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Abortion Essay, Research Paper

The Ethics of Abortion

Abortion is a very controversial subject that has been

continually argued over for the past few years and probably many years

to come. The main controversy is should abortion be legalized? First

before we get into the many sides of abortion we must first define

abortion. Abortion is the destruction of the fetus or unborn child

while the child is still in the mothers womb. This can be done by

almost anyone from the mother herself to back alley abortions and

even to abortions by clinics set up especially for this purpose.

There are two sides to this abortion topic the PRO-LIFE which is those

who are against abortion altogether and the PRO-CHOICE or those who

believe it is the womans right to choose if she wants to have an

abortion. These two groups offer different solutions to problem. The

pro-life solution is to have the child and basically live with it.

They believe abortion is not an answer. The pro-choice solution is

abortion because of reasons they feel are appropriate.

Although abortion is morally and ethically wrong should it be

legal for victims of rape or incest who have no other alternative?

There is no real answer to this controversy, there are two

sides to it though which have been arguing for many years over the

subject. The first is the pro-life group. This group does

not believe in the abortion factor. To understand where the pro-life

stands we must first understand its beliefs and reasons for its

beliefs. Then we can discuss what their solution to the

abortion topic is.

Pro-life believes that rape and incest are very emotional

topics. “They often elicit throughout the population feelings of

revulsion; people draw back from the issue of rape and incest.

People don’t know how to handle a person who is in that much pain.

There is no quick fix. That is why it is difficult for even pro-life

people to come to grips with the argument over abortion in cases of

rape and incest.”

Some of those who are pro-life will allow abortion in these

cases because they don’t know what else they can do for the victim and

except it as a rare case. But it is known that allowing abortion in

these cases usually does not help the victim, instead it only worsens

the problem because the victims needs are not being met.

But what the facts suggest is that only a minority of rape and

incest victims actually choose abortion. This is where pro-life has

its biggest problem. Pro-life states that “Abortion is not usually

chosen as the immediate solution for rape and incest victims but that

is the prevailing belief of the general population. A woman has been

raped and made pregnant: “Oh, she’s got to have an abortion.” No one

has studied the rape and incest victims needs; abortion is presumed to

fill her needs.”

Various studies and research indicate that rape and incest

victims fall into a high-risk category of abortion. But what happens

after a victim has an abortion? Jackie Baker a victim states: “I soon

discovered that the aftermath of my abortion continued a long time

after the memory of my rape had faded. I felt empty and horrible.

Nobody told me about the emptiness and pain I would feel deep within

causing nightmares and deep depressions. They all told me that after

the abortion I could continue with my life as if nothing ever

happened.” (Reardon 21-22) This is the story we hear from a lot of

aborted women. Today in our society it is believed by most people

that it is the womans fault just as much as the mans fault, if not

more. many people think women are responsible for contributing to the

rape itself. Then the rape victims feel self-blame and guilt. And

even then a rape or incest victims family members or close friends may

reinforce these negative feelings. Or they drop the problem because

they don’t know how to talk about it.

We even see the same thing in the abortion experience. When a

person becomes pregnant because of rape or incest there is a permanent

symbol of the rape, at least until it is aborted. Women who have had

abortions fear being rejected by God and loved ones. It is a very

traumatic experience which takes time. The fact is that you are

really telling your loved ones of a death in the family.

Opinion polls have shown for years that women are more against

abortion than men are. The women led the opposition of abortion. “In

1983 a Los Angelos Times poll found that only 47% of women (compared

with 51% of men) favored the general availability of abortion.” (Pro

Life Feminism: Pro-Woman, Pro-Life 6) So what is this telling us? The

facts are very clear men prefer abortion over women by a large

percent. And most women do not agree with abortion. So why does it

still exist today?

What pro-life feels is really happening is that in our society

today abortion is becoming the solution to carelessness. Abortion

does nothing to help the victims rape, and that is the problem they

are trying to address in the first place. Instead abortion encourages

the victim to vent their anger out on others.

