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Destinee Montoya
POLS 1100-355
Term Essay
13 April 2019
Why Should We Care About Abortion?

According to the article “Medical Definition of Abortion” by William C. Shiel Jr., MD,

FACP, FACR, in medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the

fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus (Shiel). It’s the loss of a pregnancy and

does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost. Merriam-Webster defines abortion as the

termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death

of the embryo or fetus: such as a spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first twelve

weeks of gestation, induced expulsion of a human fetus, or explosion of a fetus by a domestic

animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy (Merriam-Webster).

Abortion is important and matters because access to safe abortion has been labelled as a

fundamental human right by the International Women’s Coalition, who stated that: A woman

should have the choice to carry a pregnancy to term or not; Abortion services should be part of a

comprehensive sexual health program; Lack of funding and illegality do not reduce the number

of abortions, they only serve to put the woman’s health in danger (Reynolds-Wright). Despite

this, abortion remains to be illegal or difficult to access in many countries and has come under

renewed attack in the Western world (Reynolds-Wright). For example, in the United States,

certain states have introduced laws that require women to listen to fetal heartbeat monitors or to

undergo a transvaginal ultrasound scan before being permitted to proceed with an abortion, with

the intent to discourage them into not having an abortion (Reynolds-Wright).


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When it comes to the arguments that surround the discussion of abortion, there are only

two prominent perspectives that currently exist, which are the pro-life and the pro-choice

movements. The pro-life movement is the movement that blocks women’s access to legal

abortion and to recriminalize the procedure, and the abortion rights opponents coined the term

“pro-life” after the Supreme Court ruled in 1973’s Roe v. Wade that the Constitution of the

United States protects abortion rights (Dictionary of American History). The pro-life movement

says that the right to life should always outweigh the right of an individual to equality or to

control their own body (BBC Ethics Guide).

The pro-life movement argues that abortion doesn’t do anything to liberate women, but

instead allows society not to cater to women’s needs. The movement thinks that what women

need for equality is not free access to abortion but to be given what they need to survive

financially and socially as mothers, which is inexpensive, readily available childcare, a

workplace or school that acknowledges the needs of mothers, e.g. providing flexible scheduling

and maternity leave, and state support that helps to reintegrate a woman to the workforce (BBC

Ethics Guide). They say that if women didn’t have the ability to get an abortion so easily,

governments would need to invest more money in supporting mothers.

The pro-life movement believes that abortion is a male plot because men often support

abortion for a thoroughly bad reason. It argues that men see the risk of pregnancy as something

that stops them from having sex when they want it (BBC Ethics Guide). If men can achieve full

sexual freedom (i.e. the freedom to have sex without responsibility) it is essential that abortion

be freely available to backup contraception, which means that abortion on demand is vital if men

are going to be able to have women on demand, and thus men are arguing for abortion so that

they continue to exploit women (BBC Ethics Guide).


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The pro-choice movement believes that women should be able to have control over their

reproductive lives as a legal fact and fundamental right and that women should be able to have

access to safe abortions. It has sought to keep abortion safe, legal, and accessible to women.

Advocates of abortion rights began using the term “pro-choice” in the years after the 1973

Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which found that the Constitution of the United States

protects abortion rights (Dictionary of American History). The movement adopted the term to

emphasize that their cause is women's choice, not abortion per se, and to counter the anti-

abortion, or "pro-life," movement's description of them as "pro-abortion," (Dictionary of

American History).

Many people within the pro-choice movement regard the right to control one’s own body

as a key moral right. If women are not given the ability/are not allowed to abort an unwanted

fetus, then they’re being deprived of this right (BBC Ethics Guide). Going along with the

women’s rights argument that is in favor of abortion, every woman has the right to decide what

she can and can’t do with her body since her body is her own. Since the fetus exists inside of a

woman’s body, she has the right to decide whether to abort the fetus or not.

