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DEATH BEFORE LIFE: CONTROVERSIAL VIEW ON ABORTION

what makes the issue of abortion so controversial globally? why should abortion be either legal or not legalized?

Oheneba Kwakye Omane
Oheneba Kwakye Omane

Still remains a global controversy; the take on abortion, whether we should frown on it or encourage it. What stirs up this issue has to do with the different perspectives and beliefs (religious, moral, political and practical) to which abortion is approached. Obviously there are those for and those against. This write-up seeks to look at what abortion is, the arguments of the two dominant ideologies concerning abortion rights, (‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ believers), and the bottom line. With that being said, I would like to point out that this article is by no means comprehensive. Abortion is an emotive issue, and there is a vast spectrum of positions which one might subscribe to and I would touch on a few, simplified.

SO WHAT IS ABORTION?

Abortion is simply termination of pregnancy. It is when a pregnancy ends early without the natural birth of the child before it is ready to survive outside the uterus. Abortions can either be planned or unintentional. If you have ever heard of ‘miscarriage’, know that we are referring to an abortion that occurs without any deliberate intervention; this is also called ‘spontaneous abortion’. the opposite is what we call ‘induced abortion.’ This is when deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy. I take it that most are not really familiar with this difference, hence always making reference to ‘induced abortion’ when they hear the word ‘abortion’.

There are two types of abortion treatment - ‘medical’ and ‘surgical’ abortion. The former has to do with taking abortion pills, whether early (up to 10 weeks) or from 10 weeks up to 24 weeks. The surgical option involves a quick minor operation which could be either vacuum/suction aspiration (up to 15weeks) or dilation and evacuation (between 15 and 24 weeks). With vacuum aspiration, a gentle suction is performed with a vacuum source to remove an embryo or foetus through the cervix. Dilation and evacuation is the dilation of the cervix and surgical evacuation of the uterus after the first trimester of pregnancy.

WHEN ABORTION COMES IN PLAY

Abortion, especially induced is applied when several options are observed. In general they can fall under;

1. Unplanned pregnancy - this can happen when no birth control is used or incorrectly used to prevent pregnancy.

2. When tests reveal that the foetus is abnormal.

3. When the mother’s health is at risk (therapeutic abortion).

PRO CHOICE OR PRO LIFE?

The decision to go ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ on abortion is heavily influenced on religious, moral, political and practical beliefs. Taking cues from the respective terms ‘pro choice’ and pro life’, we can almost deduce the meanings.

According to planned parenthood federation of America, individuals who distinguish as pro choice are the ones persuaded that everybody has the fundamental common liberty to choose (decision) when and whether to have children. All in all, "when you say you are pro choice, you are telling individuals that you accept its alright for them to pick abortion as a possibility for an unplanned pregnancy - regardless of whether you wouldn't pick it for yourself."

The individuals who go against this way of thinking distinguish themselves as pro life. They are worried about the existence of the fertilized egg, embryo or foetus (terms given during the various phases of conception and pregnancy). Honestly, planned parenthood likes to massage these terms and supplant them with the words 'pro-reproductive right' and 'against abortion' to portray individuals' convictions about abortion access. I accept this thought glances at zeroing in on the 'access to abortion' more than the convictions. The access here alludes to the ability to get hold of a certified abortion provider, manage the cost of it and different elements that permits one to practice their right to abortion. In straightforward terms, the individuals who are pro life accept abortion ought to be banned and pro choice accept  abortion ought to be kept lawful and available.

Actually, the issues encompassing these debates are significantly more intricate than they show up. This is because of the reality of people not arriving at an agreement on when (stage) pregnancy or 'life starts' for the kid. Some accept that pregnancy starts with the fertilization of the egg. Most specialists likewise accept that pregnancy starts when the implantation of the fertilized egg into the  lining of the uterus is complete.

The pro life and pro choice to decision developments cover to a degree in that the two of them share the objective of diminishing the quantity of abortions. Nonetheless, they contrast as for how to go about it.

AGREEMENT AND CONFLICTING THEORIES

Every person has the right to life. But at which stage of the pregnancy do we call the it a person….? The university of Missouri school of medicine believes this situation is complicated by the fact that the embryo and foetus undergo continual physical development.

The physical development of the embryo and foetus occur during a nine-month period. First an egg cell is fertilized by a sperm cell during a 24 hour long process. During this time the sperm cell moves through the area surrounding the egg cell, enters the egg cell, and merges its genetic material with the genetic material in the egg cell. Completion of this process results in a single-celled zygote with chromosomes from both sperm and egg cells.

About 30 hours after fertilization is complete the zygote begins cell division and the number of cells increases. At four days after fertilization the organism moves to the uterus, floats for about two days, and then it attaches itself to the uterine wall between the seventh and twelfth day (implantation). At the end of the first week the organism is attached to the uterine wall and is being nourished by the mother.

After implantation, cells further differentiate and the embryo is increasingly structured. Some rudimentary form of the heart is pumping the embryo’s own blood within a month. There is some indication that brain waves can be recorded by about six weeks. At the end of eight weeks the embryo is “swimming” within a fluid filled amniotic sac. At nine weeks the organism is a foetus, the heart is almost fully developed by the tenth week, within a few more weeks the brain is fully formed, and by the fifteenth week the eyes face forward and the ears are on the side of the head. Movement felt by the mother may occur from about the eighteenth week and the foetus is viable from about the twenty-second week, when it is eight inches long and weighs a pound. Birth is usually after thirty-nine weeks.

During the process of embryonic and fetal development, the organism is alive, attached to the mother for life support, and increasingly resembling a human baby in appearance. The developing organism is termed an “embryo” up until the end of eight weeks and after that a “foetus.”

