The pros and cons of abortion are many and varied, and no sooner do you mention the word abortion, you stir up a hornet’s nest of opinions and dearly held beliefs.
The issue of abortion is appropriated to political agendas that range from extreme pro-lifers to those extremely in favor of pro-choice.
Without letting emotion and political and personal beliefs cloud the issue, let us take a look at the medical impact of abortion and pros and cons of abortion on health.
Consider the following issues relating to abortion to help make an informed decision.
When does life start? There is one view that states life begins at conception, another that says life begins when the fetal heart starts to beat (at about three weeks after conception).
Then there is a third view that says that life can be said to start when an individual starts to exist outside of the host mother; a viable fetus would have to be of a gestation age that lets it function outside of its mother’s womb, before which it cannot be considered to be a person with ‘rights’.
The right to life is one of the often cited pros and cons of abortion, since a fetus is usually aborted in the first trimester of a pregnancy and unable to exist on its own.
What is the impact of abortion on the health of a woman? Proponents of abortion argue that abortion is safer than ever before and in fact that abortion is safer than actual childbirth.
At least one study has shown that having an abortion is safer than carrying a pregnancy to term. Also for many women, preexisting conditions can make a pregnancy dangerous.
However, there can be complications as a result of abortion which women would do well to remember – having an abortion can raise the risk of having a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy later; it can also raise risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.
What about the impact of abortion on a woman’s mental health and psyche? While it is true that abortion can result in feelings of pain, guilt, regret and distress for a woman, the consequences of carrying a pregnancy to term also have to be considered.
Many argue that adoption is not an alternative to abortion, since a majority of women are unable or unwilling to give up their child for adoption. Whether a woman has the financial and other wherewithal to bring up a child and the child’s future has to be considered, when looking at the pros and cons of abortion.
What also has to be considered is that women who are considering abortion after being a victim of traumatic occurrences such as rape or incest will have to be reminded of their trauma in the shape of a child if they do carry their pregnancy to term.
So clearly the pros and cons of abortion with regard to a woman’s health are many and varied. The argument that a woman has the right to control what happens to and within her own body is a valid one and no one has the right to force a woman to undergo pregnancy and childbirth that she neither wants nor is in her best interest.