Is Abortion Beneficial or Harmful To a Teenager?

Introduction

Abortion is the removal of a pregnancy before it is due. It is the elimination of a fetus or embryo from the mother’s uterus before it is due for birth. Abortion can either be induced or can occur due to complications of a pregnancy in other terms referred to as spontaneous abortion. It can be induced if the health of the pregnant female is at risk or due to other reasons. In most cases, abortion is used to refer to the induced abortion other than the spontaneous.

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Abortion has been practiced for a very long period and various methods have been used. Some of the ancient methods include use of sharp objects and other traditional methods that were practiced by medicine men. Today, the methods have advanced and we have the use of medicine and surgical procedures. Different communities and different races have their own view in regards to Abortion.

In many countries, abortion is an illegal procedure which is liable for punishment by law. However, some nations have gone to the extent of legalizing it, allowing its citizen to perform it freely. However, most nations feel that it’s an illegal procedure, unethical and unreligious. Most Christian and Muslim nations feel that everyone has the right to live and should not be deprived off this right. They argue that abortion amounts to murder and should not be allowed under any circumstance. However, others argue that, the mother has the absolute right to make her own choice whether t carry the pregnancy until it is due or to terminate.

This becomes even complicated when the person involved is a teenager. These are people who are still in school and are yet to achieve their dreams in life. Most of the teenagers get pregnant out of ignorance while others are raped. Denying these teenagers their right to make decision of whether to abort or not would amount to interfering with their personal life. It is true that, the parents, teachers, and the society have a right to protect teenagers by giving them advice and proper education although some of them can go beyond what the parent can even expect. No matter how these teenagers should be allowed to face the consequences of their actions, the question remains, what will happen to their future? Statistics show that more than 33% of all teen pregnancies are aborted.

This percentage is even higher on younger teenagers as compared to the older ones. Girls under the age of 15 years old have he highest abortion ratio compared to girls over the age of 15. This paper is an augmentative easy that gives the positive effects and the negative effects of abortion to a teenage girl. Part one of this paper looks at the benefits of abortion to a teenager. These benefits are based on the girl’s future life rather than her current condition. Part two looks at the harmful effects of abortion to a teenage girl, for instance, medical complications and emotional detachments. Part three and the final part is a synthesis of the main points of both augments; it shows that abortion is beneficial to a teenager.

Benefits of Abortion to a Teenager

This part offers the precedence to what necessitates abortion in certain situations where the rights of the pregnant woman override those of the unborn. Abortion has been one of the contentious issues in most nations of the world, especially in the United States of America. According to Roemer (1993), abortion should be recognized as a right of the individual in question; many citizens who contemplate abortion have experienced the disapprovals from a section of the society, especially the conservative Christians.

In the history of abortion and its legality, there have been many legal changes that at sometimes legalize abortion and other times the legality of abortion is abolished. There has been a continuous debate on the abortion though it is legally practiced in some regions. The main issue that is hotly contested in the debate is when life really begins so that the debate shifts from merely thinking about whether abortion is morally good or bad to whether the act violates another person’s right of life or not. Taking into account both the life of the mother and that of the fetus, abortion is to some extent beneficial to a teenager (Women’s International Network, 1982).

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Teenagers are children below the age of 18 years. This means that, they are still dependent on their parents for survival. These are children who are in learning institutions and are yet to accomplish their dreams in life. Most schools do not allow pregnant girls to go to school and if a girl gets pregnant she is forced to drop out of school. This is not the best way to help these girls. It does not matter how they got themselves pregnant but the fact remains that they are already pregnant.

Sending them out of school will not solve any thing; in fact it will make the situation worse because these children are not in a position to provide for themselves leave alone the unborn baby they are carrying. However, there is a better option to this problem: abortion. This ensures that, the teenage girl is able to complete her studies without dripping out of school. Abortion can even be performed at its early stage when no one else (expect the girl and the mother), is aware of it. This saves the girl the ridicule she could have gone through had her peers known about her condition (Anon, 2010).

