Should Abortion be Legalized? Research Paper Example

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Harvey Mudd College
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Research paper
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Over the years, abortion has been a controversial issue in many societies across the world. Each society has tried to enact laws to criminalize or allow abortion depending on values of that particular society. Studies have shown that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those that do not allow the practice (Rosenthal). However, criminalization of the practice often leads to unsafe abortion. Research findings indicate that unsafe abortion accounts for 14.5 per cent of maternal deaths every year (Shahbazi 1247; Faundes & Shah 56).Others experience psychological and physical outcomes that negatively affect women for the rest of their lives. Evidently, abortion involves loss of lives and suffering and, thus, should not be legalized.

As indicated in the previous paragraph, abortion entails killing of an unborn child. Those who favor abortion contend that life starts at birth and the fact that fetuss contribution to society is an unknown (Rosenthal), it should not regarded as important organism. Contrary to this argument, scientific studies indicate that life actually begins at conception and any attempt to terminate fetus amounts to killing. After fertilization, the embryo develops into a complex organism that has various parts which coordinate with each other to promote life (Condic 1-4).As Huth puts it, preborn children may be dependent on their mothers, but this does not mean they are part of the fetuses. This is because preborn children have their own bone structure, blood type, and genetic code. As such they should be considered as isolated beings. Although pro-abortion groups argue that the benefits of a fetus cannot be identified (Rosenthal), but these groups fail to recognize that every being has its humble beginnings.

Procuring an abortion whether due to medical or personal reasons can result in psychological physical, social side effects (Pourreza and Batebi 31).These effects come as a consequence of the body changes that may hinder the affected women from becoming pregnant again(Ladock).Extensive research has been done to support these claims. One such study that focused 278 reproductive women between the ages of 15-49 found that, after procuring abortion, at least one-third of the mentioned number experienced side effects such as depression, guilt, apprehension on the possibility of another conception, nightmares, and loss of self-esteem (Pourreza and Batebi 31-32).These side effects may hinder the affected women from living a normal life. On the flip side, these effects would be avoided if women allowed the fetuses to develop till birth.

Women have a number of options including keeping the child until birth. Whereas little contestation exists on abortion done on strong medical grounds, studies show that complications due to abortion from rape and medical treatment account for a paltry 7 per cent of complications while 93% are attributed to personal and social issues(Ladock).Those that do on personal and issues can be prevented through criminalization. If a woman feels they might not be able to raise a child, for instance, due to financial reasons, they can preserve the pregnancy later release the child for adoption.

Instead of legalizing abortion, methods that reduce chances of pregnancy should be popularized among women and teenage girls. Sex education for teenagers and use of contraceptives among women can be effective tools for preventing unwanted pregnancies. As studies have indicated, the law does not influence a womans decision to abort. That is, if they want the pregnancy terminated, it may not matter whether the law restricts or allows them to do so. Women will procure an abortion in restrictive circumstances anyway (Rosenthal; Huth).In the view of Hyams and Rosenthal, sex education and sensitization on the use of contraceptives are the most effective of way of fighting unwanted pregnancies (61-62).

Another potential effect of legalization is that women would take advantage of the legal situation to procure abortion at will. Such occurrences may trigger many social and psychological problems in women and society as a whole (Pourreza and Batebi 31-33).For example, legalization of abortion is more likely to lead to wanton procurement of abortion. This effect may be reflected in many women suffering from reproductive tract damage, bleeding, infection, and permanent sterility (Huth).

Despite the strength of anti-abortion arguments, there are incidents in life that may require abortion to be carried out. Prenatal tests may reveal that the preborn child has deformities that are irreversible after birth (Huth).Such occurrences are likely to cause trauma to women in jurisdictions where laws are restrictive. For example, in 2012, a young Indian woman who underwent prenatal tests and these tests revealed that the preborn child was suffering from anencephaly failed to procure abortion due to restrictive laws. After birth, the child died after a few hours (Chaudhuri 1). In these circumstances, abortion would have saved the mother the pain and trauma of carrying a pregnancy of an extensively deformed fetus.

If the life of the mother is in danger as a result of the pregnancy, it may require an abortion to be carried to avert the death of the mother. Abnormal implantations are some of the pregnancies that may cause death to mothers (Huth).From a philosophical perspective, carrying out an abortion brings less harm to society than the death of a mother as the contribution of the preborn child to the well-being of society cannot be ascertained. As such, the life of the mother should be given priority in these circumstances (Rosenthal).

Legalization of abortion has the potential to reduce maternal deaths. Almost all deaths that occur from abortions result from unsafe abortion. Due to legal restrictions, women seek abortion services from unskilled people, a move that increases chances of fatality (Rosenthal; Faundes & Shah 56).As evidence suggests, in countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion is practiced and deaths from this medical practice are significantly low(Pourreza and Batebi 31-32; Shahbazi 1247; Faundes & Shah 56).

In conclusion, abortion should not be legalized due to the harm it inflicts on women and disruption it brings to the lives of preborn children. This position has been substantiated by researchers who find that illegality or legality of abortion does not influence the decisions of women to procure an abortion. For this reason, an approach that focuses on sex education can be more effective in encouraging women to adopt safer methods of birth control.


Works Cited

Condic, Maureen. A Scientific View on When Life Begins. Charlotte Loizier Institute, 2014.

Chaudhuri, M. "Death of Baby with Anencephaly After Mother Was Refused an Abortion Sparks Controversy in India." BMJ 345.nov01 2 (2012): e7320-e7320. Web.

Faundes, Anibal, and Iqbal H. Shah. "Evidence supporting broader access to safe legal abortion." International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, vol. 131, 2015, pp. S56-S59.

Huth, Braden. "Should Abortion Be Legal?" N.p., 2017. Web. 9 July 2017.

Hyams, Anne. "Legalizing Abortion Does Not Reduce Serious Medical Consequences." Tropical Doctor 34.1 (2013): 62-62. Web.

Ladock, Jason. "Pros and Cons of Abortion." N.p., 2017. Web. 9 July 2017.

Pourreza, Abolghasem, and Aziz Batebi. "Psychological Consequences of Abortion among the Post Abortion Care Seeking Women in Tehran." Iran Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 6, no. 1, 2011, pp. 31-36.

Rosenthal, Elisabeth. "Legal or Not, Abortion Rates Compare." The New York Times, [New York], 2007.

Shahbazi, Shirin. "The consequences of unsafe abortion: a qualitative study." Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 68, no. 6, 2012, pp. 1247-1255.


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