Life is sacred: keep abortion legal

Views 249 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 1 - 31 - 2017 | By: Samuel Muthiah

The issue of abortion has long been contentious in the United States, and the debate about its legality has once again been inflamed by the recent Women’s March. There are many aspects to the conversation about abortion, but for the sake of brevity, this article will not go into a discussion about when life begins and at what point a fetus becomes a human being. Rather, it will assume that a fetus is a human being and thus an abortion takes the life of a human being. However, even with this assumption, one should not seek to ban abortion.
Contrary to what may seem immediately apparent, this statement finds root in a commitment to the preservation of life. Importantly, this commitment covers not only unborn children, but also their mothers.
Assuming that an abortion kills a human being, we ought to seek to reduce the abortion rate as much as possible. Indeed, that is why many people advocate for a ban on abortions. However, banning abortion does not equate to reducing the rate of abortions. An in-depth study published in The Lancet in 2012 claims not only that “restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates,” but also “the abortion rate was lower . . . where women live under more liberal abortion laws”.
These findings support an earlier study by the World Health Organization that claimed, “the law does not influence a woman’s choice to have an abortion”. While some databases of abortion statistics seem to contradict these studies, abortion statistics often fail to account for the high rates of unreported illegal abortions.
However, while abortion rates may be comparable regardless of laws, the maternal mortality rate does not remain steady. Legal abortions tend to carry little risk for the mother; the CDC reported that from 2004-2008 mothers in the United States suffered 0.64 abortion related deaths for every 100,000 abortions. However, in countries with more restrictive abortion laws, that rate rises to 34 maternal deaths per
100,000 abortions.
One might argue that this difference is simply due to differences in medical care in different countries, but the same study notes that this difference in maternal mortality holds when looking at a single country before and after the change of abortion restrictions.
Clearly, making abortion illegal does nothing to actually stop abortions from happening, and only increases the safety risks to women. However, there are steps that can be taken to reduce abortion rates. For example, the increased usage of contraceptives correlates to reduced rates of abortion. There has been some disputation about this claim, and indeed, there have are times when increase in the use of contraceptives in a given country have correlated with increases in abortions in that country. However, these areas of correlation tend to occur when a country’s overall fertility levels are falling, and once fertility levels even out, use of contraceptives once again corresponds to decreases in abortion.
The entirety of arguments surrounding the issue of abortion cannot be encapsulated in the space provided. A fuller discussion would include both an exploration of when life begins and the effect abortion has on mothers. However, this much is clear: we ought to seek to preserve life—that of mothers, and, if we take fetuses to be humans, unborn children. Furthermore, if we analyze the facts available to us, the best way to preserve the lives of unborn children, along with the lives of their mothers, is to allow legal abortions and focus on alternatives such as contraception.


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