PRO-LIFE vs PRO-CHOICE ---> ABORTION
So this is the first of two of these posts, I will be doing another on euthanasia as well at some point in the future.
Pregnancy can be a beautiful thing and without it, none of us would be here unless you're an alien and secretly reading my blog but for many of us i can be scary, unplanned and we can question whether or not we are ready or want to be a parent. Pro-life and Pro-Choice campaigns have been increasing in recent years and have split not only friends and families but also political parties, religions and the general population into many different factions. These range from extreme views such as no form of contraception or abortion as all life is life and has rights, to those who view the life of the mother as more important.
This is a very sensitive topic for many people and no doubt one that many have opinions on. As always I will try to be balanced in my main argument, representing both sides but will finish with my own opinion. I will say now I am Pro-Choice so writing the Pro-Life side was difficult for me especially with some of the arguments I found and trying to balance them with my Pro-Choice arguments was incredibly difficult. As always I am happy to hear peoples views, opinions, questions but please don’t try and change my mind or put my views down and I won’t do the same as I feel it is fair that everyone can be represented and express their views freely.
So I hope you enjoy this post and I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the poll at the end.
Reasons to be Pro-Life
The main point for the Pro-Life side of the argument is the view that a foetus is alive and shouldn’t be harmed. Since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder as it is the act of taking human life. Whether or not there is a heart, brain or lungs, all cells are living and will grow into a full human life and it is argued that this should not be allowed under any circumstances. Why should anyone determine what is or isn’t a valuable life? People argue about rape or incest and what happens in these cases, whether abortion should be allowed and again who gets to decide if that life is of value. An unborn child is not to blame for it’s creation so why punish the child for a crime someone else permitted. Many children born this way can be adopted by loving families or even be what helps the victim (the mother) deal with the trauma of being attacked, raped or harmed as they have received something beautiful from it.
Abortion can increase the risk of mental illnesses through stress, guilt and regret with many woman suffering what is referred to as ‘post-abortion syndrome’. Post abortion syndrome is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder and can include bought of depression, anxiety, regret, guilt and even suicidal thoughts. It can affect the way a woman lives the rest of her life and make her question relationships, further children, and even relationships with current children. With mental health becoming an increasing problem globally and abortion adding to the numbers of people needing support, surely stopping abortion to find safer routes such as adoption or parent support can reduce the need for mental health support and also the risk to post-abortion syndrome.
Another argument for Pro-life is many view that abortion is used as a form of contraception and this should not be allowed. There are other forms of contraception available before pregnancy that are a safer option and if someone does not decide to use these measures then they should be responsible for the child they have created. Whilst pro-choice argues that this will increase the number of dangerous or illegal abortions, does that mean we should allow abortions to remain legal just because some people will do it anyway, it is the same argument many have for legalising dangerous drugs and it is viewed that this shouldn’t be the case. Many people who originally consider abortions but keep their child are happy and bring up their children in a loving family environment.
Especially in America, religion plays a large part in the argument as to whether abortions should be illegal. Many religions have life as a fundamental value and this is then put forward as an argument for why we shouldn’t allow abortions. It is viewed that only one person should be allowed to determine the value of life and that is the “God” or in many cases “Gods” that people view as their creator. Religion plays a large part in many peoples lives, creating a strong path and a list of values by which to live by in order to live a happy life. If God creates a life then who has the right to take that life away, creating the view that abortion is murder. This view often extends to stopping contraception and for the only way to stop pregnancy is through abstaining and that sex is for a married couple who want to create a family so abortion would not be needed in that circumstance as only planned pregnancies would happen.
The final pro-life argument is that abortion can damage a woman physical health. It can double the chance of ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages or fertility in the future as well as leave complications or scarring if it goes wrong or there are issues with the process. If there is a late abortion, this can lead to further complications as possible surgery can be needed to remove the unborn child and this can be both traumatic of the mother and the unborn child depending what it’s development stage is. The main risks involved with abortions are; The main risks associated with an abortion are: infections of the woman which happen in 1-10 cases and can be treated easily with antibiotics but can be incredibly stressful for the woman, pregnancy remain or continued pregnancy which would require further abortion procedures such as surgery this can happen in 1/20-1/100 abortions. More dangerous risks can involve excessive bleeding, damage to the womb or entrance to the womb which can be distressing and cause serious illness if not treated properly or discovered in time, resulting in infertility, infection, anaemia and in some extreme cases death if too much blood is lost.
Whilst the Pro-life argument has some strong points, the Pro-Choice movement also have their share of reasons as to why abortion should remain legal and should be available safely on the NHS in the UK or via state care in the US.
Reasons to be Pro-Choice
One of the main pro-choice arguments is access to contraception, it’s availability and the effect stopping abortions and contraception would have on woman who do not wish to have a child. Access to contraception in the UK for people aged 16-25 is fairly open but can still be difficult to get hold of in small towns or villages or if you don’t fit within those age brackets, leaving many younger people without contraception or in fear of asking for it. In the US contraception providers are often in the same environment as abortion provides such as family planning clinics, or sexual health clinics and pro-life campaigners often verbally ‘attack’ anyone entering these buildings which can put off young people from accessing contraception as well as sexual health support thus increasing the need for STI support and Abortions as an outcome. Without contraception, the need for abortion will logically increase at exponential rates and that’s without taking into account that not all contraception is 100% effective and there can be times when they are not effective and cause issues such as depression, weight gain, allergic reactions or damage to the cervix for some of the internal forms of contraception which again can lead to a need for an abortion. In addition to the increase of abortions needed, making them illegal would cause a rise in unsafe abortions and with approximately 20 million unsafe abortions occurring annually across the globe, resulting in around 68,000 maternal deaths and 5 million women with serious health complications. Logically, allowing access to contraception and safe abortions will reduce risks that come with unsafe abortions, reducing future complications and funding needed to cover these issues but also protect the woman who find that an abortion is the only option.