Pro-life also believes that child birth on the other hand can

be a victory. For those victims who chose childbirth over abortion it

can be a triumph. It can state that the victim is not going to let

rape destroy her life. When the needs of pregnant victims is closely

examined it can be shown that abortion is not the answer and is in

fact only worsening the problem. (Reardon 21-22)

But the worst strain abortion has on the victim is mental

strain. Many victims become confused and overwhelmed by feelings they

thought they would never have, and don’t know what to do. After

having an abortion victims thought they had solved the problem but in

fact they had really just started a whole new one. Many victims began

thinking there was something wrong with them and began to doubt

themselves in situations that they would normally be sure of

themselves. Others plunge into deep depressions which they don’t come

out of for weeks at end. This is one of the worst side effects of

having an abortion and most women don’t realize it will happen to them

because they are too busy trying to correct the

immediate problem.

Pro-life persons don’t have any reason to be ashamed to defend

pro-life view in the case of rape and incest. They feel the ones who

should be ashamed are the pro-abortionists who have been exploiting

the problems of the victims.

Pro-choice has a different view to this whole abortion

controversy. Pro-choice believes that it is the persons right to have

an abortion if they want to and that no one should interfere with that

right. Pro-choice has many reasons for feeling this way. First lets

talk about who has abortions and why they have abortions. There are

1.6 million abortions in the United States every year, there is no

real special class of people who have abortions.

Why does pro-choice feel that abortion is all right? Well

pro-choice believes that the answer is what the woman believes. The

most common reason for abortions is when contraception fails. What is

a person suppose to do when the birth control method fails? “The

fact is that contraceptive failure led to 1.6 to 2 million of the 3.3

million unwanted pregnancies in the United States in 1987. These

pregnancies account for about half of the 1.5 million abortions

performed every year.” Besides these reasons for abortion women also

give researchers other reasons for getting an abortion.

In 1987 a survey of 1,900 women at 30 abortion facilities were

asked, why do women have abortions? The women could give as many

reasons as they wanted, and most of the women responded with one or

more of these top six reasons:

1. Concerned about how having a baby could change her life, 92%

2. Not mature enough or too young to have a child, 81%

3. Can’t afford baby now, 73%

4. Doesn’t want others to know she had sex or is pregnant, 42%

5. Doesn’t want to be a single parent, 37%

6. Unready for responsibility, 33%

There have been many studies done on smaller groups that

expressed the exact same reasons for having an abortion. Older women

were more likely to say that their families were complete while

younger women said that a baby would interfere with education, career,

and personal freedom. At any age women say they have too many

responsibilities and not enough money to take care of a baby.

The reasons for which the public is approving of abortions is

not always the reason of the person who wants to have an abortion.

Women do not have abortions because of rape, incest, deformed fetuses,

or because their physical life is in danger. But these are the best

reasons accepted by the public. Being poor, too young, unmarried, and

not wanting a baby are the most unpopular reasons for having an

abortion and are looked down upon by the public. Pro-choice feels the

main reason for abortions is because contraception failed and they

didn’t want to have a baby at the time.

What are some of the benefits to having an abortion. Well the

most obvious one is the abortion itself. First of all pro-choice

wants to make it clear where they stand. They believe in first time

abortions. This is usually because of contraceptive reasons or

maturity, but where they draw the line is at third or fourth time

abortions. This is because although they think abortion should be

legal they believe that is a little extreme and may be a solution to a

bad habit.

“But the big benefits of having an abortion can be seen right

away is relief. The feeling most women have after having an abortion

is relief. A 44-year-old psychologist with three children had an

illegal abortion at 18 and a legal abortion at 28. Both times she

primarily felt relieved for herself and all the family members for

whom she was responsible.” Another example is a newly married

27-year-old elementary school teacher had two abortions at age 18 and

21. She felt the same relief as the psychologist.” There have been

many studies that researched what the primary reaction to having an

abortion was. One study done by Kaiser Permanent in northern

California asked women subscribers how they felt about their

abortions. The most common answer was relief.

