Should Abortion be Restricted? Essay

Abortion is one of the most controversial issues of our day. People generally have strong views on this idea. It is an emotionally-ladened issue which brings out clashes between differing views. This paper argues that the current permissive attitude towards abortion has led to an unprecedented loss of human life and carries a risk of harming a woman physically, mentally and emotionally, thus, trampling on her rights as a woman.

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Consider, for example some hard facts on the physical repercussions resulting from an abortion: Infection in the womb and tubes often does permanent damage. The Fallopian tube is a fragile organ, a very tiny bore tube. If infection injures it, it often seals shut. The typical infection involving these organs is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Patients with Chlamydia Trachomatous infection of the cervix (13% in this series) who get induced abortion “run a 23% risk of developing PID.”  (M. Spence, 1983, p. 12).

Another set of researchers report that  (Quigstad et al., 1982) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is difficult to manage and often leads to infertility, even with prompt treatment. Approximately 10% of women will develop tubal adhesions leading to infertility after one episode of PID, 30% after two episodes, and more than 60% after three episodes.” (Spence, M 1983. p. 13).

            Still, even if we get some isolated facts, drawing conclusions from research regarding the emotional after effects of abortion is exceptionally difficult because (1) the cooperation of the study population is inconsistent and unreliable, (2) the variety of negative reactions reported by women is so broad that it may be impossible to examine every claimed dysfunction in a single study, (3) the intensity of reactions appears to vary over time, with many women reporting delayed reactions, and (4) the use of questionnaires may be inadequate.

               As to the psychological effects of abortion, it appears that the self-esteem  of women who had undergone abortion can vary from moment to moment. A woman who scores high self-esteem at one moment can suddenly score a very low self-esteem. This often happens when a researcher begins to ask about any number of stressful issues, such as abortion, divorce, or her relationship with her parents. It is therefore highly erratic to be getting these statistics when the women clam in and probably even give faulty and misleading answers.
It is strange that this issue was never a problem long ago. The Hippocratic Oath, became central to the practice of medicine since it jibed well with biblical teaching. However, in the last 50 years, this prohibition has gradually been eliminated. Abortion proponents claim that ‘even if abortion causes emotional problems, giving birth to an unwanted child is worse.’ For example, after publishing her case study acknowledging her treatment of a case of post-abortion psychological problems, Nada Stotland has now taken the position that ‘women who are at high risk [of psychological problems] after abortion are at equally high or higher risk if they continue their pregnancies. (Nada L. 1999)  She has refused, however, to identify any research that substantiates this assertion (Wheeler, S.R.. 1997).

Abortion cuts to the core of one’s values and society’s old traditions. Initially, after having an abortion, many women feel a sense of relief at having avoided the stress and responsibility of pregnancy and a baby. But the story does not end there. The act can haunt one for the rest of her life. In the end, abortions actually cause serious emotional, physical and mental damage to women who undergo the process.

Today, antiabortionists argue that the fertilized egg is a human. From a biological point of view, they say, the fertilized egg is a human. From a biological point of view, they say, the fertilized egg is a unique, genetic entity. The Catholic church agrees, and adds that the fertilized egg must be considered a human because it has human potential because “if you are conceived by human parents, you are human” (Time, 1981, p.23). On the other hand, those who favor a woman’s right to abortion argue that human life does not technically begin until some time after conception. For example, one biologist argues that fertilization is not the beginning of human life, but a “highly significant step in its continuity, “since the egg and sperm are both living human cells. The fertilized egg lacks some of the important characteristics we attribute to people, including a nervous system and the ability to respond to stimuli. One may also consider a human as someone with self-awareness. But during the first three months, the fetus “lacks an adequate neural foundation for minimal subjective experience, let alone self-awareness” (Grobstein 1982, p. 14).

For those opposed to abortion, however, the act is one of killing a human being, regardless of how soon the abortion occurs after conception. As a legislative aside put it, “We must do everything we can under our constitutional system to stop the killing of unborn children. We are talking about life and death” (Time, 1981, p. 20). For those who favor women’s choice in the matter, the issue   is one of woman’s right to have control of her body and her general well-being. A woman’s right to self-determination is threatened, they say, by anti-abortion efforts.

