Undoubtedly one of the most controversial issues in the world today, 'abortion' has ignited an intense debate and left people divided into two groups: one in favor of this practice and other against it. In the United States, the term 'pro-choice' describes the group in favor of abortion, which calls for doing away with all the restrictions on this practice, while 'pro-life' describes the group of people who are against abortion and call for more stringent measures to outlaw this practice. While the pros and cons of the practice have put the two groups at loggerheads, the 'pro-life' group has garnered a great deal of support by putting forth some strong arguments against the practice.
Abortion Facts and Statistics
It's the ignorance about some important facts about abortion that makes people defy logic when they take a stand on this issue. In a broad sense, the term 'abortion' refers to the termination of pregnancy, either by removal or expulsion of the fetus or embryo from the uterus. It can either occur spontaneously as a result of complications during pregnancy, or can be induced by resorting to some surgical or medicinal procedure. Informally though, the term abortion is more often used to refer to the practice of 'induced abortion', which is considered illegal as per the laws of various countries. On the other hand, the term 'spontaneous abortion' is used for miscarriage.
Besides, one also needs to take into consideration the fact that abortion, in case of human pregnancies, can be categorized into two types: therapeutic and elective. Therapeutic abortion refers to voluntary termination of pregnancy for medical reasons, i.e., to preserve the pregnant female's health, while elective abortion refers to voluntary termination of a pregnancy for non-medical reasons. When carried out in a safe environment, the risk of maternal mortality is pretty low. Statistics reveal that unsafe abortions result in 70,000 deaths across the world every year―and that, mind you, is just an estimated figure.
Arguments Against Abortion
Pro-life groups put forth several anti-abortion arguments to support their stand on this issue. In a broad sense, these arguments can be categorized into ethical, emotional, and scientific/medical arguments. On ethical grounds, they argue that abortion is wrong because fetus is an innocent human with the right to live―a potential human being of the future, which, in turn, implies that aborting a child amounts to murder. They argue that pro-choice groups, who deny that fetuses have life, do not value human life. They further argue that selecting arbitrary characteristics, which is as good as giving some people more rights than others, amounts to unjust discrimination against the unborn.
While pro-choice arguments suggest that the fetus is incapable of feeling pain until the 24th week of pregnancy, pro-life groups are least impressed by this argument. Their counter argument states that the very fact that the fetus is growing inside the mother's womb implies that it has life. Thus, harming it amounts to harming a human being. In most of the cases, the decision of opting for termination of unwanted pregnancy is something that's taken when the pregnant female is not in a clear frame of mind. In such circumstances, if unwanted pregnancies are extended to childbirth there is always a hope that the female will accept the child eventually. In worst case scenario, even if she doesn't, letting someone adopt that child, which will make sure that he lives, would be a lot better than opting for induced abortion.
Religious groups oppose the practice of abortion, as―according to them―it amounts to interfering with the Almighty's decision. They further add that, if the Almighty has decided to bring the child on this planet, he must have definitely planned something for him. Skeptics may show some disinterest in these arguments, but then there also exist some arguments on scientific grounds which have to be taken into consideration. These arguments most often revolve around the mother's health, as it is believed that abortion can result in physical complications, like infection, recurrent miscarriages, blocked fallopian tubes, damage to the reproductive system, etc., as well as psychological problems, which are triggered by depression and guilt.
If all these reasons are weighed against the arguments put forth by pro-choice groups, it becomes a bit difficult to say which of the two sides have an edge in the debate. After all, the arguments put forth by those in support of abortion also seem convincing to some extent. For instance, they say that the female should have the right to opt for abortion, as ultimately she will be the one who will go through everything. That it would result in more instances of illegal abortions, wherein the chances of fatality are quite high, is yet another fact that has to be taken into consideration when contemplating the idea of outlawing abortion.
All being said, one question still remains unanswered at the end of the day: if unwanted pregnancy is something that's making the couple opt for abortion, shouldn't they own up to their mistake and raise the child, instead of being so cruel towards the unborn?