Abortion also leads to safer contraception. After a person

has to go through an abortion because of a failure in contraception it

is found that from then on the couple is much more cautious about

safe-sex. It is found that almost all of the 742 low-income women who

received abortions in 1970-1971 at the State University Hospital in

Syracuse, New York, intended to use contraception in the future, an

attitude that was even stronger after their abortions. Perhaps

the abortion is actually a lesson in life.

Another positive impact is maturity. How might a person

mature because of their abortion experience? Well the most obvious

example of maturity is after an abortion the aborted person usually

changes their bad habits. This could be anything from safe-sex to

everyday things like listening to others. This may not have been the

case before the abortion. When people were asked how they felt about

themselves after the abortion many of them responded by saying they

felt more mature. It caused them to reevaluate their behavior,

their lives and their future. Others felt they were freer and

stronger. “Two benefactors to having an abortion is increased

self-image, self-esteem, and increased psychological health.” It is

said that an abortion usually changes a womans uncertain self-image

into a good self-image. The average woman gets back the self before

she got pregnant and sometimes a little more. It is also said that it

can increase your psychological health. Can this really be?

“Pro-choice states that a woman is damaged by abortion, but pro-choice

women state that is not so and it actually benefited them.”

Pro-Choice also believes that it is the moral right for a

person to be able to control their own body whether it is having a

baby or destroying it. They feel it is the womans right to be able

to do what she wants with herself and what she has created. Pro-Choice

also argues that at the stage where abortion is done the fetus is not

really a human being therefore it is like you are not destroying

anything. It is merely biological and really does not exist until

further stages.

This is the reasons why pro-choice is arguing for the

legalization of abortion. They feel that the increase in more mature

women after abortion, safer-sex, increased mental health, and

increased self-esteem and self-image are good enough reasons for

legalizing abortion.

After researching about abortion the solution that I find best

fit to the abortion controversy is that although abortion is morally

and ethically wrong there is no real alternatives for those who are

victims of rape or incest. That is why the best solution to this

controversy is to legalize abortion for those who are victims of these

awful crimes.

Although pro-life and victims of rape and incest state that

abortion adds to the pain of these crimes there is no other real

solution. Most victims would agree that it would be better to suffer

through the pain of abortion than to have to live with a deformed

child or even worse a child that is not really your own as a product

of rape or incest. Victims of these crimes also report feeling dirty,

guilty, sexually violated, etc… But is that as bad as having to be

constantly reminded of the traumatic experience you went through

everyday you see your child? Your child is a victim too!

But the most obvious reason is the fact that a victim of rape

or incest was violated against her will. She did not ask for it, and

does not deserve it. She should not then have to deal with the child

if she does not want to because it may lead to further complications

for the victim and child. By further complications I mean mentally,

physically, and emotionally. Many victims often go through long

periods of depression when they are forced to keep the child because

it often stirs unwanted memories. This is why abortion should be

allowed or legal for those unfortunate few who have no other choice

but to have an abortion or live with this great burden.

Abortion on the other hand should not be legal for all. When

a person chooses to have sex she is taking a chance. This she does of

her own free will, and she has control over what she is doing. This

is the total opposite of the rape victim. If a person decides to have

sex whether it is safe or not, what happens after that is her

responsibility as well as his. And if you are going to chose to

participate in this risky and unsafe practice then you must be ready

to pay the consequences.

I also believe that a fetus is still a child contradictory to

the beliefs of the Pro-Choice. I think that when two people create

something like a child, even if it is as small as a fetus it should

still be considered a child because it is a living breathing organism

made by the two people. I think that even a fetus has rights to a

good life, love and happiness no matter how small it is and no one

should be able to take that away from him.

Therefore my solution to the abortion problem is it should be

legal for only those who are victims of rape or incest if they so

chose to have an abortion. But should be illegal for those

who are not victims because they chose to do what they did and they

must deal with what they have created.

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