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Do women have rights over their own body when it comes to abortion?
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  • 1. Kamran 1 Shaheer Kamran 17110209 Bushra Butt SS 100 16 December 2013 Do women have rights over their own body when it comes to abortion? Abortion is the termination of the pregnancy where the removal of the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus takes place. There are two different types of abortion; one is the spontaneous and the other is the induced one. The spontaneous apportion is also known as a miscarriage and the induced abortion is the intentional removal of the embryo. Induced abortion is a process which has been debated about for a long amount of time. To have an abortion is a woman’s own right. Women need to have complete rights over their own body as they have exclusive control over it. It is their own property so they have a right to contain the reproduction process. In a society which talks about gender equality all the time, when rights on abortions are not given that’s when we see the double standards that exist in today’s world. God created all of us equal. Nobody is considered better than the other or has more rights than the other. The right of abortion gives women security and makes them feel calm as they know they will have abortion as an option if the time ever arises. Abortion at the end depends solely on the mother’s willingness to give birth to the baby. If the mother does not feel alright with having a baby, she should just get the embryo removed resulting in an induced abortion. Many people believe that abortion is a moral issue but few really know that it’s a constitutional one too. Abortion is a
  • 2. Kamran 2 fundamental right that is recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States of America (Pynchon, 1).This right makes sure that women have full authority over their body and what they do with it. Abortion is getting really common nowadays, all around the world. An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year. In fact, 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old and the same statistics hold true for the United Kingdom too (Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States, 1) What is even more surprising is that 890,000 induced abortions are carried out every year in Pakistan. It is usually done before the fetus gets to 25 weeks old. In developed countries, abortion is legal whereas most developing countries do not encourage and permit abortion. This is because different countries follow different cultures and religions; Furthermore laws and rules are mode according to their culture and the people present on the land. Although people still consider abortion as murder and an unsafe process, however abortion is the right which women deserve and need as abortion gives them a chance at terminating unwanted pregnancies, getting rid of mental and physical problems and the removal of the embryo with birth defects. Firstly, a baby should not come into this world if he or she is unwanted. Abortion is convenient as it provides the parents with an option of not having a child if they do not want to. Parents sometimes want to terminate the pregnancy because there are not financially strong and would be unable to meet the future expenses of the child so the wife gets the abortion; On the other hand people who do not get the abortion done, pay for it later when they are not able to provide for their family. In its absence, any unwanted pregnancy would lead to the birth of many children, who weren't wanted. This could completely imbalance the social class of the society, having severe negative effects on the child. A research was done by the pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which showed that mostly teenage pregnancies
  • 3. Kamran 3 lead to fear and anxiety because of the teenagers’ feeling of lack of preparedness, financial problems as well as no emotional support when they find out they are pregnant. When people are teenagers they are in the developing part of their personality and life, a phase that will shape the future and what they will do. When that plan is changed and teenagers find out about the additional responsibility and burden they all have to bear on their shoulders, it gets them frightened and that in turn results in a panic stricken moment. For research purposes the teenagers further tell about their experience of how their lives were put on hold as it were not only them that mattered but an additional ‘person’ too. They were seen differently by the people as some sort of infection or disease (Fleming, Adolescent Abortion). All this resentment could have been avoided. All this suffering could have been finished after one safe process if these women would have been given the required right over their own body. Abortion is convenient as it provides the parents with an option of having a wanted child. In its absence, any unwanted pregnancy would lead to the birth of many children, who weren't wanted by the mother. This could immensely hamper the society as well as the thinking of both the mother and the unwanted child. When the child will find out that he was a mistake or unintended, the child will question his own existence and this would deeply affect the psyche of that child. Unwanted babies should not be a part of this world. Secondly, when women go through extreme illness or get sexually abused they suffer from different physical and mental problems that can be fixed and made better through abortion. In a society like Pakistan, if a woman gets raped she suffers from extreme depression and fear as she does not know if her family or the society around her will accept her. When women get raped, they are mostly left alone and are ostracized from society. This takes a toll on their mental health as they get depressed, insecure and worry what would happen when the baby arrives and