These ideologies also provide directives for behavior; each group actively lobbies and propagandizes in an effort to win public and governmental support. Each group tries to marshall support for political candidates who support their position. Antiabortionists mobilize supporters to picket  (or disrupt) abortion clinics. And the ideologies clearly reflect the interests of the two groups; those who argue for choice in the matter feel that such choice is important to maintain the rights of women, while those who argue against abortion feel that the sanctity of human life generally, and of their quality of life in particular, is being threatened.

The American Psychiatric Association has identified abortion as one of the n addition to that dergone abortion ons a woman experiences in cases of abortion. For example, studies say that  stuff of whichevents that can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The death of a child is one of the biggest stress points a person can experience in life. There is a numbing of the senses that happens to women who experience this. It is said that following a woman’s abortion, she goes into what one counselor described as “self-destruct mode”: getting pregnant again, having an affair, punishing herself, and generally showing all the variations that severe depression can take (Sobie, A. n.d.).

Women experience a general feeling of confusion and overwhelming sense of experiencing post-abortion syndrome with an overwhelming sense of guilt. One study reported that 92 percent of women who have had an abortion feel guilty.  One woman who is now involved in a post-abortion healing group reports that after her abortion, the memory haunted her terribly. She would hear her conscience talking to her everyday. For many women, the guilt and shame is expressed through a deep anger–at the doctors and abortion counselors for hurting her and her baby, at her husband, boyfriend, or parents for pressuring her into an abortion, and at herself for getting pregnant and having the abortion (Russo,N & Zierk, K).

               This challenge to abortion proponents has been well articulated by Philip Ney: ‘We should remember that in the science of medicine, the onus of proof lies with those who perform or support any medical or surgical procedure to show beyond reasonable doubt that the procedure is both safe and therapeutic. There are no proven psychiatric indications for abortion. The best evidence shows abortion is contraindicated in major psychiatric illness. There is no good evidence that abortion is therapeutic for any medical conditions with possible rare exceptions. In fact, there are no proven medical, psychological, or social benefits. If abortion was a drug or any other surgical procedure about which so many doubts have been raised regarding its safety and therapeutic effectiveness, it would have been taken off the market long ago.” (Ney, P.G).

There are still differing opinions regarding the gamut of emotions a woman experiences in cases of abortion. For example, these same studies say that in 1987, women who had one abortion had higher self-esteem than women who reported no abortion or women who reported repeat abortions. Women who had unwanted births had the lowest levels of well-being, and were also more likely to have repeat abortions than other women (Russo, N).

Physically, younger women have a more difficult time adjusting to their abortions. One study found that teenage aborters were more likely to report severe nightmares following abortion. They also scored high on scales measuring antisocial traits, paranoia, drug abuse and psychotic delusions than older aborters. Teens were also more likely to use immature coping strategies such as projection of their problems onto others. Teens are also at higher risk for post-abortion infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and endometritis (inflamation of the uterus), which may be caused either by the spread of an unrecognized sexually transmitted disease into the uterus during the abortion, or by micro-organisms on the surgical instruments which are inserted into the uterus (R.T. Burkman, et. al., 1997).  Bodies of teenagers are not yet fully developed and do not produce pathogens that are found in the cervical mucus of older women which can protect them from infection (W. Cates, Jr., 1991).

In addition, because teens are less likely than adults to take prescribed antibiotics or follow other regimens for the treatment of medical problems such as infection, they are at greater risk for infertility, hysterectomy, ectopic pregnancy and other serious complications (Teenage Pregnancy: Overall Trends and State-by-State Information).

Because teens are more likely to abort their first pregnancy, they face other risks (K.D. Kochanck 1991)   For instance, research has shown that an early full term birth can reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, but that induced abortion of a first pregnancy carries a 30 to 50 percent increased risk of breast cancer. In addition, aborting teens lose the protective effect of having a full-term pregnancy at a younger age, which reduces breast cancer risk (Sobie, Amy). All these hard facts challenge us to take a closer look at the issue and adhere to that which will generate more compassion and feelings of responsibility and commitment.