According to Noonan (1979), abortion frees teenagers from any harm that may arise from pregnancies, especially when the pregnancy is unwanted. This will also allow the teenager to choose whether they really want to keep the child they carry or not. If a teenager is forced to carry a pregnancy that she does not want, she may refuse to take care of the unborn baby, for instance going for clinics, taking the right food. Instead, she may opt to do the things that she is not supposed to do while pregnant, for instance, taking excess alcohol which may endanger her life and that of the child.

Many teenage girls opt for abortion because they feel that, they are not ready to bring up and child, and feel that abortion is the best solution they have at hand. Some of these girls come from poor families and bringing up a child would be a challenging undertaking for them. More often than not, poor girls involve themselves in commercial sex while looking for a livelihood and in the process such some of them contract disease while others get pregnant.

Some of them have been abandoned and their only option is to use their bodies for money. If they get pregnant in the process, there seems to be no means for them to look after their baby and the only option (which seems best for them) is to get rid of the unborn baby. Many babies brought up by teenagers often have insufficient health care because some of them do not have the time to take their babies for check ups while others do not have the capacity to do so (Colman, 1997). There remains only one solution; abortion.

Taking for instance, a case where a teenage girl gets pregnant because of rape. It will be painful for her to be constantly reminded about being raped by keeping the child. Again, what will the child feel if one day he or she is told that his or her conception was as a result of rape? This is a scenario that can stress a woman to death hence interfering with her right to life. It is therefore important to note that allowing abortion for teenagers is not just recognizing the right of relevant personnel but also providing a legal basis on which lives of pregnant women can be saved in case of complications due to pregnancies (Henshaw, 1993).

Incase of incest, abortion is the only option to protect the reputation of the girl and also that of the family. A child born out of incest remains to be a constant reminder of the immorality and atrocity of the action. A teenager would not feel comfortable knowing that, the child she is carrying is a result of the most violent act she can think of (being raped by a relative). Some of these pregnancies may be a result of rape by the father or the closest relative. Such kind of actions leaves the girl emotionally traumatized and loses the meaning of life. She may become depressed to a point that she may even tempted to end her life. Through abortion, the girl experiences some peace of mind although she may never be able to forgive the person responsible (Kosunen, 2002).

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Medically, there are instances when a woman’s life may be in danger and the only way out is through the termination of pregnancy. In such a case, subject to medical examination and doctor’s recommendation, abortion should be allowed (Lee, 2003). It may be logical that a pregnancy be terminated in order to save the life of the woman, however; this may not be possible where abortion is blindly illegalized. The medical professionals may recommend abortion but not carry it out due to legal implications hence letting the woman to lose her life. With the current legal abortion in force, to think about denying a woman the chance to abort is a gross violation of human right with respect to the current legal status of the law on abortion (AGI, 2004).

There are several biased arguments that have been advanced against abortion and some of such biases are fallacies that do not conform to the reality of the issues at hand. One such argument is the hypothesis that abortion may result into breast cancer; this hypothesis is even accepted by some politicians. This notion has been disproved and can be viewed as a plot by the anti-abortionist to persuade women against abortion (NCCDPHP, 1999). The fight against abortion is historical and most of the reasons advanced actually beat the logic. Some of these reasons include, but not limited to, the arguments that women should be allowed to refuse to have sex with their husbands whenever they feel necessary so that they may avoid complications related to pregnancies, that abortion can lead to death of the mother and that abortion will haunt a woman’s conscience until she dies (PPFA, 2004).

Harmful effects

Pro life take the opposite of prochoice, they are of the opinion that life is holy and should be respected. When they are discussing about when life starts, they are of the opinion that life starts at conception. This is because the mother after conception carries a living human being who is entitled to the right to life. The mother is seen as just the carrier of another human being. There are sometimes that abortion can be allowed; this is when the life of the mother is in danger as a result of the pregnancy otherwise it should be prohibited. When the issue of terminating life is concerned, pro life advocate that it should not be terminated whether the death is the resultant of a certain condition (LaFollette, 2002).