  • 4. Kamran 4 shakes her life up. No one would want to give birth to a child who was a result of something this monstrous as the child would always remind the mother of what happened to her and how her life completely changed after that. The child would also share the same blood as that of the rapist which would add insult to injury and the mother would never accept the child as a part of her own. This would also take a toll on the children that resulted from rape as they would feel that they are the reason of all the problems. These children later indulge in bad activities and get addicted to drugs and cause all sorts of problems because of the complexes and physiological problems they have. All of this can be fixed from the ill get pregnant; they seriously risk their lives and the lives of the fetus. According to mayo facility we have now called abortion. When women who are exceptionally weak or terminally clinic, “Certain heart conditions, including problems with the mitral valve or aortic valve, can pose life-threatening risks for mother or baby” (Heart conditions and pregnancy: Know the risks). Preeclampsia can progress to eclampsia, which results in the development of seizures in a woman with preeclampsia (Preeclampsia).This can be life threatening for both the mother and the baby. In scenarios like these abortion is the best option that would save the life of the mother whose life is more important than that of a potential human being. Life of people who are living cannot be put to test so it’s the woman’s right if she wants to get an abortion or suffer extreme pain and problems that might lead to the death of both her child and her. Abortion is the answer to all these questions as it eliminates the root cause of these problems. Some people consider abortion as brutality due to its painful nature as it does not give the child in the womb, a chance at life; however Personhood begins at birth, not at conception. Personhood can be defined as a status of being a person. The fetus in a woman’s body is not considered a person as its feeding on its mother and if the fetus is acting a parasite, it’s the
  • 5. Kamran 5 woman’s decision if she wants to go through with the pregnancy or get an abortion. Some people still believe that the embryo is actually a living ‘person’. No scientific agreement is made to insure at what stage and time a human life begins. It is a matter of one’s own opinion. People who view it religiously will interpret it in a different way as to people who have a more philosophical opinion. If sperm and eggs are alive and potential human beings, then most of them are wasted as two-thirds of ‘human conceptions’ result in abortion caused by nature. Fetuses cannot feel as their brain structure takes time to fully develop. To construct an argument against abortion two scientists, K.J. Anand and P.R. Hickey, did extensive research and carried out different experiments to show that fetuses feel pain; however their research results pointed to the completely opposite conclusion. It was discovered that fetuses don’t feel paining till the beginning of the seventh month of the pregnancy which is the end of the second trimester and the third trimester. Fetuses only feel the pain when, “the lobes of their growing brains had drawn together and established synaptic contact” (The New England Journal of Medicine). From all the scientific evidence gathered so far, the pro-life effort to turn the 8-week old fetus into a functional person is a failure. According to Stuart W. G. Derbyshire, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham (England), "[n]ot only has the biological development not yet occurred to support pain experience, but the environment after birth, so necessary to the development of pain experience, is also yet to occur.( Derbyshire) " Therefore abortion is not murder and no child is killed in the process. Some people still believe that abortion is unsafe; however due to advancements in technology and research, abortion is now considered safer than childbirth. Abortions are considered more risk free than giving birth as Dr David Grimes who is a clinical professor at University of North Carolina School of Medicine said, “Regardless of one's sentiments about abortion, legal
  • 6. Kamran 6 abortion is very safe, and dramatically safer than continuing the pregnancy.”(Gordon, Abortion Safer for Women Than Childbirth) Giving birth in teenagers can have many complications ranging from brain development disruption to the risk of death. It’s a grave problem that exhausts the teenage mother internally and externally. According to research done by reuters both induced abortion done by medication and surgery are safe as studies from 2010 have shown that around 1 percent of women that had a surgical abortion before their 16th week had a minor complication and only 1 in 300 cases had a major complication (PITTMAN, Medical abortions are safe: study).Meanwhile abortion done by medication can only have one drawback which is the pregnancy will continue on. Research from Time Magazine, Health and Lifestyle section shows that women are sixteen times more likely to die in childbirth than complications that take place during abortion and even then the complications taken place are not long term. The risk of death corresponding with childbirth is 8.8 deaths per 100000 and 0.6 deaths per 100000 in abortions (Rochman, Why Abortion Is Less Risky than Childbirth). Some people still argue that abortion results in mental and physiological problems but these arguments have been proven false which again shows that abortion is a safe process. The article also says that complications, for example postpartum hemorrhage, infections and high blood pressure disorders were more common in women who did not put and stop to their pregnancy but continued it. Moreover, in 1993 a fertility investigation of 10,767 women was carried out by the Joint Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; they found out that it does not matter if you give birth or you get an abortion because both of them have the same fertility. A woman who has had at least two abortions experienced will have the same future fertility as to some other woman who has had at least two natural pregnancies.( Frank, The Effect of Induced Abortion on Subsequent Fertility) The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American
