Although abortion is legal in many developed nations, it continues to be a source of debate with arguments hitting several spectrums: biological, ethical, legal, moral, philosophical and religious.
An abortion is seen as a solution to an unplanned pregnancy, particularly in the United States. Finding out a fetus has abnormalities is also a reason for opting for an abortion. Sometimes a therapeutic abortion is recommended when the health of the mother is at risk.
When Can an Abortion Be Performed?
Getting an abortion is dependent on how pregnant you are. Most abortions are performed during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, while 88% are done during the first 12 weeks.
There are two kinds of procedures available: a medical abortion (which involves taking medicine to terminate the pregnancy) and a surgical abortion (either a vacuum aspiration or dilation and evacuation).
Having an abortion during the second trimester is riskier than those done in the first trimester. As such, a surgical abortion is the only solution at nine weeks pregnant.
Abortions performed early in the pregnancy can be carried out by a doctor or gynecologist, but some nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and physician assistants are trained to perform abortions, too. Most abortion services are provided by university hospitals and family planning clinics.
Women who are 24 weeks pregnant are usually denied abortions, as this is late into the second trimester and well into the third.
In the United States, women aged younger than 18 need permission from their parents to get an abortion. However, some states do allow minors to get a court order to allow an abortion without the consent of their parents. On top of that, each state has different restrictions when it comes to abortions. This information can be provided by a family planning clinic.
Is an Abortion Safe?
Yes, but it should be done by a qualified professional. In addition, the safest period to have one is during the first trimester. You can either take medicine to end the pregnancy or go through a vacuum aspiration procedure.
Why Is Abortion Such a Heated Topic?
Despite being legal in several developed countries and even supported by the World Health Organization, abortions continue to be a topic that divides people. In the United States, for instance, two demonstrations were held to fight for opposing beliefs.
On January 21, 2017, a day after the new US president was inaugurated, a rally called the Women’s March was held across the world – even in Antarctica – to fight for human rights issues that the current administration clearly doesn’t support.
One of those issues concerns women’s rights, particularly reproductive rights, which includes abortion. Many who joined the protest are arguing for the right to make a choice; the right to make decisions about their own body.
Six days later, the March for Life rally was held in protest of abortion. The new Vice President of the US was a speaker at the event, and the demonstration received the seal of approval of the newly inaugurated president as well.
March for Life is an annual rally (stretching back more than forty years) held around the date of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that allowed women to undergo abortions. Participants in this rally believe that all life is sacred, including the lives of the unborn.
Pro-life supporters believe that abortion is akin to committing murder and that the fetus whose life was lost could have turned out to be someone who could contribute to society. Human Coalition, a nonprofit organization against abortion, cited Olympic gold medalist Simon Biles as someone who could have been a victim of abortion given that her mother was a drug addict and her father abandoned them.
There truly seems to be no end to the abortion debate, and even science can’t provide clear answers to help alleviate the issue. There is no definite answer to the question of when life begins? Is it during conception? Is it during birth? Or is it somewhere in between?
Why Do Some Women Opt for Abortions?
One of the common reasons for abortion is an unplanned pregnancy resulting from unprotected sex, incorrect use of birth control or the failure of birth control methods to prevent a pregnancy. Those on the side of life argue that these are not good enough reasons to terminate a pregnancy.
Pro-choice supporters believe abortion is the best course of action if they are not ready to become a parent due to several factors, including socioeconomic status. In Nigeria, where abortion is completely banned, a large number of women have died as a result of pregnancy.
What many fail to see is that pregnancy involves complications (sometimes, the mother herself has physical or mental conditions that make pregnancy difficult), and those can pose a threat to a mother’s life.
Some women also choose to terminate their pregnancy when they find out their baby has a high chance of being born with birth defects or a medical condition. Pro-life supporters will call this unfair and the other side will argue that it was a choice they made for the best.
Some women choose to end a pregnancy that was the result of incest or rape, asking why they would raise a child they didn’t want? The other side can also come back with an argument for giving the baby up for adoption.
There will always be an opposition to every argument, but governments should also do their part to make decisions by considering both sides of the argument and not just what they believe to be true.