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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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