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A Feminist Approach to Abortion

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The End before the Beginning

Abortion can be precisely defined as a “medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus” (Merriam-Webster). Even though abortion is legal and practiced in many parts of the globe, it is still a problem surrounded by controversy for it concerns and addresses one’s moralistic and ethical views and beliefs. In one hand, various people perceive abortion as a personal choice women are entitled to take. On the other hand, others view abortion as murder and do not differentiate it with killing an innocent human being. Although abortion is an issue of controversy, still many women abort for several reasons.

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Although to some people abortion may sound unethical and immoral, many people, especially feminists, perceive this topic as a personal choice where women must have the right to choose because after all, it is her body. Pro-choice activists and feminists advocate that criminalizing and banning abortion will actually make it worse. The illegalization of abortion may lead women that opt to abort their pregnancy to illegal clinics that perform illegal and unsafe abortions which are very likely to cause health issues for them. Furthermore, criminalizing abortion won’t reduce the number of abortions. Actually, it will lead to black market clinics that perform unlawful and dangerous operations. Moreover, according to pro-choice activists, abortion is a safe medical procedure and a minor operation that have been practiced since time immemorial. 88 percent of women who took the decision to have an abortion and underwent the procedure have reported the success of the procedure with no side effects at all. Last but not least, many women who decide to deliberately end their pregnancy are often rape victims. Third-world countries such as India has the highest numbers of rape victims, and keeping that pregnancy will constantly look back on that horrible and unpleasant incident they went through. Thus, pro-choice activists call for worldwide decriminalization of abortion to allow those unfortunate victims to let go of the past.

An alternative view of abortion is the pro-life activists who call for the right of life for everyone including fetuses. They advocate that moments after pregnancy occurs, the fetus becomes a human life with a soul. This fetus, according to pro-life activists, has the rights to live just as his mother does. In short, they claim that life starts at conception and that during the surgery –abortion- the fetus actually feels the pain of such procedure. Furthermore, pro-life activists encourage women who are considering abortion because they do not want to raise a child to give themselves the chance to re-think of such huge decision. If they’re aborting because of simply not wanting to raise a child, activists recommend women to give birth and give up the kid for adoption or “foster care”. Millions of people out there who are unable to have children opt to adopt kids. So, instead of aborting the fetus, the mother may just give him or her up for adoption rather than taking the fetus’ life. In addition, pro-life activists manifest that apart from the physical pain abortion causes, the psychological pain is much, much greater. PAS or post-abortion syndrome is a condition that forces women into a mental and psychological breakdown where the aborter may suffer from depression and melancholy as a result of her decision to kill an innocent soul. After all no religion, country, community and so on condone the harming, murdering and suffering of innocent human beings, let alone an innocent unborn child. So, according to pro-life activists, abortion isn’t really that different from murder. Moreover, according to them, legalizing abortion is unethical and immoral and will only lead to the death of more innocent unborn children. Therefore, the best way to prevent such dishonorable and unethical practices is to criminalize and restrict access to abortion.

There are many reasons that lead women to abort their pregnancy, the causes vary from financial issues, health problems to social troubles. To begin with, a big number of women that decide to deliberately put an end to their pregnancy feel that they are not prepared for a child. They perceive the responsibility of raising a child as a massive burden they want to avoid. Such responsibility requires a lot of time that some women may not have simply because they want to focus on their careers. Moreover, some women cannot afford to have a child. Giving birth is very costly, and what comes after giving birth such as medical care for the mother and the child and so on costs a fortune. Consequently, financially-burdened women opt to abort their pregnancy rather than giving birth and having financial difficulties in raising their kid. Furthermore, abortion occurs as a result of premarital sexual relations where the couple runs out of options but to put an end to the fetus’ life. In the Arab world specifically, where religion and family morals are in control, premarital sexual affairs are widely rejected and condemned. As a result, hundreds or even thousands of pregnancies are aborted discreetly. In addition, abortion may take place if a pregnant woman has health issues and keeping the pregnancy will only make it worse for her. Sadly, pregnant women with health issues face an ultimatum to either abort the child or keep the pregnancy on track but risk her own health, or even life. Thus, the vast majority would opt for an abortion rather than jeopardizing their lives.

Nadia was going home one day after completing a night’s shift at a local restaurant. Two years ago, after her father’s death, being the eldest of two brothers, she had to work to support her small family and to put herself through college. The restaurant wasn’t too far away from her home. Probably a twenty minutes’ walk. That night was dark and cold, the sounds of owls screeching were loud and terrifying. Nadia zipped up her jacket and paced to get home quickly. Three blocks away from her home, two men sat on the right side of the road. The sound of their loud laughter penetrated her ears. “They must be drunk,” she thought to herself. Nadia wanted to pass the block without getting seen by the drunkards, so she went to the other side of the road, and walked slowly so her footsteps won’t be heard. Unfortunately, she stumbled on an empty juice glass and fell down. She fell down on the glass and hurt her back. She couldn’t get up. She had no choice but to yell at the two drunkards to help her up. That how desperate she was. The drunkards heard her screaming and walked to the other side of the road to see a helpless female lying down at the floor. Sadly, but not shockingly, they took advantage of her and put her in agony. Two days later, there she was lying on her bed thinking about that experience all by herself. She knew that it would be a disastrous idea if anybody else knew what had happened that night. She didn’t know what to do. But she knew keeping her pregnancy was out of the question. She could never do that. On the other hand, she couldn’t murder an innocent soul. And on top of all that, abortion was illegal and there was not a single abortion clinic out there she knew of. She was stuck in a dilemma. But after all, she made up her mind. She didn’t want anything to remind her of that horrendous incident. So, after intensive searching on the internet for a black market abortion clinic, she somehow found an address and a phone number. She called that number and made an appointment for the next day. The next day she went to the clinic on time. That clinic consisted only of one messy and dark room. She knew the risk of having a medical procedure in an unqualified and illegal clinic. But she didn’t have any other choice. Abortion was widely rejected and not a single hospital or legal clinic offered such procedure. All she wanted was to abort the fetus’ life, but what happened is that her life got aborted too.

Abortion is a provocative issue for the concept of abortion to some people is infuriating because it interferes with their religious and ethical views. To them, abortion is as immoral as murder. Nevertheless, to others, the issue of abortion is purely a personal choice that nobody has the right to intervene or intrude in but women. With the activity of feminist movements and the call for women autonomy, abortion is very likely to be decriminalized and legalized all over the world in the upcoming years.

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