Babies are viable at less than 24 weeks and there is no reason for them to be killed when there is doubt that they are sentient human beings” (Borland and Clout, 2007).
This example should be followed in the United States as well, and more focus should be placed on research, including collaboration with foreign nations in order to prevent this immoral stance. Even today, the 24 weeks mark is not etched in stone and it might change tomorrow under the light of a stronger research. President Ronald Reagan summed it up wisely in September 1980: “I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born” (Prolife, 2011).
Those in favor of abortions falsely believe that by labeling an unborn child a ‘fetus’ they can emotionally detach themselves or undermine its life value. However, the reality, visible all around the globe, in every pregnant woman’s home is that when a pregnant woman refers to her unborn child, she does not use the word ‘fetus.’ The unborn child immediately becomes a ‘baby’ from the time conception is realized. Mislabeling an unborn child is undermining life’s value and suppressing his or her potential. It is also a technique used by those who are looking for an excuse to make abortion morally acceptable. These men and women throw around the word ‘fetus’ in order to lessen their guilt for killing a human child (SECASA, 2011).
Thirdly, the majority of abortions are carried out because a woman simply does not want to be burdened by a child. They continuously shun their duties to the unborn fetus and further neglect the responsibility bestowed on them by nature and God: to increase human advancement. Another social reason for abortion is the desire for a male child. Even though killing female fetuses was common in some uneducated parts of the world, it has become common in America whose heritage is still strong enough to continue backwards cultural practices. According to a world-wide ethical report, conducted by BBC World News, “For sociological and economic reasons parents in some cultures prefer to have boy babies. When parents can discover the gender of the fetus in advance, they sometimes request the termination of a pregnancy solely because the fetus is female” (2012). Those opposing the abortion ban argue that women choose to abort not because they want to be free but because abortion is a safe alternative to complicated life situations. This argument is not only vague; it weakens the female sex and encourages them to become shallow and materialistic creatures. In 2004, 93% of women in the USA admitted they had abortions because of life style issues which included but were not limited to career advancements, financial issues, and social class complex (L.B. Finer et al, 2005).
Moreover, abortion is used as a means of contraceptives which has become the main reason for its widened use. The opposing parties deny the statistics, claiming that if abortion is legalized, it would remain an absolute last option for dire, life threatening situations (Lifesite, 2008). However, statistics point in the other direction already. As it is now, most women do not use abortion as a last resort and continue to use it to get rid of unwanted pregnancies. If legalized, abortion frequencies would increase substantially. One of the examples is Mexico. The following year after the legalization of abortions, the number of abortions increased, proving that the legalization not only led to heightened irresponsible sexual activities but also to abortion being used as frequent birth control means. The energy and resources used in trying to legalize abortions should be used to provide high quality contraceptive education and free contraceptives for the public. People fail to realize that by providing easy access to abortion, we are teaching the younger generations to embed careless attitudes, especially when it comes to being sexually active and most importantly, when it comes to staying physically healthy. More thought should be given to the question: what if abortions were not an option ever? In fact, people would be less careless and more responsible about using other birth control methods. (Lifesite, 2008).
Furthermore, abortions not only affect women negatively, but they also have a strong influence on the financial situation of a country. Legalized abortions would mean more money sucked through taxes. It is unfair to see people hard worked tax dollars go to immoral activities like abortions through government funded centers like Planned Parenthood and Healthcare for the Homeless. Moreover, doctors who perform abortions are not only taking unfair advantage of people’s tax dollars but are also dishonoring the Hippocratic Oath which clearly states, “First, do no harm.” Even though every doctor has his or her own opinion regarding treatments for common illnesses, they do not have the authority to decide which life to take and which to keep. In fact, when carrying out abortions, doctors are killing human beings and are serving no other medical or higher purpose than simply violating their oath (Balanced Politics, 2012).
