Whether women should be allowed to legally have an abortion has divided Americans for the last couple of decades. This article will explore the pros and cons of having an abortion as well as whether women should be legally allowed to have one. We will explore the argument for abortion and the arguments against abortion. We will end the article by giving our opinion on the matter of abortion.
Proponents of allowing abortions identify themselves as pro-choice and believe that having an abortion is a fundamental right that should not be limited or interfered with by the government or religion. They also believe that the women’s right to have an abortion takes precedence over any rights that an embryo or fetus has.
Opponents of abortions identify themselves as pro-life and argue that human life begins at fertilization and that killing the embryo or fetus is the same as killing an innocent human being.
There are people who occupy the middle ground and argue in favor of abortion and against it depending on the circumstances. Some proponents of abortion believe that abortion should be possible in some circumstances but not all. Some opponents of abortion believe that abortion should not be legal under any circumstances while some are for abortion in certain limited circumstances, such as incest, rape, or when a woman’s life is at risk.
Should Abortions be Legal?
We will now discuss whether abortion should be legal. We will give the most common arguments that are used to justify the argument that women should have the right to legally perform an abortion and the arguments against the right of women to have an abortion. Also, you will find abortion pros and cons.
Argument #1 For Abortion | Fundamental Right
According to the United States Supreme Court, abortion is a “fundamental right” that’s guaranteed to every American by the Constitution. The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, recognizes women’s right to have an abortion and declared it as the Supreme law of the land. In the 7 to 2 decision, the courts declared that the constitution “guarantees to privacy” and the right to privacy includes the right of women to decide whether to determinate her pregnancy. Source
Argument #1 Against Abortion | Abortion is Murder
The first argument that an opponent of abortion will make is that abortion is murder and that by having an abortion you are killing an innocent human being which is morally wrong. The U.S Government considers unborn babies as human beings yet to be born. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act is a U.S Law that recognizes an embryo or a fetus in utero as a human being and makes it a crime to kill or attempt to kill a child who is in his mother’s uterus. Source
Argument #2 For Abortion | Right to Abort Empowers Women
Proponents argue that giving women the choice of when and where to have children gives women independence and the ability to map out their future. Allowing women to control when they have children allows them to be productive in their economic and social life. Proponents also argue that allowing women to abort gives them autonomy to plan their life and enjoy equal citizenship as men enjoy.
Pro-life advocates reply to this argument by stating that this argument does not empower women but instead conditions their right to participate in the workforce and society by undergoing surgery and sacrificing their children. Advocates against abortion further state that no women should have to sacrifice her children to fully participate in society. Source
Argument #2 Against Abortion | Life Begins at Conception
Those who argue against abortion state that a human individual with a unique genetic identity is created at the time of fertilization, as such the individual has a fundamental right to life that should be protected. Opponents of abortion argue that human life begins when the sperm and egg meet, creating a new cell and that a unique human being is formed at the early stage of fertilization.
So, is the newly created cell a human being? Is it alive? Opponents of abortion argue that once the sperm penetrates the egg, a new entity comes into existence and it’s known as a zygote. A zygote is the name of the first cell that’s formed immediately at conception. The zygote is composed of human DNA and other human molecules, so it’s definitely human and not some other sort of species. Therefore, claiming that abortions only involve a woman and her body are worthless because a zygote is a human organism.
Scientists define human being as an organism that’s composed of a complex structure of interdependent organs that can carry on the activities of life. The zygote meets these requirements and will continue to develop and grow by forming a body, birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, and aging, ending with death.
That said, some pro-choice responses include conceding that an human organism has been formed and go on to argue that the entity in the womb is not yet a “person,” and since only persons are given 14th amendment protection under the Constitution, the court in Roe v. Wade argued that abortions could be legally performed at certain times. Source
Argument #3 For Abortion | Fetus Viability
Fetus viability refers to the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb after birth regardless of whether the birth was forced or occurs naturally. Pro-choicers argue that abortions only terminate pregnancies and not a baby, but this argument can be debated especially when you consider the facts.
