The raging battle for women’s rights can be found in almost every avenue of American culture. Whether it be in the workplace, in the government, in churches, or within families, females are fighting for their freedom to control their own lives. They want to work in whichever field they desire, to love whomever they want, and to make decisions for themselves. One of the biggest cases in the quarrel for feminism is the legalization of abortion. Women argue that it is their right to make personal decisions based on their health, even if that means the death of a fetus. To them, an abortion is a seemingly harmless act that protects their bodies and minds from the suffering of unwanted pregnancies; however, the lack of education about abortion leads to the slaughter of millions of unborn babies, post-abortion health concerns, and the destruction of families.
American society usually finds itself split into two sides: pro-life and pro-choice. The pro-life argument fights for the lives of the innocent children being killed by abortion. They defend life, both inside and outside of the womb. 94% of pro-lifers affiliate with a religion or a belief in God (Pew Forum). The main basis for their belief is that God places value on all lives. The pro-choice case stands up for the rights of the mothers, claiming that women have the right to decide what happens to their bodies. A child is a huge responsibility, they say, one that a woman should not be forced to take upon herself. An unwanted child is more likely to be subjected to physical and verbal abuse. Abortion protects the mother from undesirable responsibility and saves the child from potential future abuse. The pro-choice argument is founded on women’s desire to control their lives and common misconceptions about what abortion is. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy resulting in the death of the embryo or fetus.
Many opinions on abortion are based on common misconceptions. Society preaches that abortions are rare expulsions of a fetus, not a developing child, most often used in extreme cases of medical health issues, rape, and incest. But Guttmacher Institute reports that one in four women will have an abortion by aged forty-five. Only 1.5% of all abortions are attributed to cases of rape and incest. Also contrary to popular belief, only one of the methods of abortion painlessly ends the life of the child. The other three methods are graphic and painful for the child and mother. The abortion pill is usually administered during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. The mother ingests a pill that weakens the lining of her uterus. The blood supply and nourishment of the child is cut off, ending its life inside of the uterus. After a day or two, the mother takes a second pill that stimulates labor, pushing the dead fetus out of her uterus. She is then left with disposing of the corpse of her child, which at nine weeks is about an inch in size and has developed fingers and toes.
Taking the pill causes severe cramping and bleeding for two weeks or more. Medical abortions account for about 24% of abortions. (Guttmacher Institute) The most prevalent method of abortion is aspiration abortion, usually used between five and thirteen weeks of pregnancy. In this surgical procedure, a suction catheter with 10-20 times more power than a vacuum is inserted into the uterus. The suction rapidly tears apart the unborn child, squeezing the body parts through a tube and into a machine that disposes of the body. The uterus is then scraped to remove any leftover parts. The most common side effect of the aspiration abortion are infection, damage to the uterus, cervix or bladder, and hemorrhage.
About 65% of abortions are aspiration or suction abortions. (Guttmacher Institute) The dilation and evacuation abortion method is administered during thirteen and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy. A clamp is placed inside the uterus and is used to grasp a limb of the child. Limb by limb, the child is torn apart and removed from the mother’s uterus. The skull is the most difficult part to remove. About the size of a large plum, the skull is crushed into small fragments and extracted with the clamp. To ensure there are no pieces left inside the uterus, the dead child is pieced back together on a tray. Infection, cervical damage, and bladder perforation are common for the mother to experience. Guttmacher Institute reports that about 10% of all abortions are performed using the dilation and evacuation method. Induction abortion is performed the latest during a pregnancy, accounting for about 1.3% of abortions (Guttmacher Institute). At twenty-five weeks to full-term, science has proven that the child can feel pain at this stage.