Next, those who undergo abortion procedures suffer post traumatic stress disorder along with physical complications. The notion that it is a woman’s body and she has every right to do whatever she wants with it is far-fetched and needs to be placed into limits. If a woman chooses to cut her wrists, practice self mutilation, diet to dangerous lengths or undergo plastic surgery just to look better despite the numerous risks, members of society around her need to stop her because becoming bystanders is breaking the law and goes against the better interests of society. People have an obligation to educate their community’s daughters, sisters, mothers and all young girls. If society starts letting every young girl make critical decisions for herself, without guidance or support, it is sending the message that we do not care what you do as long as you want to do it. Every person, man or woman, is continuously going through a learning process in life which is not restricted to the classroom. Instead of providing free abortion clinics at every corner, society leaders need to come together and spend the same amount of energy and resources educating women about the dangers of abortion. Clearly, the right to protect a fetus and human life as whole takes precedent over a woman’s personal, often self-motivated choice (McMahon, 1993).
In addition, there are both mental and physical consequences to abortions. Most women might not feel any emotions or guilt at the time of the procedure; however, surveying these women proves that the guilt builds up over time and affects various aspects of their lives, including their behaviors regarding their other children, their careers and their marital relationships. Moreover, men or fathers continue to be neglected in this debate. Men also suffer psychological damage which continues to affect their future decisions and life events. Women’s physical risks, faced because of abortions, include infertility, severe bleeding, vomiting, nausea, vaginal infections and even death (McMahon, 1993).
Continuing on, financial stability and simply not wanting a child in one’s life is not an excuse for killing him or her before they even come into this world. There are many alternatives today with numerous international organizations working diligently at supporting and caring for unwanted children. We are in the United States where there are many privately funded and government based programs for unwanted children. There is absolutely no excuse of aborting such children in the light of these resources. Furthermore, a great option is to give up the baby for adoption as there are an increasing number of couples who cannot have a child of their own and are forced to stay on waiting lists of adoption agencies. By the time their turn comes, it might be too late for them because of age or other life situations. Giving up a child for adoption is not the same thing as killing him or her. Those in favor of abortions state, “Giving up a child for adoption can be just as emotionally damaging as having an abortion” (Thomson, 1971). However, this is not the same thing because when a child is given for adoption, there is reassurance that his or her needs will be met. Simply murdering the child is not the solution for one’s own financial, social or maturity deficiencies (Belluck, 2013).
There are cases in which abortions can and should be allowed. These are the cases of dire need and safety. During any pregnancy, doctors encourage the safety of both mother and child; however, when the time comes in which a choice must be made, the mother’s life is preferred. Abortion should be also allowed in the rape cases, but not encouraged. There is no doubt that rape is a traumatic tragedy and a woman should not be forced against her will to live with the stigma and the child who will constantly remind her of what took place. Even though abortion should be an option during such cases, the woman should be provided counseling and encouraged to take the nobler step, which would be to keep the child. This is because the child is not at fault for being conceived under such circumstances and, in fact, many women who get pregnant after rape decided to raise the children and have done so successfully. Moreover, the percentage of women getting pregnant after rape is rare and accounts for only 1% as of 2004. This means that abortion should not be legalized simply for the reason of rape emergencies (SECASA).
However, this should not be an excuse for unlimited abortion clinics all over the country. In fact, there is a need for concise and fair laws that would make emergency abortion legal. Yes, there will be those who will break the law and proceed to engage in ‘back-alley’ abortion procedures. However, this does not mean that all laws should be changed. In fact, many crimes, including murder, theft and kidnappings cases take place despite the strict punishments. Unfortunately, laws` breaking is a part of human nature and there will always be a group struggling to understand the wisdom behind these laws. Making laws more liberal or legalizing immoral things do not make them more moral or acceptable. Underground and back-alley abortions would still be able to be controlled with proper law enforcement and resources (Hawkins and Morris, 1970).
All in all, abortion should not be morally acceptable or legalized for many reasons. Even thinking about aborting a fetus is discriminatory against all life and no man or woman should have the power to hold some human lives on a pedestal while getting rid of others. The value of an individual life varies from person to person as everyone has his or her own moral standards. However, there are certain moral standards which are universal and are shared by the international community and should be shared for the greater good. Moreover, those who argue that we cannot be sure if fetuses should live or not must be encouraged to contemplate on the fact that getting an abortion procedure carried out is equally ambiguous and one cannot be 100% sure whether it is painful for the fetus or not.
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