The same way no one can explain what life is and where it comes from, then no one should terminate the pregnancy. By the third week, the unborn child already develops a heart bit, by the first trimester the baby has arms, legs, feet, hands, etc., the point of diversion now is that the unborn child already has the features of a human being; thus the unborn is a living organism that life should not be terminated. The pro life asks a simple question; as far as the consent to the mother was not there, should someone be punished for the mistakes of another person? The child is innocent and should not be used as the scapegoat. It is true that, the mother may have conceived out of a criminal act such as rape but the child is innocent and should be spared (Kosunen, 2002).

If a pregnancy is a result of rape, it is understandable that the child may be a constant reminder of the pain that the mother went through during the rape and the mother is likely to reject the child in future, however, abortion does not justify the criminal act because a child is already formed and is living and should be given the right to live. The same argument should be adopted in the case of incest. One may live with the quilt of abortion and may not be able to forgive herself of the crime she committed. By aborting, the mother is denying the child his right to life (Mattingly, 1993).

Most girls go for an abortion not by choice but because of lack of alternative. There are some families who place threats on the girl and tell her unless she aborts, she will be disowned. If the girl manages to go through the pregnancy successful she may not be in a position to forgive her family of the atrocities their imposed on her. Other families threaten to discontinue the girl’s education if she chooses to keep the pregnancy. The girl is left with no alternative than to go for the abortion, this cruelty remains in the girl’s life for the rest of her (Lee, 2003).

The parent is supposed to take care and support the girl and not to expose her to traumas that may affect her in future. It is true that, the unplanned pregnancy may interfere with her career, but with enough support, the girl can still carry the pregnancy until it is due and still continue with her education. They are many young mothers who are still in school and are very happy and ford of their children. They give them a reason to live and have even influenced their live positively (Henshaw, 2004).

By aborting once, the girl would not care going again to the abortion room in case she gets pregnant again. This has been witnessed in some of the countries where abortion has been legalized especially in the United States. The rate of abortion for girls between the age of fifteen and nineteen years is on the increase and seems to be increasing as days go by. According to AGI (2004).

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These girls are ignorant of the dangers they are exposing themselves which include; increasing the risks if breast cancer, infertility, still birth, just to name but a few. It has been observed that abortion exposes the girl child to the high risk of (developing) breast cancer. Scientists have also found that, women who go through abortion face a 2.3 relative risk to cervical cancer than women who have never had an abortion. In real sense, abortion does not solve the problem of unplanned pregnancies, it actually intensifies it. Teenagers need to be enlightened on the dangers of sex before married instead of being exposed to the option of abortion (AGI, 2004).

Even though the anti-abortion crusaders have not really mentioned it in detail, some anti-abortionists have argued that the sustenance of the population of the society is likely to end up in jeopardy if abortion is allowed to be practiced openly. Pregnancy is the only natural means by which the dying population is replaced the future generation brought into existence; the new generation can only be brought to the world through pregnancy. In view of its long run effects, the sentiments of the anti-abortionists are therefore understandable on the grounds that abortion will interfere with the natural replacement of the aging and the dying population (Noonan, 1979).

Even though death can occur in any situation in human life, especially with regards to women, it is important to realize that abortion is one of the risk factors that can independently cause death. In this case, death may arise when the person offering the services of abortion is not medically qualified or in cases where the medical professional is likely to commit human error or omission. Many a time, a pregnant woman seeks an abortion without considering the possible consequences. A woman may seek an abortion as a right and in the end cut short her life hence ending the enjoyment of her right of life (Naden, 2007).

