Are Abortions Immoral?
What is an Abortion?
It is highly likely that you, the reader, already understand what an abortion is. If so, please skip this segment of text. If you would like to know more about abortions, please continue reading below.
Simplified, the abortion process is the removal of an embryo or foetus from a pregnant woman prior to it being given birth to. An abortion may occur naturally and is known as a miscarriage, however the type of abortion we want to focus on is a medically or surgically induced abortion.
A medically induced abortion is carried out through the use of abortifacient pharmaceuticals. An abortifacient pharmaceutical is essentially a drug that causes an abortion to take place inside of the uterus. The two commonly used abortifacients are mifepristone and methotrexate, which are commonly combined with a prostaglandin analog. The choice of drug used depends on the gestational age of the pregnancy and how developed the foetus is.
Surgically induced abortions are those that involve the use of surgical techniques to remove the foetus from the uterus. Up to 15 weeks gestational age, the two most common forms of surgical abortion are suction aspiration and vacuum aspiration. Vacuum aspiration can either be electric or manual, depending on the apparatus used to carry out the abortion.
If the pregnancy is older than 15 weeks then other forms of surgical abortion must be used. They commonly involve some form of suction/vacuum combined with other steps, such as forced dilation and the opening of the cervix.
The Pregnancy Statistics
Worldwide, it is estimated that 205 million pregnancies occur each year. Over one third of these pregnancies are unintended and around one fifth of them end in an induced abortion.
Should a Foetus Have Rights?
Pro-life supporters argue that a foetus should share the same rights as a human. Groups supporting this cause envisage a foetus having a right to life from the moment of conception. Currently, a foetus does not have a defined legal status, which is what prevents abortions from becoming illegal.
Religion has a major role to play in abortion and is the basis for the views of a lot of people. Christians tend to have a standpoint that isn't black and white. Some Christians insist that abortion is a sin whilst others have moved away from this view, arguing that abortion is acceptable in modern life. Despite the disparity of opinion in the religion of Christianity, there is no explicit prohibition of abortion in either the New Testament or the Old Testament.
Away from religion, morality often defines a person's views on abortion. Whether a person thinks it is morally acceptable to terminate a pregnancy or not is what solidifies their opinion of abortion.
Whether your view on abortion is shaped by religion, morality or another factor, there isn't overwhelming support for either side of the argument, it is generally split quite evenly. This is probably the reason why a foetus remains without a defined legal status. However, many would argue that this should change and a lot of legal experts also believe that pressure is building to define the rights of a foetus.
Do you believe that a foetus should have defined rights?
Economic and Health Considerations
In 2015, The Telegraph determined that the cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 in the UK was £229,251. This is a substantial amount and would be enough for a house in most parts of Britain. The figure, determined by The Telegraph, shows just how economically taxing a child can be to its parents. For many, the cost associated with children is the reason why they choose to have an abortion and, in my opinion, this is totally acceptable.
If the parents of the child feel that they won't have enough money to care for it, not only will this negatively effect them but it will also negatively effect the child. Without the proper funds, a child's life can be very difficult. By ending the pregnancy, parents can prevent future financial strain on themselves and also stop a child from being brought into a life of poverty.
Aside from the economic considerations of childbirth, health can also have a huge impact on the decision to have an abortion. This isn't solely the health of the mother but also the health of the foetus itself.
UNFPA estimated that 289,000 women died from childbirth related causes in 2013. Under certain circumstances, these fatalities can be avoided through abortion of the pregnancy. If doctors asses the mother as having a high risk of maternal death, they often feel the need to have an abortion in order to save their own life rather than risking it further down the line.
Doctors can also predict the likeliness of a mother's child being born with a disability and this is another cause for abortion of a pregnancy. If the child is likely to be burdened with a life-changing disability, the mother may opt to terminate the pregnancy rather than put her child in a situation where they may struggle through life and ultimately die at a very young age.
Combined, economic and health considerations are huge factors in the decision to have an abortion. Personally, I feel that both are perfectly acceptable reasons to abort a pregnancy. Sometimes, it is more moral to prevent a future human from facing hardships rather than respect their right to life and force the child into a difficult situation.
The Horrors of Rape and Pregnancy
When tragedies such as rape occur, pregnancy is a very realistic outcome. A 2005 study found that 3-5% of rapes result in pregnancy amongst women of reproductive age (aged 12-45).
In this situation, the child bearer is in an extremely difficult situation. They are currently carrying a foetus that has been forced upon them by a potential father that they do not know and do not share a relationship with.
Again, I feel that it is totally acceptable to abort the pregnancy in this situation. The scenario must be very harrowing for the woman and would only lead to difficulties in the future. Not only would the child be completely disconnected from their father, but he/she would serve as a constant reminder to the mother of the horrific situation that caused her to bear the child.
To conclude, I stand firmly on the side of pro-choice and believe that abortions are morally ok.
There are certain circumstances where a child is not feasible for the mother or both parents. Economic, health and situational considerations have to be made when weighing up an abortion and these factors can often play a huge role in the standard of life the foetus may grow to experience.
As the Earth's population continues to soar above 7 billion, a child must only be brought into this world after heavy consideration of possible factors. Abortions are a way to control this steadily rising figure.