What is the conservative argument for restricting access to abortion? Choose one
What is the conservative argument for restricting access to abortion? What is the liberal argument for preserving access to abortion? Why is personhood such an important concept in the abortion debate? Which view do you find most plausible and why?
Which view of sexual behavior (conventional, liberal or moderate) come closest to your own perspective? What are your reasons for favoring it?.
An abortion is a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. It is a basic healthcare need for millions of women, girls and others who can become pregnant. Worldwide, an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in an abortion every year.
But while the need for abortion is common, access to safe and legal abortion services is far from guaranteed for those who may need abortion services.
In fact, access to abortion is one of the most hotly contested topics globally, and the debate is clouded by misinformation about the true ramifications of restricting access to this basic healthcare service.
Here are the basic facts about abortion that everyone should know.
Ending a pregnancy is a common decision that millions of people make – every year a quarter of pregnancies end in abortion.
And regardless of whether abortion is legal or not, people still require and regularly access abortion services. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a US-based reproductive health non-profit, the abortion rate is 37 per 1,000 people in countries that prohibit abortion altogether or allow it only in instances to save a woman’s life, and 34 per 1,000 people in countries that broadly allow for abortion, a difference that is not statistically significant.
When undertaken by a trained health-care provider in sanitary conditions, abortions are one of the safest medical procedures available, safer even than child birth.
But when governments restrict access to abortions, people are compelled to resort to clandestine, unsafe abortions, particularly those who cannot afford to travel or seek private care. Which brings us to the next point.
Preventing women and girls from accessing an abortion does not mean they stop needing one. That’s why attempts to ban or restrict abortions do nothing to reduce the number of abortions, it only forces people to seek out unsafe abortions.
Unsafe abortions are defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “a procedure for terminating an unintended pregnancy carried out either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not confirm to minimal medical standards, or both.”
They estimate that 25 million unsafe abortions take place each year, the vast majority of them in developing countries.
In contrast to a legal abortion that is carried out by a trained medical provider, unsafe abortions can have fatal consequences. So much so that unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide and lead to an additional five million largely preventable disabilities, according to the WHO.
Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are preventable. Yet such deaths are common in countries where access to safe abortion is limited or prohibited entirely, as the majority of women and girls who need an abortion because of an unwanted pregnancy are not able to legally access one.
In countries with such restrictions, the law typically allows for what are known as narrow exceptions to the legislation criminalising abortion. These exceptions might be when pregnancy results from rape or incest, in cases of severe and fatal foetal impairment, or when there is risk to the life or health of the pregnant person. Only a small percentage of abortions are due to these reasons, meaning the majority of women and girls living under these laws might be forced to seek unsafe abortions and put their health and lives at risk.
Those who are already marginalised are disproportionately affected by such laws as they have no means to seek safe and legal services in another country or access private care. They include women and girls on low income, refugees and migrants, adolescents, lesbian, bisexual cisgender women and girls, transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, minority or Indigenous women.
The WHO has noted that one of the first steps toward avoiding maternal deaths and injuries is for states to ensure that people have access to sex education, are able to use effective contraception, have safe and legal abortion, and are given timely care for complications.
Evidence shows that abortion rates are higher in countries where there is limited access to contraception. Abortion rates are lower where people, including adolescents have information about and can access modern contraceptive methods and where comprehensive sexuality education is available and there is access to safe and legal abortion on broad grounds.
Over the last 25 years, more than 50 countries have changed their laws to allow for greater access to abortion, at times recognizing the vital role that access to safe abortion plays in protecting women’s lives and health. Ireland joined that list on 25 May 2018 when, in a long-awaited referendum, its people voted overwhelmingly to repeal the near-total constitutional ban on abortion.
Despite the trend towards reforming laws to prevent deaths and injuries, some countries, including Nicaragua and El Salvador, maintain draconian and discriminatory laws that still ban abortion in virtually all circumstances. In fact, according to the WHO, across the globe 40% of women of childbearing age live in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws, or where abortion is legal, is neither available or accessible. In these states, abortion is banned or only permitted in highly restricted circumstances, or if legal, is not accessible due to multiple barriers to access in practice.
Even in states with broader access to legal abortion, pregnant individuals can still face multiple restrictions on and barriers to access to services such as cost, biased counselling, mandatory waiting periods. The WHO has issued technical guidance for states on the need to identify and remove such barriers.