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There are two sides to every story, and there is no exception for the matter of abortion. Pro-choice and pro-life advocates have had debates and arguments for decades, with no concrete answers to the questions both sides have been asking. During the entire verbal dispute, in very few arguments have there been any points about the future of the woman and child.
One of the fundamental debates that pro-choice and pro-life advocates have is: when does life begin? This question has been debated for as long as the controversy over abortion started. From a pro-life perspective, life begins at conception, and therefore the embryo is considered an unborn child. Since the unborn child is considered human in every meaning of the word, it naturally has all of the same rights as a child that has been born. “No civilized society permits one human to intentionally harm or take the life of another human without punishment, and abortion is no different.”. Scientifically speaking, personhood does not begin at conception like all pro-life arguments state. If a fetus is removed from the womb before 24 weeks it will most likely die because there is a 39% survival rate. If the fetus cannot survive outside of the mother’s womb, is it really alive? Is it really a person? On the flipside, abortions can occur when the baby can survive outside of the womb. This is most commonly done in Canada, England, Wales, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, and the United States. If pro-choice arguments say that babies are not aborted when they can survive on their own, yet in many countries this still occurs, where is the moral line, and how many people tiptoe along it before they cross? When a baby is being aborted even though it may be able to survive outside the mother’s body, why is human rights not considered then? The pro-life perspective cannot logically hold because when considering life at conception, an embryo cannot survive outside of the mother’s womb, therefore it is a part of her body. Several pro-life arguments state that many abortions occur in the second and third trimester, and while this is true, most doctors do not perform abortions after 20 weeks, and if they do, it is only under exceptional circumstances – such as the mother being in serious risk of death. Also, compared to the number of abortions performed before 20 weeks, the late abortion rate is greatly overshadowed. In conclusion, from a scientific perspective, life may biologically begin at conception, but being an individual with rights does not. This is something that pro-life arguments need to consider from a logical point of view.
Pro-life activists argue that not having an abortion can unexpectedly turn into a blessing, without considering that an enormous portion of abortions are performed for teenage girls. Girls who withdraw from school are more likely to drop out from becoming a parent early than for any other reason. Most of these girls never graduate high school, let alone earn a college degree by the time they are thirty years old. While these young girls are struggling to finish some semblance of a high school or post secondary education, 8 out of 10 teen dads do not marry the mother of their child. “Nearly 80% of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare.”. This shows that teenage girls who do not have abortions would have to find support from within their circle of family and friends, and if that is not forthcoming, they would have to find a way to support the child, either by getting the father to help, or using welfare. The problem with welfare is that once a single teenage mother gets on welfare, for approximately the next five years she will rely on welfare as a source of primary income. Life may be sacred, but it is also filled with hardships that many women – young or old – may not be ready to face. Motherhood is one of them. Abortion, while not the ideal option, will provide many young women a better chance for the future. Pro-life arguments do not consider the emotional consequences of a young woman keeping a child that she is not financially or mentally capable of providing for.
Fundamentally, the ethical standing behind pro-choice does not move beyond the initial parameters presented, which should involve the long term emotional and psychological effects of abortion. Many pro-choice abortion organizations say that there are no lasting mental effects of abortion, and if the woman drifted into depression, then she most likely had the disorder before the abortion. The true facts are the complete opposite of what websites and organizations present. Post-abortion, many women need psychological treatment. “A study of the medical records of 56,741 California Medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery.” In fact there are many risk factors that can lead to a severe mental reaction post-abortion. These risk factors range from being an adolescent, to having a non-elective abortion, to exposure to antiabortion picketing or a lack of social support from others. Having an abortion can also cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or, as professionals name this particular type, Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS). “The lowest incidence rate of PTSD reported following abortion is 1.5%, which would translate to over 600,000 cases of abortion induced PTSD.” Pushing further into the realm of psychological effects an abortion could have, over twenty studies show abortion as a cause of increased rates of drug and alcohol use. “Abortion is significantly linked with a twofold increased risk of alcohol abuse among women.” In addition to the social barriers drug use could create, abuse of narcotics is linked to a higher exposure to assaultive behavior, HIV or AIDs, and congenital malformations. These are facts that pro-choice abortion websites and organizations need to tell women so that when a woman is making her choice, she is prepared for the post abortion stress that could make the woman’s life more difficult. Honesty is more powerful than any lie, and it is more appreciated by women trying to decide.
In conclusion, pro-choice and pro-life activists do not consider the future of the woman and child when discussing abortion. Pro-life activists usually use a spiritual or religious point of view when talking about abortion, and this usually results in biased opinions being imposed on a woman. This usually has detrimental effects after abortion, as shown in the previous points. Pro-choice arguments tend to leave out facts that are considered unimportant or not big enough of a concern to inform women about. Pro-life and pro-choice arguments usually recycle the same points, so activists do not dig deep enough and uncover new information. Abortion is a complicated topic, and the debate will not come to an end anytime soon, but hopefully pro-choice and pro-life activists will broaden their arguments and do more non biased research, so they can both work towards a better future for women and children.
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