The number of unwanted pregnancies in a yearly basis is at 70 million, and this is according to research. There are many reasons why women choose to have abortions. Some of the reasons include; economic resources, family relationships, medical care availability and the health of the woman. The given reasons will influence the decision a woman makes concerning whether to undergo an abortion or to keep the pregnancy. The woman is the one who makes the final decision concerning the abortion issue. The issue of abortion is often the cause of debate among many people and thus, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
This paper seeks to give an analysis on the reasons why women should be accorded the right to safe and legal abortions. It also seeks to refute the claims and arguments that exist concerning anti-abortion.
The reproductive life and health of women should be respected by governments. The latter should create an environment whereby, human rights decisions are made by women. Every year, the number of women who have abortions is 46 million. It is vital that the pregnancy is terminated safely, due to accessibility of care and facilities that exist for this purpose. Abortion is a basic right that women have, and governments should not punish women. The health and life of a woman is at risk when she decides to have an abortion in facilities not approved by the government. Freedom from discrimination, health and life guarantee, are reasons why abortion should be legal. Furthermore, decision making that focuses on reproductive autonomy is another reason for advocating for abortion (World Health Organization, 2003.1).
Various instruments of human rights advocate for the right to life. According to research, most women lose their lives in countries where abortion is not allowed by law. This is because the practice is life threatening and unsafe. The World Health Organization estimates that every year, the number of unsafe abortions is 20 million. In turn, the number of women who lose their lives is 70,000 (World Health Organization, 2003.1). The right to life, which women have, is infringed upon by laws that do not allow abortion. The result is that maternal mortality rates are high due to unsafe abortions. Governments have been given a mandate by the United Nations to ensure that women undergo safe abortions. Moreover, governments should enact laws that are in favor of abortion and thus, women will benefit.
Secondly, the right to health of the highest standards is awarded to women, and this is according to International Law. The health of women is threatened if they undergo abortions, which are unsafe. They are highly susceptible to Pelvic Inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, and uterine perforation. Governments should implement and come up with laws that will maintain and promote the health of women. This is possible through making abortion services accessible, and the legal restrictions that exist being removed. A concern of public health is that unsafe abortions have an enormous impact to society. If abortion is legalized, providers of abortion services should be well equipped and trained. All key measures should be considered to ensure the health of women is safeguarded (Shah, 2004.15).
Thirdly, according to the law on human rights, women are entitled to right to gender. This is because humans should be free from discrimination, as they are protected by several rights. When women are not allowed to have abortions, which are safe, they are being discriminated against. Countries that have banned abortion are in reality discriminating women. Women cannot enjoy excellent health if access to safe abortion is denied (Berer, 2000.585). In the end, unwanted pregnancies bring about emotional and physical consequences that affect the woman. Some injuries that are maternally related include; obstructed labor and hemorrhage. Men do not experience the problems and risks that women do after obtaining an abortion (Berer, 2005.7). Women are denied the opportunity to control their lives and their bodies, as their capacity is undermined and denigrated. In some cultures, if women are awarded rights, they are viewed as being superior to men. The latter is a form of discrimination that should not be allowed as its impact is detrimental.
Lastly, women have rights that dictate their reproductive self determination. This means that they are responsible for decisions that affect their bodies. Matters that are private should be respected; as if this is not adhered to it infringes a basic right. Some of these rights include; privacy, spacing children before giving birth, and being free to make decisions. The emotional and physical well being of women is threatened is they keep unwanted pregnancies. Since it is women who know when they are ready to make decisions, governments should not interfere. If governments make abortion safe and legal, women will benefit (Pollack & Pine, 2000.187). They plan for families that they can effectively take care off without any burdens. Women who are raped should not be forced to bear children who will not be loved and accepted. In turn, the child will be miserable, as they lack motherly love and thus their lives are ruined. Also, research has found out that some women become pregnant due to failed contraceptives. Thus, seeking an abortion is a right that should be entitled to such women, as they are not ready to have children.
Counter arguments exist among people who do not want abortion to be legalized. It is believed by religious groups that abortion is a sin, as it takes a life. In this case, it is the life of the unborn child. According to the Christian Holy Bible, those who have an abortion have committed the sin of murder. In society, those found guilty of committing murder are punished by the law. The latter should also be applicable to those who undergo and perform abortions. Another argument, which exists concerning abortion, is that women risk losing their lives when they have abortions. It is likely that they will lose their lives while undergoing the procedure or while recuperating. Furthermore, the cost of health services has increased drastically, and treating the complications of abortion is extremely expensive. This means that the money should be used for more beneficial matters, rather than in committing murder.
In conclusion, abortion should be safe as well as legal, so that women benefit from the procedure. Furthermore, a lot should be done to ensure that governments make abortion services legal. In turn, women will live lives that are meaningful and healthy, as they make decisions that are vital to them. Indeed, abortion is an issue, that should be, dealt with accordingly while keeping in mind, the right of women.
World Health Organization (WHO), Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems 12 (2003).
Pollack, A. & Pine, N. Opening a door to safe abortion: international perspectives on medical abortifacient use. Journal of America Medical Women’s Association, 55, (2000): 186–88.
Berer, M. Making abortions safe: a matter of good public health policy and practice. Bull World Health Organ 2000; 78: 580–92.
Shah, I. & Ahman, E. Age patterns of unsafe abortion in developing country regions. Reproductive Health Matters, 12, (2004): 9–17.
Berer, M. National laws and unsafe abortion: the parameters of change. Reproductive Health Matters, 12, (2004): 1–8.
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