Top 10 Reasons Abortion Should be Legal
Abortion is one of the hottest topics debated in the world today. By definition, an abortion is the conclusion of a pregnancy through the removal of the fetus from the womb, which directly results in its death. There are many reasons why this can happen, ranging from spontaneous occurrences (miscarriages) and pregnancy complications to intentional termination. Naturally, as with anything that deals with life, abortion is a sensitive subject. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court declared abortion a “fundamental right” in Roe v. Wade. To this day, the debate over its validity as a practice encompasses arguments ranging from practical, moral, medical to religious aspects. The debate concerning the validity of abortion has two main sides, namely the pro-choice camp, which believes in the validity of an abortion, and the pro-life camp, which defends the right of the unborn and seeks to establish the invalidity of choice in an abortion. It’s a tough subject, but today we bring you some of the top 10 arguments in support of abortion.
10. “My Body, My Choice” – Women have the right to choose what to do with their body.
Every person has an inherent and undeniable right over their own bodies, and as such, it is their choice to do with it as they please. This notion forms the backbone for every argument relating to a person’s rights, such as the right to life and liberty, or the right to freedom of speech and expression. While we all have this inalienable right of choice, we also have to be responsible for the consequences of those choices. From a logical standpoint, however, whether a person is responsible or irresponsible for their actions doesn’t change the fact that they have the freedom to choose and act to begin with. In fact, the presence of the consequence reinforces this notion, because consequence can’t exist if without the natural right to choose. If we allow our inherent rights to be limited, we find ourselves on a very slippery slope. The suppression of this right may begin with abortion, but where will it end? Inherent rights are by nature, natural and unquestionable, and should be left unchallenged.
The infrastructure around us is designed to support and protect the rights of citizens. Hospitals do not tell you what to do with your body or act without your consent; they suggest courses of action based on medical practice and inform you of the consequences of each. Schools do not tell you what to study, but they provide a foundational base of learning to equip you with the tools in your desired profession. These prove that our society operates on the foundation of natural human rights. Why then should we restrict a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy when it is the same as her right to choose what school to go to, what medical procedure to undertake, what profession to pursue, or what opinions to express? It is her natural right regardless of whether anyone approves or disapproves of the outcome, to make that choice. In the same way, it is your right, regardless of whether or not I disagree or agree with you, to form your own opinions about these arguments. The bottom line of this argument is that the same thing that protects your right to do as you wish is the same thing that protects a woman’s natural right to choose what to do with her own body. In the end, we must remember that we live lives of dignity because our choices are protected by a society that recognizes our inalienable rights. The right to choose is paramount to our humanity, and it shouldn’t be denied.
9. Personhood begins when a fetus is viable.
Now that we have established the right of women to choose what to do with their bodies, what then of the fetus’ right to its own body? Many pro-life standpoints argue that when a woman chooses to have an abortion, she is committing the crime of restricting the right of the fetus over its own body. While this does sound compellingly correct, it has a few grey areas. The natural right to choose what to do with your body is tied to your personhood, a concept that is not absolutely black and white. A fetus is considered viable when it is able to live outside the woman’s uterus on its own. The concept of being “self-determining” comes into play. When we are capable of deciding on a course of action for ourselves, we have the right to pursue it even if it’s right or wrong, and we then have the responsibility of facing its consequences.
A fetus under 24 weeks old is incapable of self-determination, because it has not properly developed the necessary organs or systems to make this possible yet. This is different from saying that a fetus under 24 weeks is not alive. Life begins at conception, but personhood begins at self-determination. The embryo is considered the potential to be a person if the pregnancy is carried to full-term. If we considered it a person, then our birthdates would be upon conception, and artificial insemination, which involves numerous fertilized eggs thrown away, would be genocide! Plain and simple, a fetus under 24 weeks is not independent or self-determining, as it is reliant on the woman for survival.
8. Abortion supports the right to life.
While most arguments highlight abortion as the termination of life, they tend to be argued strictly focusing on the life of the unborn child. As with everything, there are elements around a pregnancy that can lead to complications for the woman. Not all women are given the gift of complication free pregnancies. Cases where complications in the pregnancy lead to significantly higher risk to the woman’s life are more frequent than we wish they would be. To deny a woman the option to abort a pregnancy when her own life is at risk is akin to forcing her to play Russian roulette.
No person, regardless of gender, should be denied the right to fight for his or her own life. Societies and laws are built around this very framework. Fanatics of the pro–life argument are sometimes so focused on the fetus that they put no value to the mother’s life and do not even consider the viability of the fetus. What if a doctor was faced with a situation where the fetus was not viable and if it were not aborted, the mother would die? While the decision will always be difficult, the decision is not ours to make, and as such we have no right to deny someone his or her own choice.
7. The right to abortion is critical to gender equality.
One of the most defining movements in the past century is that of gender equality. Like most social movements, gender equality arguments have foundations linked to equally serious issues of racial or social equality. Fundamentally, the argument is sound; society should not discriminate a person on an element for which he had no control over, and one cannot choose to be a man or woman, their race, or their social status. Each person has the fundamental right to life and all that it entails. Gender does have certain aspects that make the pursuit of a happy life different for each side, this we cannot deny. Because women are the childbearing gender, this presents certain challenges. While each challenge bears its own weight, the financial challenge is probably the most consistently felt and has the most clearly visible effect. Equality as a concept means that every person has the right, without restriction, to pursue the same things whatever they may be.
A woman cannot sincerely be considered to have equal standing in society if she does not at least have the choice to remove the challenges that will come with a pregnancy. Many corporations have faced criticism because women face much discrimination simply due to the fact that they bear children. Their likelihood of going on leave is higher due to this biological fact, but it is not right for companies to avoid hiring them just because of this. If we want to be able to say that we have no gender biases or gender discrimination, and man and woman have equal rights to pursue the life that they choose to pursue, women must have a choice. They must not have to deal with challenges but instead be given responsibilities upon choosing to become a mother. The choice to become a mother must in the very least be given to the woman. By failing to freely provide this, society also fails to support their fundamental rights, not as women, but as people.
6. Banning abortion risks illegal abortions.
Statistics shows that an estimated 49% of pregnancies in the United States are unintended. These numbers simply prove that the situations surrounding pregnancies are not limited to happy families who have planned and intentionally tried to have children. A large percentage is in fact unplanned for. Naturally, a woman or couple who face the situation of an unplanned pregnancy may not have the right circumstances to raise a child properly. Some cases even show that they are unable to financially or medically see the pregnancy to its full term. Regardless of the situation, of those 49% of pregnancies that are unintended, the percentage that is unwanted will be looking for ways to terminate the pregnancy. Prior to the recognition of this procedure and the modernization of medicine, back-alley abortions used to be via coat hangers, illegal or unregulated pharmaceutical products, knitting needles or a punch to the stomach. If there is no legal, viable alternative, this percentage of couples or mothers will inevitably have to resort to these back-alley operations, which are highly dangerous.