Another pro-choice argument is the financial impact that a child can have and if someone is not ready to undertake such a financial burden then that can cause an increase in debt, social support needs and also will increase the amount of poverty in the country. Unplanned pregnancy is approximately five times higher in families living under the national poverty line, than those living at the highest income level. The cost of bringing up a child is more than £230,000 from birth to 21years old and for many families their income cannot accommodate these costs as well as the cost of living (rent, bills, health etc.) and food for themselves, leaving them in debt and unable to provide for their families efficiently.
Pro-life supporters are making empty promises to support young parents through pregnancy and parenthood or help you find adoptive parents for your child in order to stop you aborting but are ignoring the fact that worldwide there are over 14million orphaned children in the social system awaiting parents, as well as other children in children’s home and foster carer awaiting families to take them in as people often only want to adopt babies. This leaves a large number of children homeless, without care, families and neglected, not only increasing their distress and increasing risk of anti social behaviour, young offenders, young suicides but also increasing social services budgets globally in order to care for them. Allowing abortions will reduce the number of children entering the system either through abuse or neglect, reduce the mother and baby placements needed for young inexperienced parents and also allow those adopting to look into adopting older children who may need love and care.
As above I am going to put forward the argument relating to religion and government in relation to abortion but just ask this… should other peoples views and religions dictate politics, the law and also an women individual rights to her body and choices she makes in relation to her body. Many argue that because ‘God’ created life that he should be the only one to decide if that life should be taken away and when it should be taken away, but not everyone is religious or follows these views and religious freedom is a human right. One persons religious beliefs should have no authority over another persons individual actions or personal choices, they should certainly not be used to dictate the politics of a country, especially one which is diverse and has multiple cultures and views. Politics should also allow freedom of choice for people to do what they want with their body and choose their own path without dictating whether a woman should have a child or not.
The final pro-choice argument is that pregnancy should never be forced, mandatory and that body autonomy is a basic human right. Denying a woman rights to control her body, mind and actions is not only demeaning to women but also removing their human rights. There are boundless reasons as to why a woman may not be capable of carrying a foetus, should not carry a foetus, or simply does not want to carry a foetus.These reasons, whether it’s rape, incest, young pregnancy, illness or just not wanting a child, however, should not matter to anyone except for the woman. A woman is an autonomous being, and bodily autonomy is a basic human right. A foetus, which is biologically dependent on the mother for sustenance, has yet to acquire bodily autonomy as it cannot self-govern due to this dependence. A foetus is not it's own being until the day it is born. In addition to this many pregnancies are from underage or teenage sex and although teenage pregnancy has been gradually declining, it still exists in substantial numbers. In regards to mental, emotional, and physical/developmental health, children are not meant to have children of their own. Ideally, teenagers and children should be focussing on an education, an exploration of interests, and developing an understanding of responsibility. When pregnancy is introduced into the equation, the immature individual is forced to take on a mature role in life, stunting their own knowledge and growth which can be passed down onto future generations.
So thats my balanced argument but as I stated before I am Pro-choice. My reasons are similar to those above and as someone who has personally had an abortion after a pregnancy caused by abuse as a child, I am glad that I had that option. If at 13, I was made to continue in my pregnancy and have a child I honestly don’t know what I would have done. I did have another child just before my 14th Birthday, which was a still born and a million times more stressful than an abortion and another at 15 that was put up for adoption and again this was traumatising, embarrassing and incredibly difficult. I was severely bullied because people thought I was sleeping around and I was accused of cheating on my partner and I don’t know if I could have coped with that during my original pregnancy. Abortion for me should always be a woman choice, if you choose to continue a pregnancy for any reason, you want to be a mum, your religion says so, you want to give it up for adoption or you feel you are ready then that is also your choice but no one should be forced to continue, putting their mental and physical health in a compromise position for a foetus that cannot feel anything until 22-24 weeks old and definitely should not be forced by anyones political or religious views to put your own well-being at risk. I do however agree that abortion should not be used as an alternative to contraception and that if someone is repetitively seeking abortions, then they should be given more advice on sexual safety, contraception or other methods to reduce risk of pregnancy and there should be a 12 week limit on chosen abortions and 20-24 week limit on exceptional circumstances such as very young parents, risk of maternal life, rape, child abuse etc, but these should be at the discretion of the doctor and other authorities involved with these situations. Being a mother is the biggest responsibility and hardest job in the world and the only person who should be able to dictate whether or not a woman is ready is the woman herself and for young parents, the support of family but ultimately the young person themselves.
I hope this has given you a little more of an insight into my mind once again and I hope I have not offended anyone, it is never my intention just my opinion. Please feel free to take the poll below and leave your comments.