There are also other challenges that emanates from abortion. Abortion has high potential of causing secondary infertility which implies that such a woman is highly likely to stay without giving birth to children after abortion. The infertility arises from complications following improper treatment after abortion or due to medical misfortune during the whole process. The process of abortion may cause serious damages to the womb thereby preventing the attachment of other subsequent embryos. Other problems include infection of the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, and cervical incompetence (McConnell, 2006). These form parts of the fears anti-abortionists have against abortion.

It is true that issues pertaining to abortion are grounded on Christianity or rather religion as opposed to the morals of the society as whole. It is wrong to state, that those arguing against abortion are driven by religious belief and conservativeness; there are atheists who do not support abortion and would do everything they can to ensure they do not support abortion, regardless of whether it remains legal or illegalized. It is important that all these views also be considered (Colman, 1997). There are other options to abortion which include giving the baby for adoption which is a much safer alternative than abortion.

Synthesis

Whether abortion is beneficial or harmful to the teenage woman, we should not ignore the fact that, there is the hot debate as to whether abortion should be considered as an illegal or legal practice. The support given to religious anti-abortionists by some powerful politicians even complicates further the matter of whether to illegalize or legalize abortion. Assuming that the Christian bible does not prohibit abortion, are there any other reasons abortion should be illegalized? Most, if not all, of the reasons anti-abortionists detest abortion are based on religious principles. If the religious basis is taken out of the picture then they do no have any concrete reasons. Thus, using Christian or religious perspective to illegalize abortion is to deny the non-religious citizens certain fundamental rights.

Almost all women of all classes seek for abortion. Many scholars have been wondering why women opt for abortion especially in U.S. where we expect the rate to be low because of civilization. It is ironical that, pregnancy termination in the western countries is high than in less developed countries. These are the countries that have access to family planning education and contraceptives just at their doorsteps.

There are many premises on which the debate about abortion has been anchored. The most dominant premise on which this one has been done is religion. The religious groups, especially the Christians and Muslims, are historically known to be ardent anti-abortionists (Naden, 2007). They entirely rely on what is recorded in the bible and the Koran respectively, but the two holy books have not openly discussed anything related to abortion

The debate on abortion has become so hot that anti-abortionists specifically target the women and doctors who contemplate abortion with violent actions. The anti-abortionists have made it difficult for women to secure the services of abortion by harassing the professionals who offer the services and also the women who go for the abortion. It has also been argued, that there has never been an unwanted pregnancy. If the girl chooses to abort, she may be constantly reminded of the murder she committed. For instance, I have witnessed a girl who had performed two abortions in her life and the trauma she goes through is quite obvious.

She does not like to hear the voice of a baby crying because all she remembers is the baby she killed before it was born. The proponents of this argument state that in case the mother does not want the kid she can give the child to a family that would like to adopt the child. Such an argument is oblivious of the fact that it is humanly painful to see a child being raised by another family yet the mother may be able to take care of the child. How does a rich woman feel when her child is being raised by a low social class family yet she enjoys everything she has? The psychological and emotion implication of this question is not addressed by such a proposition (WIN, 1982).

Looking at both sides of the arguments, I strongly hold that, abortion to a teenager has more benefits than the harm she is exposed to. Abortion has become legal in most countries and it is now performed by qualified medical practitioners. This has reduced most of the dangers associated with abortion to a big margin. A woman can now go for an abortion and leave the hospital without anyone even suspecting what she had gone to do. There have been many cases of girls dropping out of school because of pregnancy. Some of these girls feel shy to face their classmates in their state and opt to stay at home. Abortion seems to be the only remedy to their predicament. With it they are assured of a better tomorrow because they can still continue with their education with interference (Anon, 2010).

Critically examining these arguments we find that the religious groups have only been concerned with the right of unborn and forgotten that the mother carrying the child is also a human being who needs to survive or rather enjoy the same right to live as the unborn child. It is right to argue that the unborn has the right to live, especially when pregnancy has reached an advanced stage. But, it is also important to look at the other side of the coin; what happens when the pregnancy puts a woman’s life in danger and the doctors cannot perform abortion because they fear losing their jobs and facing legal actions for performing illegal abortion?

