The worldwide debate as to whether abortion should be legalised or not is one of the most controversial subjects being debated throughout the world’s politics. The question considers if women should be presented with a choice in whether they wish to keep their unborn child or not, with people either being pro-choice or pro-life.
Pro-life believers claim that this act equates to murder. They believe you are taking away the life of someone before they have a chance to grow into the person they were meant to be and furthermore, against their will. Some believe that the moment a heartbeat forms, this being three weeks into the pregnancy when fertilisation occurs, that this is the moment it becomes completely immoral and murderous to abort.
The background for these beliefs often come from religion. Many people who have strong beliefs in God determine that abortion is an atrocious, inhumane act because they believe God would never accept the ending of a life, for it is just that, a life. Pro-life believers state that a “Foetus is a person from the moment of conception”. Other religions such as Buddhism also largely believe it to be murder and a vast portion of Hindus believe in the principle of ahimsa (non-violence) and are therefore opposed to abortion except when necessary to save the mother’s life.
On the other hand, there is a large portion of the world who believe the act of abortion should be the choice of the mother. That is definitely not to say they are pro-abortion, that is to say they believe it should be no one’s influence or choice but the women’s. They argue that legal safe abortion is a human right for all women and should never be taken from them.
In the USA, the law Roe Vs Wade of 1977 was passed to legalise abortion. It stated that a foetus is not a person until the moment of birth and that it is a fundamental right for women to have unrestricted access to abortion in the earlier weeks of pregnancy, and restricted access in the later weeks. This allowed for safe abortion throughout the country. If this right were to be taken away the abortions would not stop, they would continue to happen but in life threatening, dangerous ways.
Just because it is illegal again, does not mean that women suddenly won’t want to abort. They will turn to dangerous and potentially unqualified doctors and therefore put their lives at high risk. Abortion is a major cause of maternal mortality and it principally occurs in countries where it is illegal. The WHO stated that in 2003, 42 million pregnancies were terminated, 20 million being unsafe. Every year 68,000 women die from unsafe abortions, mainly because they have had to turn to ineligible people who are willing to abort though against the law.
When debating this topic, I feel that circumstances play a major part in affecting our beliefs. For example, pro-choice people would argue that a women pregnant as a result of sexual assault should never have to keep the child if it was against their will to do so. It was not their choice in the first place to even have sexual intercourse with the man, let alone whether to use contraception or not. They had no say in any of this so why should they have to keep the baby. The circumstance under which the impregnation happens should have a major affect on how we view its consequences. However, this is not always the case because people’s beliefs are so strong and unfaltering that they sometimes neglect to look at the fine print and see what it really is they are condoning.
I am more of a believer that women should be given a choice and therefore legal access to safe environments for having an abortion. The idea of preventing another woman from getting an abortion when they don’t share your beliefs is unjust. Every woman should have the right to their own belief.
By Alice Woods
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