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Abortion is a sensitive subject that sparks debates worldwide. Its supporters claim that the aspect is permissible as women have a right to autonomy. Also, they assert that the act would reduce social problems such as poverty among low-income women. Currently, abortion is considered illegal in the U.S. Despite its motive to protect the fetus’s life; it generates more harm to society. Thus, it is essential to analyze these negative impacts to ascertain that abortion should not be banned.
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Banning Abortion Does Not Prevent Women from Terminating Unwanted Pregnancies
The belief that illegalizing abortion would stop women from seeking an abortion is flawed. Amnesty International (2022) highlights that regardless of whether abortion is illegal, women with unwanted pregnancies will still do it. The law does not prevent their actions. For illustration, according to Guttmacher Institute, 37 women among 1000 undergo the abortion process in states that prohibit the act and 34 out of 1000 in states that legalized it (Amnesty International, 2022). These negligible differences portray that the law is not efficient in protecting fetal life. The women in these states that prohibit abortion may perform self-induced abortions or seek help from quacks. Amnesty International (2022) reports that approximately 25 million unsafe abortions happen annually, especially in states with restrictive abortion laws. These unsafe abortions may cause health complications or death among women.
Illegalizing abortion Increases Societal Inequality
Banning abortion elevates inequity in society. Gostin (2022) demonstrates that restrictive abortion laws widen the inequality gap between high-income and low-income groups. Since abortion is banned in most states, women are often forced to travel to states that legalize abortion. However, due to insufficient capital, low-income women are forced to carry the pregnancy full-term or perform a dangerous self-induced abortion. Gostin (2022) explains that women of color, those in rural areas, and abusive relationships suffer the most. In contrast, their White counterparts are the least affected as they have the capital to access the services in states that legalized abortion. For illustration, only 9% of White women live in poverty compared to 20% of Black and Hispanic women (Oberman, 2022). Besides, due to poverty, these women end up giving birth. With a heightened number of children, they cannot afford necessities such as food, good housing, and clothes. Oberman (2022) reveals that there is a 75%-90% probability for children born by women that were denied an abortion to experience poverty. As a result, they might develop health issues due to poor living conditions.
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Banning Abortion Violates Women’s Rights
Banning abortion undermines women’s rights and freedom. Gostin (2022) explains that international law guarantees freedom from coercion and discrimination based on a person’s body and sexual and reproductive rights. It asserts that individuals have a right to make independent choices regarding their sexuality and reproduction. For illustration, if they intend to bear children or not since it is their body. Since abortion primarily restricts women from terminating their pregnancies, it violates their freedom to make autonomous decisions regarding their bodies. Equally, international law prohibits discrimination against women (Gostin, 2022). Thus, preventing them from seeking abortion violates the law. The denial is cruel as it infringes on the women’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. They are forced with the burden to carry it full term against their choice. As a result, they get into forced motherhood. Oberman (2022) demonstrates that although anti-abortion activists offer adoption as the solution for forced motherhood, it is not feasible. Most women that want abortion may not give up their baby. For illustration, less than two percent of women that sought abortion services gave up their babies (Oberman, 2022). Hence, they remain stuck with children that they do not want.
Banning Abortion Increases Poor Health Outcomes and Mortality Rates Among Women
Banning abortion subjects women to poor health outcomes and high mortality rates. Davis (2022) reports that the anti-abortion in the U.S heavily penalizes health practitioners that offer medical services to women seeking an abortion. In some states, the law is highly restrictive such that enforcement agencies put crackdown on such doctors. For example, Texas offers incentives to citizens to report anyone who helps conduct an abortion (Davis, 2022). Due to these restrictions, women have no access to safe abortion. They opt for self-abortion or seek unqualified medical practitioners. Guenther (2018) reveal that due to restrictive abortion laws, approximately one million women sought an illegal abortion. As a result, they are exposed to major health complications. In some instances, they die as the quack doctors do not have sufficient equipment and skills to manage the complications. Stevenson et al. (2022) illustrate that banning abortion increased maternal deaths in 2020 by approximately 58%. These deaths may have been prevented if the law allowed women access to legal and safe abortion procedures.
Overall, banning abortion negatively impacts society. It does not stop women with unwanted pregnancies from seeking abortion services. Instead, it forces them to resort to unsafe procedures and quack doctors. Also, banning abortion generates more adverse impacts than good. For illustration, it promotes societal inequality, violates women’s rights and freedom, and increases poor health outcomes and mortality rates among women seeking an abortion. Due to these negative effects, it is imperative to legalize abortion.
- Amnesty International (2022). Key facts on abortion. Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/abortion-facts/
- Davis, M. F. (2022). The state of abortion rights in the U.S. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 159(1), 324-329. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.14392
- Gostin, L. O. (2022). The U.S. turns its back on women’s reproductive rights. bmj, 377. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1206
- Guenther, A. (2018). Review of United States Abortion Policy. https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1807&context=honors_research_projects
- Oberman, M. (2022). What will and won’t happen when abortion is banned. Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 9(1), lsac011. https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsac011
- Stevenson, J. A., Root, L., & Menken, J. (2022). The maternal mortality consequences of losing abortion access https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/7g29k/