A few scholars accept that the ethical status of the embryo or foetus changes relying upon its specific phase of physical development. For those scholars, before a specific point, abortion is ethically permissible, while after that point it is impermissible. Yet, there is conflict about where that line of boundary is:

viability (when it can survive outside the womb),

quickening (distinguishable movement within the womb),

brain waves occurring,

resembling a baby in appearing, and so forth

Let’s dissect a few arguments from both sides through the lens of University of Missouri medical school:

WITH RESPECT TO MOTHER’S FREEDOM OVER HER BODY

A few group of people (pro choice) accept that the foetus is part for the mother's body and the mother can do anything she desires with her body. In any case, numerous individuals feel that you can't generally do what you want with your own body. For instance, people believe that committing suicide isn't right, the greater part of us think utilizing your body to deliberately hurt another honest individual isn't right, harming your body through substance abuse is regularly viewed as off-base.

WITH RESPECT TO FOETUS AS PART OF THE MOTHER’S BODY

The connection between the mother's body and the foetus or embryo is extremely one of a kind. Is it clear to the point that the foetus is "part" of the mother's body, similar to how an internal organ is part of the body? Is it because it is truly situated inside the body of the mother? In the event that through some innovation the embryo were truly situated outside her body, would a similar case be made? Assuming it is on the grounds that they are connected, doesn't that likewise mean the mother is part of the body of the foetus or embryo? On the off chance that it's just the mother's body supporting the embryo or foetus, how does this make one part of the other?

Many things are supported by other things without the former being a part of the latter – a child is supported by a parent, and a patient in a medical centre is supported by a heart-lung machine. Is it on the grounds that the foetus and other tissues are developing from the egg cell that was part of the mother? The egg cell may have been part her body, yet the sperm cell was not, and the resulting organism is from both. So if what makes the  foetus part of her body is that it developed from her cell, at that point the embryo is similarly  part of the father's body. What is part of the body of the mother is the uterus, obviously, and the uterus is in contact with different tissues that are not there when she isn't pregnant, and which are not clearly viewed as the mother's body parts – the uterine sac, the placenta, and so on. The fact isn't that the baby isn't relying upon the mother or not in contact with the mother, but rather that, it isn't evident that every one of the important tissues – particularly the foetus – can be portrayed without contention as belonging to the mother's body. What we have is its own organism with its own genetic makeup and its own body.

What do you think? I’d leave you to brood over that.

WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE?

This is the part where I share my candid opinion on the issue of induced abortion. I believe this hullabaloo of being pro life or pro choice is quite exaggerated. Unfortunately, because of the gigantic malevolence each camp feels toward the other, usually neither side endeavors to comprehend the other. As expressed before, these 'classifications' don't reflect and address the mind boggling or complex nature of the realities in regards to induced abortion. So we should respect real life choices individuals and their families face regularly, like the decision of adoption, proceeding or terminating a pregnancy. These important choices ought to be made by the pregnant person with the close guidance of their beliefs or convictions, family and their health care provider.

MY HUMBLE TAKE

Following the scholar Donald Marquis who proposes that the explanation murdering innocent individuals isn't right, due to the fact that the victim loses the worth of their future. Consequently, a child or adult who is murdered loses the worth of their future encounters, experiences and activities. In any case, at that point this likewise applies to a foetus, whose future comprises of similar kinds of encounters. It doesn't make any difference that the baby can't really be esteeming their future at the moment in time. A suicidal individual probably won't esteem their future experiences, yet the future can in any case have an value for the individual. So Marquis thinks he has pinpointed why induced abortion isn't right. Not everyone concurs with his analysis however; but I do.

Nevertheless, there are legitimate reasons for abortion such as when tests indicate serious genetic or abnormal structural conditions of foetus. Also, when the pregnancy poses a greater health hazard to either the pregnant woman, the baby or both.

The denial of access to carry out abortion procedures in such situations might turn out to be detrimental. Studies show that more women will die from closet abortions if driven underground. Reducing access to abortion doesn’t quell the demand for abortion, and making abortion illegal simply makes abortion less safe. Evidence suggests that the abortion rate is approximately equal in countries with and without legal abortion. A 2012 Lancet study found that regions with restricted abortion access have higher rates than more liberal areas, and restricted regions had a much higher incidence of unsafe abortion. Worldwide, about 42 million women a year choose to get abortions, and of these about 21.6 million are unsafe. The consequences of this are grim, resulting in around 47,000 maternal deaths a year. This makes it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality (13%), and can lead to serious complications even when survived.

So in my conclusion, induced abortion sometimes, is at best an indispensable treachery or even a vital insidiousness.

REFERENCES

Abortion. 2020. Retrieved from https:www.medicine.missouri.edu/centers-institutes-labs/health-ethics/faq/abortion.

Grimes D. A., Benson J., Singh S., Romero M., Ganatra B., Okonofua F. E,, Shah I. H. (2006). Unsafe abortion: the preventable pandemic. The Lancet Sexual and Reproductive Health Series.

Head,Tom.(2020, August 27). The Pro-life vs Pro-Choice Debate. Retrieved from https:www.thoughtco.com/pro-life-vs-pro-choice-721108

Marquis, D.(1989). “Why Abortion is immoral” Journal of Philosophy.

Miriam. (2019). Can you explain what pro-choice means and pro-life means? Retrieved from https:www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/ask-experts/Can-you-explain-what-pro-choice-means-and-pro-life-means-im-supposed-to-do-it-for-class-thanks

Oheneba Kwakye Omane

Diligent, Focused, Visionary, Medical Enthusiast and Futurist.