Abortion debate

debate about whether and under which circumstances should woman be allowed to abort a fetus

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. For decades, induced abortion is a subject that is controversial. Each person has a system of moral values. Based on their system of morals, people have different opinions about it. Religion can also influence this opinion.

Different opinions around the world change

A number of opinion polls have been carried out around the world. They have tried to find out what people think about abortion. Results were different for different countries, but also varied with the questions that were asked.

In May 2005, a survey was done in ten European countries. The people were asked, if they could agree with the statement: "If a woman does not want children, she should be allowed to have an abortion". The highest level of approval was 81% in the Czech Republic; the lowest was 47% in Poland.[1]

A poll was done in November 2001. The poll asked people in Canada in what circumstances they believed an abortion should be permitted. 32% responded that they believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 52% that it should be legal in certain circumstances, and 14% that it should never be legal. A similar poll in April 2009 surveyed people in the United States about abortion; 18% said that abortion should be "legal in all cases", 28% said that abortion should be "legal in most cases", 28% said abortion should be "illegal in most cases" and 16% said abortion should be "illegal in all cases".[2] In a Gallup poll taken in July 2011, however, 47% of Americans identified themselves as pro-life and the same percentage of Americans identified themselves as pro-choice.[3] A November 2005 poll in Mexico found that 73.4% think abortion should not be legalized while 11.2% think it should.[4]

Of attitudes in South America, a December 2003 survey found that 30% of Argentines thought that abortion should be allowed in Argentina "regardless of situation", 47% that it should be allowed "under some circumstances", and 23% that it should not be allowed "regardless of situation".[5] A March 2007 poll about abortion in Brazil found that 65% of Brazilians believe that it "should not be modified", 16% that it should be expanded "to allow abortion in other cases", 10% that abortion should be "decriminalized", and 5% were "not sure".[6] A July 2005 poll in Colombia found that 65.6% said they thought that abortion should remain illegal, 26.9% that it should be made legal, and 7.5% that they were unsure.[7]

Pro-life and pro-choice change

Some people have strong feelings about abortion. People who think that the law should let women choose to have abortions are called pro-choice. People who think that abortion is wrong and that the law should not allow it are called pro-life.

People who are pro-choice believe that women should be allowed to have control over their own bodies when it comes to ending or continuing a pregnancy. They believe that, because the embryo or fetus is inside the woman's body and does not have developed enough organs to survive on its own until later in the pregnancy, it is not yet a person with rights. Pro-choice people also make the argument that abortion needs to be legal in order to protect women, because when abortion is illegal, it does not completely stop abortions from happening, but makes it so that women try to do abortions on themselves or get them done by people who are not trained doctors, which puts those women in danger of death or injury. Pro-choice people believe the way to prevent abortion is to make sure women only get pregnant when they want to. In addition to advocating the legality of abortion, pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood often try to improve people's access to things used to prevent pregnancy (called contraception), and try to teach young people about sex to reduce the number of teen pregnancies.

People who are pro-life believe that all humans, including the unborn, have a right to life. For this reason, they believe abortion is wrong and that it is murder. They think the law should make abortion a crime in order to protect innocent life within the womb. However, though pro-life people think abortion is wrong, there are rare cases in which some pro-life people would allow an abortion to happen, like if the pregnancy puts the woman's life at risk or if she got pregnant from rape. Pro-life people think women who are pregnant and do not want to raise a child should look for alternatives to abortion such as giving the baby up for adoption. There are many crisis pregnancy centers pro-life people have started to discourage women from having abortions. They have also started advocacy groups, like the American Life League, Feminists for Life and Live Action, to try to convince more people to believe that abortion is wrong and to try to get governments to make laws to restrict abortion. Some pro-life people have used violence to try to stop abortions from happening. However, most people who are against abortion do not do such wrong things and so they try to stop abortions from happening through peaceful activism.[8]

Religious views change

Many religions have a view on abortion. These views span a broad spectrum from acceptance to rejection.[9] Most religions generally oppose abortion.[10]

Selected issues of the debate change

Generally, when there is a debate about whether abortion laws should be changed in a country, there are advocacy groups. Some of the arguments these groups often have are outlined below.