Approximately 0% of babies can survive outside the womb at 21 weeks or less whereas 40% to 70% of babies can survive outside the womb at 24 weeks. The chances of a baby surviving outside the womb grows to approximately 80% to 90% of babies surviving outside the womb at only 26 weeks. So, making the argument that a woman can terminate a pregnancy after 24 weeks is pretty difficult when you take into consideration the fact that a baby almost has a 50/50 shot of surviving outside the womb at only 24 weeks. Source
Argument #3 Against Abortion | Your Fetus Can Feel the Pain of an Abortion
People arguing against abortion state that a fetus feels the pain while a woman undergoes an abortion. The US Federal Government is considering legislation to inform women seeking an abortion that “there is substantial evidence to support the notion that abortions will cause unborn children pain.” Source
The bill goes on to state that a fetuses that are more than 22 weeks of gestational age should receive pain reducing drugs before women undergo an abortion. There is some agreement among medical professionals that undergoing an abortion at any time after 20 weeks of gestation will cause pain to the fetus and they believe that the pain will be severe an excruciating.
Argument #4 For Abortion | Fetuses Cannot Feel Pain
Those who support a woman’s right to have an abortion argue that babies do not feel pain during abortions. They support their argument by referring to neuroscientists who believe that babies must have a developed cortex to experience pain and that this cortex does not become function until at least 25th week of a fetus’ development, which is long after most abortions take place.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses the argument we made in the paragraph above and states that “there is no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain. Source
This is so because the biological development in babies is not complete and that the environment after birth is necessary to enable babies to feel pain. They also state that mere reflexes are not a good enough indication that a fetus has felt pain.
Argument #4 Against Abortion | Abortion Involves Killing a Human Being which is Against What God Wants
Opponents of abortion argue that according to the Bible, God recognizes a baby as soon as the baby is conceived. They point to Jeremiah 1:5, which states that “”Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” Combines this verse with the Sixth Commandment of the Old Testaments that states, “Thou shalt not kill” and you can interpret the Bible as stating that we should not kill any human being including unborn babies.
According to Muslim scholars, abortion is permitted only in some limited circumstances. Some scholars state that Islamic Law permits abortion at the first 16 weeks of pregnancy while other only say its permitted in the first 7 weeks of pregnancy. Source
Most Muslim Scholars state that a fetus in the womb of a woman is a protected life similarly to what Christianity teaches. However, even the scholars who state the Islamic law permits women to have an abortion believe that it is wrong but not a punishable wrong. The more advanced the pregnancy, the greater the wrong. Source
Argument #5 For Abortion | Access to Licensed Abortion Clinic Reduces Harm and Death by Unsafe and Illegal Abortions
Those who argue in favor of allowing abortions state that before allowing legal abortions, women would often try to induce abortions by taking things into their own hand or by going to unsafe and unlicensed abortionists that do not have the proper medical training or facilities to perform abortions and therefore put the life of the mother at risk. NPR argues that abortions should be legal because they are safe and the mother is taken care of during the abortion as well as after its concluded. This reduces the risk of any harm to the mother. Allowing the government to limit access to legal abortions interferes with the safety of abortions by creating a barrier to safe and effective care. Source
Argument #5 Against Abortion | Abortions Cause Depression & Regret
Scientists have performed research that shows that women who undergo an abortion are at risk for depression. The experience is not an easy one and women who undergo an abortion has suffer from anxiety and depression up to five years after terminating their pregnancy.
The Southern Medical Journal conducted a peer-reviewed study that surveyed 173,000 American women who underwent abortions and found that they were 154% more likely to commit suicide than women who did not abort their pregnancy and carried their children until they were born. Source
Additionally, many women have spoken out to share their experience after undergoing an abortion. Many women “felt overwhelming guilt, nightmares, excessive drinking, drug abuse, promiscuity, and an inability to form or maintain relationships, difficult bonding with later children, and other ways in which they suffered.” Source
Argument #6 For Abortion | Women Who Undergo Abortions are Less Likely to Suffer from Mental Health Problems
Proponents of allowing legal abortions argue that the notion that abortion causes poor mental health is incorrect and is not supported by research. Proponents cite a study that compared women who underwent an abortion to a group of women that were denied an abortion and they found that the women who were denied an abortion felt more regret and anger and less relief and happiness. On the other hand, 95% of the women who underwent an abortion felt that they had made the right decision by doing so.
