From its inception, abortion has been a topic that has caused much disagreement around the world. The main points of many who oppose abortion argue that an embryo or a fetus is alive and that having an abortion is murder. However, looking at abortion from a strictly secular viewpoint, there is no way of determining exactly when life begins; in fact, it may even seem preposterous to suggest that a few cells lumped together with no cognitive function is alive. However, the life or lack thereof of a fetus is an opinion only. This article discusses several of the benefits of abortion, disregarding the question of whether an embryo or fetus is actually alive.
When discussing abortion, one must consider the mother. In many cases of abortion, the mother is unfit to raise a child. Pregnant women in dire financial situations simply cannot afford to take care of a child. In addition, teenaged girls should not be forced to look after children of their own when the law does not even consider them to be adults. Young girls who become pregnant and do not have an abortion are often forced to drop out of school to take care of their child, and even then most find it difficult to pay the expenses of a kid. If these girls have abortions, they can continue to live their lives without the burden of a child to care for.
An issue that goes along with young pregnancy is rape. Victims of rape, especially incest, should not have to take care of a child that resulted from such an act. In such cases, the woman is already traumatized, and it goes without saying that they should be given the right to an abortion.
Another common factor with abortion is the child. Many abortions occur because the fetus in question would have been severely disabled had he or she been born. In such cases, the probably low quality of life that the child would have if born must be considered. The mother should be allowed to decide whether or not to end her pregnancy. Such a child would also put an irregular strain on the mother, not just during labor, but afterwards when trying to care for the child and pay for treatments. It is not unreasonable for a mother with a disabled fetus to end the pregnancy.
People who oppose abortion argue that adoption is a viable alternative. However, it most certainly is not. Children with physical or mental disabilities are rarely adopted by prospective parents. If a mother who had had an abortion because the fetus was severely disabled had instead chosen to give birth, it is almost guaranteed that that child would not have been adopted. In addition, pro-lifers may say that unwanted children can be born and then adopted by a family. However, there are more than enough adoptable children around the world, so many that every couple who wanted children could easily have several. With a world population nearing seven billion, adoption of an already extant child is preferable to adopting a child who would normally have been aborted.
Embryonic stem cells can be harvested from aborted fetuses. It is thought that these stem cells can be used to develop cures for afflictions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, burns, and spinal cord injuries. Pro-lifers think without proof that embryos are alive and have the right to live, but many actual people suffer or die from diseases that might have been prevented by using stem cells from abortions. Don’t people with such diseases have the right to live too?
Clearly, abortion is justified; not for everyone and not on a large scale, of course, but definitely in certain situations. Women deserve the right to choose for themselves whether or not to have an abortion.