  • 7. Kamran 7 Cancer Society (ACS), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have all refuted that abortion leads to breast cancer as many people try to imply that so it’s just a myth (Anti-choice Claims About Abortion and Breast Cancer ). Abortion is now considered less dangerous than childbirth. Lastly, with the use of abortion, babies that may be physically or mentally abnormal can be removed from the fetus. Due to technology the knowledge of doctors fetuses can now be monitored extensively and birth defects and abnormalities can be discovered easily. The doctors consult with each other and reach a consensus. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth and cause problems for the normal functioning of the body. Around 120,000 babies born every year have a birth defect Birth defects result in problems that affect not only the overall health of the child but also how the body develops and problems in how the bodies work(Birth Defects). Birth defects can range from nervous system or brain problems to Degenerative disorders. Parents who do not want such children and feel that It will be hard for them to handle them and for the children to survive in this world can use abortion to make things right. Children with birth defects are prone to many illnesses and have a high mortality rate which only results in anxiety and sadness for both the child and the family. Children who are physically or mentally not well will feel sad and inferior to everyone resulting in misery and a feeling of incompleteness in them. Their parents will feel helpless as nothing they would do or say would make that big a difference. As the chances are highly unlikely that these children will survive, abortion would be the best possible solution which would end the family’s as well as the child’s misery before it even starts. It is the mother’s decision because she is the one who will suffer most of the damage that will be done both physically and mentally. The pain of babies suffering from internal and external defects can be eased or nullified by the process of abortion.
  • 8. Kamran 8 To sum it all up abortion is a woman’s right and should be given to her as she has complete control over her body. She should do what she chooses too. She is not a potential human being but an actual one so her rights outbalance the rights of the child. Women have the right to decide their own future. If they do not feel comfortable with having a baby or feel that the responsibility is too big for them, they should have the authority to get the abortion. There should be no moral or legal intervention in this process because it’s the woman who has to suffer the pain. Women are the sole owners of their body so no one can call them and tell them how they should or how they should not use it. Women have the right to decide their own future because they spend a great deal of time and hard work to get to the point where they are before getting pregnant. During pregnancy if a woman’s life is in danger, her survival outweighs the survival value of the ‘potential’ child because the mother is an actual person who is not dependant on anyone and if she dies so does the baby. Living people have more rights than people who are still forming. Abortion is not murder nor is it dangerous. In fact abortion is safer than childbirth as it involves less risks and less worrying. If a woman does make a mistake, she should not be punished with a baby. Humans are not perfect so one mistake should not have this huge a consequence. People talk about giving equal rights all the time but when the time comes to give women their right of controlling the body they own, a debate starts to form. Abortion is a right that women need to have for their safety and independence.
  • 9. Kamran 9 Work Cited Negotiates, She. "Roe v. Wade Didn't Just Legalize Abortion: It Made It Our Constitutional Right." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Jan. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2013 "Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States." Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States. N.p., Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Fleming, Gretchen V. "Periodic Survey #12 Adolescent Abortion." Periodic Survey #12 Adolescent Abortion. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.aap.org/en-us/professional- resources/Research/pages/PS12_AdolescentAbortionViewsoftheMembershipoftheAAP.aspx>. "Preeclampsia." BabyCenter. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.babycenter.com/0_preeclampsia_257.bc>. Anand, K.J.S., and Hickey, P.R., "Pain and Its effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus," The New England Journal of Medicine, 317:21, November 1987, p. 1322. Stuart W. G. Derbyshire, PhD, "Can Fetuses Feel Pain?," British Medical Journal, Apr. 29, 2006 Pittman, Genevra. "Medical Abortions Are Safe: Study." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/20/us-medical-abortions-are-safe- study-idUSBRE8BJ1CW20121220>. Rochman, Bonnie, and Bonnie Rochman. "Why Abortion Is Less Risky than Childbirth | TIME.com." Time. Time, 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. <http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/25/why-abortion-is-less-risky-than-childbirth/>.
  • 10. Kamran 10 Peter Frank, MD, et al., "The Effect of Induced Abortion on Subsequent Fertility," Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth, June 1993 Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, "Anti-choice Claims About Abortion and Breast Cancer," www.plannedparenthoodnj.org (accessed Apr. 1, 2010) March of Dimes. "Birth Defects." March of Dimes. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/birth-defects.aspx>.