Having said that, it’s important to note that although the women felt they made the right decision by undergoing an abortion, approximately 89% felt negatively about what they had done. Experiencing negative emotions post-abortion is different from believing that abortion was not the right decision.
Argument #6 Against Abortion | Abortions Reduce the Number of Babies Available For Adoption
People against abortion argue that instead of having the option to undergo an abortion, women should give their unwanted babies to people who want babies but cannot have them on their own. Researchers have found that the legalization of abortions has led to a substantial decline in the number of children adopted.
Before abortion became legally available, relinquishing children for adoption was one of the few options that women had to address an unwanted or mistimes birth. In 1970 there were 175,000 adoptions and the number significantly went down to 130,000 after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Also, before 1973, 9% of children born to unmarried women were placed up to adoption, whereas from 1982 to 1988, fewer than 1% of children burn to unmarried women were put up for adoption. Source
Argument #7 For Abortion | Abortions Reduce the Number of Children with Genetic Abnormalities
Pro-choice advocates believe that pregnant women should have access to legal abortions to reduce the number of children born with genetic abnormalities. They state that not allowing women to abort pregnancies where the fetus has genetic abnormalities is cruel. We agree that in certain circumstances were the fetus has genetic abnormalities, it would be cruel to force the mother to continue to carry the fetus because this will force them to have to care for a disabled child for the rest of their lives. Some people just don’t have the emotion and financial power to care for and raise a disabled child.
Argument #7 Against Abortion | Abortions Based on Genetic Abnormalities Constitutes Discrimination
Pro-life advocates argue that physical disabilities don’t make unborn children less human. They point to the Disability Rights Movement that works hard to secure equal opportunities for all people with disabilities, making raising a disabled child easier and more economic. Additionally, such organizations give disabled persons equal opportunities for living, employment, education, and housing therefore eliminating the argument that raising and living with a disabled child is difficult because now there is a system that assist them with their daily life. Source
Argument #8 For Abortion | Abortions Reduce Welfare Costs to Taxpayers
Pro-choice advocates argument that legalizing abortion reduces welfare costs in the long run because the government would only have to pay for the abortion itself and not pay for the child to be on a welfare after being born.
The CEO of Baltimore Planned Parenthood argues that a first trimester abortion costs approximately $450 to $950 (the cost varies depending on what stage of pregnancy you’re in, if you’re beyond the first trimester, you need to pay for a surgical suite which raises the prices substantially) making it cheaper to terminate an unwanted pregnancy rather than taking it to term. Some even go as far as to argue that abortion is a smart financial investment for taxpayers. While we don’t believe that your decision to undergo an abortion should be based on financial incentives for taxpayers, it’s an argument that we seen debated time and time again so we thought we would include it. Source
Argument #8 Against Abortion | Fetus has the Right to Life
Advocates against abortion argue that a fetus is a potential human being and as such has the right to life from the very earliest stage (when the egg is fertilized). They point to the U.S Constitution which states that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and that abortion deprive the unborn child the unalienable right to life that the Founding Fathers intended for them to enjoy.
Argument #9 For Abortion | Abortions Reduce Crime Rates
Pro-choice advocates that abortion reduce the crime rates. Harvard University conducted a study that concluded that the legalization of abortion contributed to significantly to reducing crime. The authors note that, “crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization,” reducing the crimes committed which costed $30 billion annually. Source
Levitt and Donahue add that the five states that legalized abortion earlier than 1973 (New York, California, Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska) experienced earlier declines in crime. This lends credibility to the argument that abortions have the ability to reduce crimes rates since some of the people who undergo abortions are less privileged and cannot afford to raise their children properly. Without having an abortion, they would give birth to children who are at risk of engaging in criminal activity.
