The issue of abortion or intentional termination of pregnancy has been a long debated topic leading to different social, biological and ethical conflicts. As the debate about the various implications of abortion gained momentum many states devised policies clearly mentioning the limits to which the act of abortion would be considered as legitimate and ethical.
The divide between the advocates and those criticizing the whole issue is strictly on religious and humanist grounds. Proponents of one school of thought argue that killing a human being is an act of murder and the person committing it must be punished and sentenced with criminal charges, on the other hand secularists base their case on the fact that since an individual has been provided with the liberty and freedom to decide his own right and wrong, then he or she must also be provided the independence for his or her own future.
During the course of this discussion we will be looking at some of the important aspects regarding the social, biological and legal implications concerning the legitimacy and illegitimacy of abortion.
Reasons for Abortion
Before moving on with other areas of the argument it is important to understand why people choose the option of aborting their very own progeny. These reasons do not only encompass unwanted births or illegitimate babies, but covers a broad spectrum of financial as well as other social reasons due to which a person is coerced to take such an option.
According to statistics conducted by various agencies it has been concluded that over 6 million women in the United States get pregnant on annual basis, out of which over 1.2 million women undergo abortion in order to terminate their pregnancy. (Mascle, 2010)
Some of the most common causes for abortion as termed by medical practitioners and genetic counselors include the failure of birth control of contraceptives. It has been estimated that over half of women who get pregnant use contraceptive method before going for an abortion.
Second most important reason regarded by doctors for abortion is financial constraints through which a couple mutually decides to abort the child as they would not be able to fulfill all its necessities and requirements that are mandatory for its growth and development. In most of the circumstances the option of abortion is also accepted by parents if they are informed that the child at the onset of his birth or in later of his years of his life develop a dangerous and incurable disease. In order to prevent the occurrence of any such situation most of them prioritize on not having a child rather than having a child with physical or mental disabilities.
Despite its prominence and highly confrontational nature a reason for abortion also includes conceiving a child as a result of rape or incest activities. Even though these reasons actually manifest the long eroded social norms and values that govern the stability of a society. Last but not the least abortions are also conducted in cases when the birth of a child intends to threaten the physical or mental health of the mother.
All this information is earlier provided to the couple after the conduction of chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis and periodic pre-natal scanning schedules. It is therefore important to consult appropriate genetic counselors before deciding to undergo or not to go abortion in order to prevent a feeling of guilt and brutality that one often suffers from after conducting such an exercise. (Finer, Lindsay and Singh, 2005)
As mentioned earlier the debate between humanists and religious scholars regarding the legitimacy of abortion has been going for a long time. Many religious advocates look down abortion as an act of brutality and grotesque in which the life of an innocent is put to an end. They also hold the view that since God has already scripted the food and clothing of every child arriving in the world in his or her destiny, it is pointless arguing whether parents would be or would not be able to fulfill their needs and requirements. (Chisholm, 2009)
They happily speculate and assume that it would not be difficult for the family to sustain one, two, three or more children despite of their limited economic resources. But a key question that arises here is about the future of children who are born as a result of rape and other immoral acts of sexuality such as incest. If a woman is raped and gets pregnant shouldn’t she have the right to abort the fetus? Why should she carry extra baggage that she never wanted to have? In response to this anti-abortion campaigners raise a counter question that what is the fault of the child in such a case? Why is the child being punished for something in which it had no involvement? But in such a case it sounds more rational and appropriate to prioritize the life of someone already living rather than someone who has yet to arrive. (Mascle, 2010)
Advocates of abortion also say that pregnancy can be terminated if it poses a threat to the health of mother. In such a situation the option of aborting the child sounds much more practical as circumstances which put the life of mother at stake can simultaneously threaten the health of the child also, hence in case of such complications a couple usually decides to abort the child. It is also important to mention here that abortions beget an increase in death is merely a fallacy.
For instance if abortions are declared as illegal in the United States what would happen? Women would move to other places or even countries to get their pregnancy terminated which is extremely hazardous for both the mother and the child from a biological perspective, therefore in such cases there is likely probability and convenient for the woman to go for an abortion. It is important to understand that a woman is a carrier of an entire generation and risking her life through such restrictions is neither tolerable nor legal. (Anael, 2011)
The legality of abortion can be accommodated through two prominent reasons, firstly they being themselves more responsible about the decisions about their own reproductive system and second providing them the autonomy and authority to exercise their right of having babies according to their own convenience, completely exclusive from all kinds of government or so called religious policies. (Head, 2010)
Dealing with the flip side of the issue there is no doubt about the fact that irrespective of the reasons for which an act of abortion is conducted, it is in reality an act of murder of a lifeless thing, hence a practice which increases the percentage of such murders in the society must be condemned and discouraged rather than motivating it on the name of human freedom and liberty.
In addition to this there are also other allied reasons which expose the grotesque nature of abortion. The first and foremost being the adverse health implications that develops upon the mother’s health after going through such medical procedures. In times when the cost of good healthcare is constantly surging self-induced medical complications must be prevented. (Sue, 2007)
When a woman begins to realize that abortion is indeed a form of murder she will be in a much stable position to take better decisions regarding her child’s as well as her health. Due to the murderous nature of abortion it is an act that ultimately expresses itself in the form of guilt and mistake which are very difficult to conceal.
These effects of guilt further demonstrate itself in the form of other complications that are eventually experienced in a woman’s health. By simply eliminating the existence of abortion, the development and emergence of these future complications can easily be averted.
Another important reason due to which the concept of abortion has become a subject of immense heated debate especially in religious and conservative circles is that abortion is classified as the rejection of a human being that has come into formation by the consent of both man and woman and through the birth of which the relationship between them is supposed to strengthen further. In such a case abortion is considered as a violation of the divine commandments of God by showing ungratefulness to something that has been bestowed by Him in the first place. (Christia Net, 2011)
Finding a Middle Ground
Between the heated debate of the staunch religious clerics and the secular liberals there exists a diplomatic solution that need to be devised from the looming gravity of this social, psychological and biological enormity.
The solution which has been discussed at various scientific platforms and has been accentuated on a different number of abortion related arguments is upon the significance of genetic counseling and training for parents and processes through which the genetic and biological information about the conceived child can be verified before his or her birth.
Many such processes have been devised and are widely used today out of which the use of CVS or Chorionic Villus Sampling and Amniocentesis are among the most important and prominent. (Marge, 1997)
With the help of these technologies during the different years of the gestation phase the entire karyotype of the child can be obtained along with the presence of any physical or mental deformities that may emerge within the child either at the time of birth or in any other stage of his life.
When such technologies are available it has become evident that parents have a large range of choices at their disposal through which they can decide whether they can afford to have a child that is scientifically speculated to suffer from mental or physical disorders at any stage of his life or do they want to abort it.
Even though it has been said by God that the sustenance and nutrition of each person is His responsibility, but that does not imply a surge in population just because everything by God is already destined.
These facilities that are now available to people have helped in providing them a better acquaintance regarding the process of genetic counseling through which parents are thoroughly familiarized regarding the pros and cons regarding their child birth and the resultant repercussions that may emerge in their health after the birth of their child.
Hence all these solutions have made it rather a personal choice as far as a process like abortion is concerned. (Irving, 1985)