Indeed, abortion is fraught with dangers and risks. Just taking the life of one’s own child especially for younger women, already encompasses a whole range of physical, mental and psychological stigma on a young woman’s life. The deceptive business practices of abortion clinics, which conceal the risks from these girls, are nothing less than criminal.

Of course, there is the call for each woman to make decisions about what happens to her body.  No one should force her to do anything against her will. But one needs to consider that there is the issue of the fetus’ life, which raises the question of whether one person’s desire for autonomy can extend to ending another’s existence. It is utterly unimaginable to snuff out a life from a womb. The fetus is already a life beating to become a creation and a gift from God after several months stay in a mother’s womb.

Some women still choose to have an abortion. Another underlying reason that may be the reason for such emotional and tenacious commitment to the availability of abortion is that people want sexual freedom without consequences.   Whether or not such stressful life events have negative psychological outcomes depends on a woman’s resources – psychological, social, and economic – for coping with such events. Whatever choice a woman takes when confronted with this issue goes all the way down to the sterner stuff of which she is made – her core values and beliefs

REFERENCES

Brind, J. et. al., 1996.  “Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer: a comprehensive review and analysis,” J. Epidemiology ; Community Health, 50:481,

Burkman, R.T..  et. al. 1993. “Morbidity Risk Among Young Adolescents Undergoing Elective Abortion,” Contraception, 30(2):99, 1984; and K.F. Schulz, et. al., “Measures to Prevent Cervical Injury During Suction Curettage Abortion,” The Lancet, 1182-1184.

Burkman, R.T. et. al.,  1997. “Culture and treatment results in endometritis following elective abortion,” American J. Obstet. ; Gynecol., 128:556, and D. Avonts and P. Piot, “Genital infections in women undergoing induced abortion,” European J. Obstet. ; Gynecol. ; Reproductive Biology, 20:53, 1985.

Cates, W. Jr., 1991. “Teenagers and Sexual Risk-Taking: The Best of Times and the Worst of Times,” Journal of Adolescent Health, 12:84,

eHealth Forum. Having an Abortion: Side Effects. Retrieved: 2 March 2005 at:
http://ehealthforum.com/health/topic15056.html

Grobstein, C. (1982) When does human life begin? Science 82,  p. 14

Hutchison, Fred. September 9, 2004. Retrieved Nov. 7, 2006 at:

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/hutchison/040909

Kochanck 1991. “Induced Terminations of Pregnancy, Reporting States 1988,” Monthly Vital Statistics Report, 39(12): Suppl. 1-32.

Nada L. Stotland, 1999. Letter to David Reardon, Ph.D., Feb. 16, 1999.

David C. Reardon, letter to Nada L. Stotland,

Ney, P.G.,  1993. ‘Some Real Issues Surrounding Abortion, or, the Current Practice of Abortion is Unscientific,’ The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 4(2):179-180 Quigstad. British Jour. of Venereal Disease, June 1982, p. 182

Russo,N ; Zierk, K. Abortion and Mental Health: Studies based on the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. Department of Psychology, Arizona State University . Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 23, 269-280. Psychology and Reproductive choice. Retrieved Nov. 7, 2006 at: http://www.prochoiceforum.org.uk/psy_research5

Sobie, Amy R. and Reardon, David C. Detrimental Effects of Adolescent Abortion. The Post Abortion Review. Retrieved Nov. 7, 2006 at:

http://www.afterabortion.info/PAR/V9/n1/teens_vs_older.html
Sorenson J.L. and I. Thronov, 1992.  “A double blind randomized study of the effect of erythromycin in preventing pelvic inflammatory disease after first trimester abortion,” British J. Obstet. ; Gynecol., 99:43.

Spence, M. M. Spence, 1983. “PID: Detection & Treatment,” Sexually Transmitted Disease Bulletin, John Hopkins Univ., vol. 3, no. 1-15.

“Teenage Pregnancy: Overall Trends and State-by-State Information,” Report by the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Time. (April 6, 1981).  The Battle over Abortion., p. 20

Wheeler, S.R  1997.  in J.R. Woods, Jr. and J.L. Woods (eds.), “Adolescent Pregnancy Loss,” Loss During Pregnancy or the Newborn Period

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