Furthermore, women who have control over the timing of their childbearing are more likely to raise their children properly in good environments.
Here is a breakdown of the reduction in crime rates according to Donahue and Levitt:
- Murder rate has decreased by 49%
- Forcible rapes decreased by 32%
- Robberies have gone down by 39%
- Aggravated assaults have gone down by 39%
- Property crimes have dropped by 41%
So, Donahue and Levitt are completely correct when they say that crimes rates have substantially decreased since abortion became legally accessible. Source
Argument #9 Against Abortion | Abortions May Lead to Future Medical Problems for Women
Pro-life advocates argue that abortions may cause health issues for women who undergo the procedure. Such health issues include an increased risk of miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies. There are a few other risks associated with abortions, here are some of the most common ones:
- Pelvic Infection
- Uterus Blood Clots
- Heavy Bleeding Following an Abortion
- Cut or torn Cervix
- Punctures or Tears in the Wall of the Uterus
- Anesthesia Related Complications
- Scar tissue on the Uterine Wall
These are some of the risks associated with undergoing an abortion. Source
Argument #10 For Abortion | Abortions as a Means for Population Control
Advocates who are in favor of the legalization abortion claim that abortion offers a great method of population control. They argue that population control is an important but neglected social benefit of abortion. Overpopulation is a problem around the world so reducing the number of births addresses this problem. Source.
Here are some of the problems associated with overpopulation:
- Depletion of national resources
- Amplified climate change
- Depletion of fresh water
- Lower life expectancy
- Diminished quality of life
- Intensive farming practices to feed the growing population
- Rise in unemployment
- Rise in crime rates
- Lack of medical services
- Lack of effective educational services
Argument #10 Against Abortion | Abortion Eliminates the Potential Contributions of a Future Human Being to Society
Pro-lifers argue that legalizing abortions may deprive society of a human being that can make great contributions to society. Here is a list of famous people who were almost never born:
- Tim Tebow
- Justin Bieber
- Celine Dion
- Nick Canon
Just try imagining the world with these famous people! In some of these cases, doctors recommended that the moms abort their pregnancy for one reason or another, but the mothers refused to do so. Others considered undergoing an abortion but chose to give birth to their babies instead. Source
Here are Some U.S Abortion Statistics
Abortion statistics for the number of abortions that take place in the United States are available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute (AGI). The CDC publishes its information on an annual basis whereas AGI publishes its abortion statistics once every three years. The CDC gets its abortion stats from state health departments that report the numbers to them. Here are some of the numbers we found:
- In 2000, there were approximately 1,310,000 abortions
- In 2002, there were approximately 1,290,000 abortions
- In 2005, there were approximately 1,200,000 abortions
- In 2008, there were approximately 1,210,000 abortions
- In 2014, there were approximately 926,000 abortions
- In 2015, there were approximately 913,000 abortions
- In 2016, there were approximately 892,000 abortions
- In 2017, there were approximately 879,000 abortions
Approximately 53 million abortions took place from 1973 to 2011 in the United States alone. Source
According to the United Nations, online 9 countries in the entire world have an abortion rates that’s higher than the one that we have in the U.S. Here are the countries with higher abortion rates than the U.S:
These stats are from the UN.
States with Highest Abortion Rates
Here are the states with the highest abortion rates:
- District of Columbia (D.C) 38% of pregnancies are aborted
- New York 33%
- New Jersey 30%
- Maryland 24%
- Florida 21%
- California 20%
- Delaware 17%
- Illinois 16%
Here are states with the lowest abortion rates:
- Utah 5%
- South Dakota 4%
- Missouri 4.4%
- Mississippi 3.8%
- Wyoming – Less than 2%
Pros and Cons of Abortions
We hope that you found our article on the pros and cons of abortions helpful. We gathered the best arguments for abortions and the best arguments against abortions in one place. We scoured information sources to gather the most accurate arguments on abortion and we hope this article helps you form your opinion on the matter of abortion. If you found this article helpful or have any comments please leave them in the comments section below.