Breast cancer hypothesis change

There is a hypothesis that induced abortion raises the risk of getting breast cancer. People who support this, call it a link, rather than a hypothesis.[11] The subject has been controversial, but currently, scientists agree that there is no link between abortion in the first trimester, and increasing the risk to get breast cancer.[12][13][14][15]

In early pregnancy, levels of estrogen increase. This causes the breast to grow, and to prepare for lactation. In the 1890s, studies were done on rats, before this hypothesis was put forward.[16][17][18]

Can the embryo or fetus feel pain? change

It is currently unclear from what moment the embryo or fetus can feel pain. This is also used in the debate about abortion. Many researchers think that a fetus is unlikely to feel pain until after the seventh month of pregnancy. Others disagree.[19] At about twenty-six weeks of pregnancy, certain connections are made in the thalamus of the growing fetus. Developmental neurobiologists suspect that these connections may be critical to perception of pain by the fetus.[20] However, legislation has been proposed by pro-life advocates requiring abortion providers to tell a woman that the embryo or fetus may feel pain during an abortion procedure.[21]

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study analyzed data from dozens of medical reports and other studies. The researchers concluded that fetuses are unlikely to feel pain until the third trimester of pregnancy.[22] However a number of medical critics have since disputed these conclusions.[19][23] There are certain connections in the thalamus of the fetuse. These connections develop at about twenty-six weeks of pregnancy. At the end of the 20th century there was an emerging consensus among developmental neurobiologists that these connections are very important when it comes to the perception of pain in the fetus.[20] Other researchers such as Anand and Fisk have challenged this late date, positing that pain can be felt around twenty weeks.[24] Pain can have many different aspects: It might be purely relying on sensory input, but it might also involve emotions and thought. For this reason, it is perhaps impossible to know exactly when the embryo or fetus feels pain, even if it has developed the links in the thalamus.[20]

Referneces change

  1. TNS Sofres. (May 2005). "European Values". Archived from the original (PDF) on March 25, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2007.
  2. Pew Research Center.(2009). Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  3. Gallup poll on abortion.
  4. "Mexicans Support Status Quo on Social Issues". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 2005-12-01. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  5. "Argentines Assess Abortion Changes". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 2004-03-04. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  6. "Brazilians Want to Keep Abortion as Crime". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 2007-04-12. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  7. "Colombians Reject Legalizing Abortion". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 2005-08-02. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  8. "Abortions Clinic".
  9. BBC "Religion and Ethics" Archived 2007-11-14 at the Wayback Machine Be aware that these BBC pages do not cover all Protestant, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist beliefs.
  10. Steen, Edwin Benzel; Price, James Harold (1988). Human Sex and Sexuality. Courier Corporation. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-486-25544-6.
  11. Russo J, Russo I (1980). "Susceptibility of the mammary gland to carcinogenesis. II. Pregnancy interruption as a risk factor in tumor incidence". Am J Pathol. 100 (2): 505–506. PMC 1903536. PMID 6773421. In contrast, abortion is associated with increased risk of carcinomas of the breast. The explanation for these epidemiologic findings is not known, but the parallelism between the DMBA-induced rat mammary carcinoma model and the human situation is striking. …Abortion would interrupt this process, leaving in the gland undifferentiated structures like those observed in the rat mammary gland, which could render the gland again susceptible to carcinogenesis.
  12. "Induced abortion does not increase breast cancer risk". World Health Organization. June 2000. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
  13. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Sep 2004) [2000]. The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion (PDF). Evidence-based Clinical Guideline Number 7. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-904752-06-6. OCLC 263585758. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  14. "Breast Cancer Risks". United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
  15. Koba S, Nowak S (Feb 1976). "[A case of acute bacterial dysentery with cerebrospinal meningitis]". Wiadomości lekarskie (in Polish). 29 (3): 221–3. ISSN 0043-5147. PMID 1251638.
  16. Russo J, Russo IH (August 1980). "Susceptibility of the mammary gland to carcinogenesis. II. Pregnancy interruption as a risk factor in tumor incidence". Am. J. Pathol. 100 (2): 497–512. PMC 1903536. PMID 6773421.
  17. Russo J, Tay L, Russo I (1982). "Differentiation of the mammary gland and susceptibility to carcinogenesis". Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2 (1): 5–73. doi:10.1007/BF01805718. PMID 6216933. S2CID 22657169.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. Russo J, Russo I (1987). "Biological and molecular bases of mammary carcinogenesis". Laboratory Investigation. 57 (2): 112–37. ISSN 0023-6837. PMID 3302534.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Study: Fetus feels no pain until third trimester", Associated Press via MSNBC (2005-08-24). Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Johnson, Martin H.; Everitt, Barry (2000). Essential Reproduction. Wiley. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-632-04287-6.
  21. Weisman, Jonathan. "House to Consider Abortion Anesthesia Bill", Washington Post 2006-12-05. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  22. Lee SJ, Ralston HJ, Drey EA, Partridge JC, Rosen MA (2005). "Fetal pain: a systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence". JAMA. 294 (8): 947–54. doi:10.1001/jama.294.8.947. PMID 16118385.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. Lowery CL, Hardman MP, Manning N, Hall RW, Anand KJS (2007). "Neurodevelopmental Changes of Fetal Pain". Seminars in Perinatology. 31 (5): 275–82. doi:10.1053/j.semperi.2007.07.004. PMID 17905181.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. Paul, Annie. "The First Ache", New York Times 2008-02-10. Retrieved 2009-03-21.