What to Do About Abortions
In his essay, “What I Saw at the Abortion,” Dr. Richard Selzer writes about his experience
witnessing an abortion for the first time. Selzer begins . . . [This section has been removed so students can do their own thinking and analysis of Selzer’s essay].
What to Do About Abortions
Abortion. That one word alone can silence any room that it is spoken into. It has always been an awkward, uncomfortable subject to talk about. Abortion poses a lot of questions for us as individuals, and seems to divide us as a nation. Pro-choice and pro-life are labels that define us in our society. No matter which category you fall under, you will be faced by scrutiny. You are a conservative, misogynist that wants to take the rights of women if you are pro-life. If you are prochoice, you condone murder of an innocent life. Both stereotypes seem to be misconceptions that fail to truly represent the beliefs of each side. To get a clear understanding on both perspectives, we must look at the reasoning behind the opposing views. Getting to know the core values of each stance will help us decide whether abortion should be legal in the United States.
It is a common belief among those who consider themselves pro-choice that giving a woman the option of abortion will prevent self-inflicted harm on expectant mothers. Sandra Kay, a pro-choice advocate, explains in her blog post, “A Pro Choice Perspective,” that “without access to legal abortions, suicides will increase and women will resort to dangerous, life-threatening, selfinflicted abortions.” Pregnancy and motherhood is a life-changing event that some women do not want to experience. For pregnant teens, they are most likely left unfit to care for a human life when they have never independently taken care of themselves. Putting expectant women and teens in a situation that may seem life ending will make them lose hope and give up. Taking away their option to choose will do more harm than good.
A woman’s mental health, along with her physical health, is at risk when she is stripped of her option to choose abortion. Corinne H. Rocca and Katrina Kimport, researchers that explore the emotions felt by women affected by abortion, explain that “the mental health of women who received abortions to women denied abortions found that women who were denied abortions felt more regret and anger and less relief and happiness than women who had abortions.” Women who are denied abortions are forced to live their lives in a way they did not want nor chose. They are only left with resentment when they are left to take care of an unwanted child that is holding them back from their original goals and aspirations.
The physical health of the fetus is also a major cause for concern. The pro-life standpoint believes the fetus may suffer in the process of the abortion. Dr. Fisk, a former president of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society , addresses this concern when he says,
“neurological research has convinced him that pain is not possible at all before 24 weeks” (Belluck). Considering that most abortions are performed prior to the 24-week mark, we must conclude that the fetus will not endure any pain during the process of abortion.
A lot of the blame is placed on the expectant mother because people feel the desire for an abortion could have been avoided altogether with the help of contraception or abstinence. A study done by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists shows that over fifty percent of women who had an abortion became pregnant due to contraceptive failure
(“Abortion”). It is unfair for society to accuse these women of putting the burden of pregnancy on themselves. These women were responsible and took the precautions needed to prevent getting pregnant. It is not their fault that the contraceptives they used were unsuccessful. If anyone is to blame, it is the companies that sell the different forms of birth control that failed to protect these women from pregnancy.
This blame also cannot be placed on women that have been victims of rape. They had no option in staying abstinent and can only rely on their sexual assailant with the means of contraception. These women fell victim to a traumatic, egregious experience that, with the utmost certainty, will affect them for the rest of their lives. To expect a victim to care for and love a child that was given to her by an act of evil is unfair and unrealistic. She would most likely be stuck with reliving the painful memory every time she looks into the child’s eyes. This can only be harmful for the mental stability of the mother and can very likely lead to maltreatment of the child.
After exploring the both sides of the argument, it is clear that abortion should remain legal in the United States. Saying yes to abortions does not mean you have no morals and do not care about a fetus’s life; it is giving a woman the ability to make a safe, rational decision for her and the child’s wellbeing. Taking away the option for women is stripping them of their rights as citizens. Women should be able to choose what they want to do with their bodies in order to make the best decision for themselves, as well as the fetus’s. Pregnant teens and women will find a way to abort their child by any means necessary if the legal and safe option ceases to exist. Keeping abortions legal in the United States will ensure the continued physical and mental health of all women in this nation.
“Abortion – Reasons Women Choose Abortion.” WebMD, WebMD,
Belluck, Pam. “Complex Science at Issue in Politics of Fetal Pain.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2013, www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/health/complex-scienceat-issue-in-politics-of-fetal-pain.html?mcubz=1.
Kay, Sandra. “A Pro-Choice Perspective.” Shesayswithasmile.blogspot.com. Web. 4 March
Rocca, Corrine H., and Katrina Kimport, et al., “Women’s Emotions One Week after Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion in the United States,” Perspectives on Sexual and
Reproductive Health, Sep. 2013