A large syringe is inserted into the heart or brain of the unborn child, causing immediate death. The mother carries her deceased child inside of her for two to three days. After her cervix is dilated, she goes into labor and delivers her stillborn baby. Quite often, the mother cannot reach the abortion clinic in time to deliver her child and is forced to deliver in a bathtub or toilet. Induction abortions have high risks of hemorrhage, lacerations, uterine perforations, and future pregnancy complications. One of the most undiscussed aspects of abortion is the long-term side effects that plague the mother. Directly after the procedure, women often experience excessive bleeding, abdominal pain, and infection to the uterus or blood. The invasive methods used in abortion can cause damage to the cervix and scarring of the uterus. Sexual dysfunction can be a result of the scarring. Due to the hormone imbalances caused by an abortion, mothers are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer, as well as a higher chance of developing rectal or reproductive system cancers. Women with a history of induced abortion were found to be 3.15 times more likely to be seropositive for the sexually transmitted bacteria that causes Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Abortions also affect a mother’s future pregnancies. A woman can become infertile or suffer conditions like cervical incompetence, uterine perforations, and placenta previa, that can easily lead to miscarriages (De Veber).
Physical damage is not the only hardship women experience after an abortion. Almost every mother experiences some kind of denial, unexplained anger, anxiety attacks, or nightmares. More extreme cases include eating disorders, insomnia, depression, and suicidal thoughts (Advice Aid). The constant reminder of their decision may plague many women. This may cause them to harbor deep resentment towards others who have living children. Some women experience a strong fascination with other babies, or obsession with the idea of replacing the one they aborted. Others may have a hatred towards children or have trouble bonding with them, only being reminded of the pain of their choice. Since women receive virtually no therapy before or after the procedure, they may turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve some of their pain (After Abortion). Abortion can also bring emotional turmoil to the fathers. Mothers often make the decision to abort their child with even consulting the father, leaving him feeling angry, guilty, and powerless.
Men may feel that part of their manhood was stripped away when such an important choice was made without their input. This could lead to irrational acts of violence, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. The broken trust caused by this trauma can lead to a failed relationship between the couple, as well as a tendency for sexual dysfunction and trust issues for the man. (De Veber). Couples who have had abortions tend allow their experience to affect how they raise their other children. They may expect too much of their children, wanting them to serve as replacements for the child they lost. The other children may be pressured to live up to the unattainable standard of “what might have been”. Women with a history of abortions tend to hold back their love from their other children. They fear that if they get attached to them, they will be punished by losing them. A child’s mental development is modeled on their parents’ emotional behavior so the typical grief and depression that follow an abortion can affect the growth of other children in a family. Studies also show that abortions are linked to abusive behavior in a parent. (After Abortion)
History of abortion in a mother also can affect the physical health of future children. Induced abortion was associated with an 86% increased risk of preterm birth among women with previous first-trimester abortions, and a 267% increased risk among women with previous second-trimester abortions. The consequence of this greatly increased prematurity is that the rate of cerebral palsy in babies less than 3.3 pounds is 38 times greater than other babies. Babies born at 29 weeks or earlier usually weigh less than 3 pounds. Thus, since abortion increases the risk of premature birth, it can be directly responsible for cases of cerebral palsy in premature infants (De Veber). Women consider abortion to be a personal act that saves them responsibility and bodily harm. But if women are going to fight for their right to abort, they deserve to know what it will do to them, their children, and their relationships. They should be informed of the physical and psychological damage it will bring upon them. The future risk for women and their families should be made known to the public. The topic of abortion is not a topic of women’s rights. It is a choice that affects more people than just the mother. To many, the solution for abortion is to create laws against it. But a change in laws against abortion will not change the hearts of the people who desire abortion. Women will continue to fight for their “rights” and people will find a way to get around the laws. The only way to stop the spread of damage that abortion causes is to change the hearts of society. People need to see what abortion really is and how it affects those involved. A desire for abortion to end is needed, not laws against something that people desire. The goal should not be that legislation should fix problems.
The goal should be that the hearts of the people causing the problems are fixed, thus abolishing the need for legislation. People need to want to be better than they are, which affects the decisions that are made for our nation. When people are focused on what is really best for humanity, they let go of their selfish desires and strive to get rid of things that bring more harm than good. If women’s rights are truly what society is concerned for, they will discuss the realities of abortion, heed the warnings of the consequences, and people will be saved from future pain and suffering.