What happens to the life of the teenager once she is denied her right to perform abortion? These are questions the conservatives have not addressed and seem not to be ready to address. Many pro-life supporters approve of abortion in such case; however, the instances in which they disapprove of it outweigh the instances in which they may accept it. This question can only be answered appropriately by objective intervention of the law that must come in to protect both the pregnant women and the unborn children. Again, not all pregnancies arise out of mutual consent between a man and a woman; some pregnancies arise due to rape (LaFollette, 2002). All women, especially the teenagers, have the right to choose whether they want to have babies or not. In a situation where a woman is forcefully impregnated and she does not want the baby she should be allowed to abort as a right.

It is unfortunate that even after abortion has been legalized, there are still strong oppositions to it and the anti-abortionists still continue to ignore the facts that laws are now sufficient to persuade policy makers on the need to legalize abortion in certain wanting circumstances. The anti-abortionists have not yet realized instances where abortion may be completely necessary even if the pregnant woman may be in need of a child. A prochoice person believes that the woman has the sole choice of her fertility that includes whether she is going to terminate a pregnancy or not. The decision should be of the woman with the support of the law either constitutional or other legislative. According to the pro-choice life begins at birth.

They argue that the life of unseen does not have the right to live since it is subjected to the life of the mother. They are for the opinion that teenagers should be allowed to abort and laws made in such a way that it protects both the mother and the doctor who performed the abortion. They are for the opinion that the use of contraceptives and morning pills should be considered as a way of preventing pregnancy (NCCDPHP, 2004). On the other hand when they are arguing about termination of life; especially when one has terminal illness, they support the termination of life. They find it rational that there is no need to let someone suffer as she waits death, and continue using money and the end result is known.

As much as teenagers should be allowed the right to abort, the whole issue is still debated on with reference to religious beliefs and principles. Both anti-abortionists and pro-abortionists have become hardliners; this implies that either side hold on the belief and conviction that it is right. The proponents of both sides have not listened to each other’s side of the story. Considering both sides of the debate, it is important to realize that they present some genuine arguments. The problem is that either side completely and deliberately ignores each other’s reasons. The nation is a secular state; this means that the state should approach the issue putting into consideration the population dynamics in terms of religious beliefs.

Reference List

AGI. (2004). U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics, Overall Trends, Trends by Race and Ethnicity and Stateby- State Information. Web.

Anon. (2010). Teenage pregnancy, abortion, and state benefits. Web.

Colman, A. (1997). Teenage pregnancies. Youth studies Australia, Sep. 1997, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p 8.

Henshaw, S. K. (1993). Teenage Abortion, Birth and pregnancy statistics by state. Family planning perspectives, May/ June 1993, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p 122-126.

Kosunen, E. (2002). Teenage pregnancies and abortions in Finland in the 1990s. Scandinavian journal of public health, Nov. 2002, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p300-305.

LaFollette, H. (2002). Ethics in practice: an anthology. Volume 3 of Blackwell philosophy anthologies. Melbourne: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lee, E. (2003). Abortion, motherhood, and mental health: medicalizing reproduction in the United States and Great Britain. United Kingdom: Transaction Publishers.

Mattingly, R. (2004). In every pew sits a broken heart: hope for the hurting. New York: Zondervan.

McConnell, T. H. (2006). The nature of disease: pathology for the health professions. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Naden, C. J. (2007). Abortion: Open for Debate – Group 4. New York: Marshall Cavendish.

NCCDPHP (1999). Abortion Surveillance. Web.

Noonan, J. T. (1979). A private choice, abortion in America in the seventies. New York: Free Press.

PPFA, (2004). Teenagers, Abortion, and Government Intrusion Laws.

Roemer, M. I. (1993). National Health Systems of the World: The issues. New York: Oxford University Press US.

WIN. (1982). Women’s International Network news, Volume 8. Kenya, Women’s International Network.

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