Abortion rights are quite vital for gender equality when it comes to this movement. If a

woman isn't allowed to have an abortion, she is not only forced to continue the pregnancy to

birth but is also expected by society to support and look after the resulting child for many years

to come without any real help or support. This movement tends to argue that only if women have

the right to choose whether or not to have children can they achieve equality with men, which is

mainly due to the fact that men don’t get pregnant, and so they’re not really restricted in the

same way as women are (BBC Ethics Guide). Women’s freedom and life choices can be very

limited by bearing children, and the stereotypes, social customs, and oppressive duties that went
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with it, which means that having access to abortion can be very beneficial in situations such as

these.

My perspective on the subject/issue of abortion is that it is very vital and critical to

women’s health, and by having access to safe and legal abortion is saving women’s lives. If

women didn’t have the right to safe and legal abortion options, they would most likely be turning

to potentially unsafe and dangerous options that could result in serious injuries and are putting

their health at risk. Having the right to safe and legal abortion can potentially save women's lives

in the tragic and unfortunate situation of sexual assault. For example, say a teenage girl was

raped by a very close friend of hers and gets pregnant, but knows that carrying and giving birth

to the fetus would cause her a tremendous amount of psychological pain. What other options

does she have besides having an abortion? Sure, she can put the baby up for adoption, but it’s not

a guarantee that the baby will be adopted, and she doesn’t want it to be put in foster care because

of the abuse that children tend to experience when they grow up in the foster care system. I think

that if we were to completely remove the access to safe and legal abortion, it wouldn't change the

need that we have for them and women would still find a way to get an abortion, even if it's

illegal and could kill them.

Something that we can try to do as a community/country about keeping abortions safe

and legal is making sure that they’re easily accessible to women, which means that women

shouldn’t have to drive hours away to visit the one abortion clinic in their state. The legal

restrictions for getting an abortion in certain states are getting tighter and tighter, but new laws

aren’t the only obstacle women face when they are looking to end a pregnancy (Keneally). Iowa,

Louisiana, and Arkansas are three states where multiple abortion clinics have closed in recent

years, and now those states are coming out with new laws that shorten the time frame that
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women have to seek legal abortions (Keneally). I think that by challenging these restrictions and

letting our government know that these clinics are vital to women’s health and well-being, it

might get them to change the way that abortion is approached, especially when it comes to so

many clinics being closed for ridiculous reasons.

Another solution to the abortion issue in our community/country is normalizing the idea

of getting an abortion. There tends to a large number of misconceptions that surround getting an

abortion, like the idea that it's the easy way out, or that women that get abortions don't have any

negative feelings about getting one. Having an abortion shouldn't be viewed as the easy way out

by our society because of the amount of emotional and mental preparation that goes into the

process of getting one. Women aren’t getting abortions because it’s the hip new trend, they’re

most likely getting them because they have no other options and aren’t in a situation where

having a child is realistic or responsible. Many of these women experience depression and shame

after having an abortion, even if it was the only option for them, which shows us that they’re

capable of experiencing negative feelings about this. Maybe by normalizing the concept of a

having an abortion, it would change the way that our society views this issue and how we treat

the women who have had one.


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Works Cited

BBC Ethics Guide. Arguments against abortion. n.d. Web. 13 April 2019.

—. Arguments in favour of abortion. n.d. Web. 13 April 2019.

Dictionary of American History. Pro-Choice Movement. n.d. Web. 12 April 2019.

—. Pro-Life Movement. n.d. Web. 13 April 2019.

Keneally, Meghan. In growing number of states, women seeking abortions face the problem of

where to go. 14 June 2018. Web. 13 April 2019.

Merriam-Webster. Abortion. n.d. Web. 13 April 2019.

Reynolds-Wright, John. The moral and philosophical importance of abortion. 31 October 2012.

Web. 13 April 2019.

Shiel, William C., Jr. Medical Definition of Abortion. 4 December 2018. Web. 13 April 2019.