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Debates: Abortions Must Be Legal

The legal right to abortion has always been a debated topic because of the difference in opinions regarding its health impact, its morality, its influence on the longevity of populations, as well as its religious underpinnings. However, I think that the debate must come to a close as millions of women worldwide are still being denied this right because their governments or religious leaders are unreasonable and do not understand the toll that an unwanted and traumatizing pregnancy can take on the baby and the mother. Abortion must be legal worldwide because it gives women the right to have a say in what they want to do with their bodies and how they wish to shape their future, whether with or without children. When seemingly preserving the life of a fetus, many tend to forget about the life of an individual who carries it and gives birth to it, which is at odds with the fundamental legal principles.

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Making abortion legal can solve an array of challenges that women have faced historically. The flawed systems that have been preventing women from having abortions are paternalistic and patriarchic in nature as they place the rights and opinions of women below the law. Thus, criminalizing abortion is a mockery of the equal status that women have only recently gained in the various areas of life and represents an act of discrimination (Reynolds-Wright 52). When they are unable to control their fertility, women are deprived of potential educational, professional, and personal opportunities that men take for granted. Even though abortion is not the solution to all issues of sexual equality, without the ability to exercise their reproductive choices, they have little hope of making decisions on their life courses.

Abortion should be legal worldwide because it will improve the quality of women’s health as underground abortions will stop taking place. In the absence of choice, women who want to terminate their pregnancies because of different reasons may go to an unauthorized care provider and undergo dangerous procedures that can have horrible consequences for them. Thus, legalizing abortions is a way to not only care for women’s mental health and freedom of choice but also for their physical health and well-being. Besides, denying the right to an abortion prevents best clinical practice, as illustrated in the example with underground intervention. In the availability of modern and effective procedures, it seems counterproductive to limit access to them.

Finally, abortions must be legal regardless of where women are in the world because they are detrimental to women’s mental health. An unwanted pregnancy can result from a traumatic experience, such as sexual assault, and causes further mental trauma in the form of posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. When women are given a choice to terminate a pregnancy and make a personal decision about when and how they want to have children, they will be happier overall and will not have to deal with the burden of having a baby. It is morally and philosophically crucial to make sure that individuals with their own perspectives make active and informed decisions about their bodies and futures without the intervention of a third party. Thus, access to safe and effective abortions is not only a universal human right but also an indicator of social development with regard to women.

Reference

Reynolds-Wright, John. “The Moral and Philosophical Importance of Abortion.” Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Care, vol. 39, 2013, pp. 51-53.

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