Friday, October 14, 2011

Abortion--for and against arguments

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ABORTION LEGAL AND ILLEGAL


The most important part of reproductive rights is the principle that a woman has the right to decide whether and when to have a child. Religious beliefs, politics, incident of pregnancy, support, economy, long term consequences, such as regrets and depression, being able to take responsibility, and health issues are major factors that must be taken in consideration before resulting to abortion. To eat, survive and reproduce are primary needs for every human being. Modern society is for several reasons a non-child-friendly society. In many cases there is no time for the parent(s) to take care of the new born child as in countries such as the U.K. and the USA, parent(s) do not have sick leave to stay home with their newborn.


Governments are bound to respect this basic human right by ensuring that women have access to the full range of quality reproductive health services, including abortion. 6% of the world’s people live in the 64 countries where induced abortion is permitted for a wide range of reasons or without restriction as to the reason. For the remaining 8% of the world’s population, abortion may be prohibited altogether or permitted only to protect a woman’s life or health. Though throughout the last 0 years there has been seen a clear trend toward the removal of legal barriers to abortion access, the right to choose abortion still remains unavailable or under threat in many parts of the world.


In 155, the anthropologist George Devereux demonstrated that abortion has been practiced in almost all human communities from the earliest times. Women faced with unwanted pregnancies have turned to abortion, regardless of religious or legal sanction and often at considerable risk. Even Hippocrates, the famous philosopher, spoke against abortion because he feared injury to the woman, recommended it on occasion by prescribing violent exercises. 1


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In primitive tribal societies, abortions were induced by using poisonous herbs, sharp sticks, or by sheer pressure on the abdomen until vaginal bleeding occurred. Abortion techniques are described in the oldest known medical texts. 1 The ancient Chinese and Egyptians had their methods and recipes to cause abortion, and Greek and Roman civilizations considered abortion an integral part of maintaining a stable population. Ancient instruments, such as the ones found in Pompeii and Herculaneum, were much like modern surgical instruments. The Greeks and Romans also had various poisons administered in the various ways, including through tampons.


Even after criminalization of abortion, women continued to have abortions in roughly the same proportions. Abortion simply went underground, and became clandestine and therefore a much more dangerous operation for the women to undergo.


Attitudes toward sexuality and procreation were changing in the twentieth century, which was contributing to the legalization of abortion. Reduced influence of religious institutions was also a related factor. In some countries rubella epidemics and thalidomide created awareness of the need for legal abortion, and in other countries there was concern about population growth. The major reason for legalization was that women were being injured or dying from unnecessarily dangerous illegal abortions.


Regardless of the law, abortions are carried out in every country in the world today. Worldwide, it is estimated that 50 million abortions occur each year, where more than 1/ are illegal abortions occurring mainly in developing countries. Clandestine and illegal abortions in countries such as Muslim Asia, Latin America and Africa, where abortion remains prohibited or restricted, remain a serious health problem. A major problem in countries where abortion is illegal is maternal deaths. The estimate number of women who die from clandestine abortion ranges from less than 100,000 to as many as 00,000 women a year, and for every women who dies from an illegal abortion, many more suffer serious, and often lifelong, health problems such as hemorrhaging, infection, abdominal or intestinal perforations, kidney failure and infertility.


Most abortions are carried out within 1 weeks of the pregnancy. In extreme cases they can be carried out up to week 4 if it is life threatening for the mother, or if any genetic mistakes have been spotted, but you would have to give birth to the baby. Though nowadays, with help of technology, premature babies can be saved from week , so this creates a problem if you want to carry out abortion this late.


A new contraceptive, which is also a form of abortion that has been created, is the Morning After Pill. This pill is to be taken within 7 hours after sexual intercourse, preferably within 6 hours. With this pill available for many, it is impossible to calculate how many abortions take place each year.


Population growth or decline compares replacement of the current number of reproductive age individuals with the number of babies being born. By this measure, the United States is now in a sharp population decline. One recent projection of the population had predicted that around the year 000, half of the population will be over 50 and a third will be over 65. If this continues, the impact upon society will be tremendous. One problem that we already have is that we cannot feed the population we already have today, and everyday more and more die from starvation; this is especially a problem in developing countries such as Africa.


Many organizations that are anti-abortion, recommend giving birth to the baby, and eventually giving it up for adoption, as so many people are trying to have babies, but for some reason cannot. Anti-abortion organizations are against abortion for the obvious reason, that they believe abortion is equivalent to murder, as the embryo is alive, defining alive as that this being is growing, developing, maturing, and replacing its own dying cells. During embryonic development, the heart is one of the few organs that must function almost as soon as it is formed. The human heart begins to beat and pump blood through the embryo around day of gestation, which is one of the reasons abortion is concidered murder by many people.


One might argue that in a case where rape is involved, that abortion should be the answer (the chance of getting pregnant after rape is 1 or out of 1000), but these anti-abortion organizations ask questions such as; will she be able to live comfortably with the memory that she killed her developing baby? Or would she ultimately be more mature and more at peace with herself if she could remember that, even though she became pregnant unwillingly, she nevertheless solved her problem by being unselfish, by giving of herself and of her love to an innocent baby, who had not asked to be created, to deliver, perhaps to place for adoption, if she decides that is what is best for her baby. Compare this memory with the woman who can only look back and say, I killed my baby. Anti-abortion organizations seem to play a manipulative role on the insecurity of women, also giving them a guilt trip, as they are convincing them that they are killing a human being, yet telling these women that they have the right to choose.


Though many may view abortion as murdering innocent children, a woman should have the right to decide whether and when to have a child. As mentioned before, there are several issues to be taken into consideration. Abortion has existed since the beginning of time, and there is no reason why it should suddenly decrease. By keeping abortion illegal, one creates a major conflict for women’s health, whereas legalizing it would reduce numbers of maternal deaths, and decrease dangerous diseases and infections illegal abortions cause. Legal abortions would also reduce infertility, so that these women can have another chance to become pregnant in the future.


. H.P. David, “Abortion Policies”, in Abortion and Sterilization Medical and Social Aspects, J.E. Hodgson, ed., Grune and Stratton, New York, 181, pp.1-40.


. Ibid, p.8.





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