MY TWO CENTS ON THE ABORTION ISSUE
The concept of terminating pregnancy before its due date has been a topic that has generated a lot of controversy across the world. For instance in the United States specifically in the state of Alabama, male lawmakers voted for the criminalization of abortion without the exemptions of rape or incest. The only exemption given was for cases when the mother’s life was at serious risk. Medics conducting abortion in that state would accrue a 99 year jail sentence.
The question we should be really asking ourselves is whether abortion is really wrong. Here is where a lot of controversy lies because the concept of ‘morality’ and religion. I have put quotation marks on the word morality because it is a conundrum. No one can really define morality, because the concept of what society views as right or wrong varies according regions across the world. Many cultures have taken a moral stance on abortion due to the fact that it is perceived as a cruel way of terminating life. On the other hand, religious scriptures have condemned abortion though rather loosely. For instance, the Christian faith bases its anti-abortion stance from the fifth commandment that states, ‘Thou shall not kill’ (found in the King James Version Bible translation of Exodus 20:13). So by the act of terminating a pregnancy you are committing the act of killing according to the Christian faith.
The whole concept of abortion being wrong is complex. For instance, it raises the question of where life begins. Does life begin after conception or birth? People argue that the embryo in the uterus is just a mass of cells, while other argue that it is a full being. Another question raised is whether denying women abortion services is denying them the right to choose with what happens to their body. ‘My body my business’ is a notion held by many women across the globe. Honestly, it does make sense bearing in mind that no one has a right to dictate what happens with your body.
Women have sought out abortion for various reasons. For instance, the case of incest or rape, if the fetus has genetic abnormalities, preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) or because one is not prepared to become a parent. For whatever reason, I believe it is wrong to deny this right. I do not think any one can comprehend the magnitude of such a decision, but it wise to respect it.
Here in Africa, there is a lot of stigma surrounding this practice. Women who have conducted such acts are ostracized by society upon realization. They are perceived as ‘ whores’. There is a deeply founded notion here that only whores abort children. Such women rarely find husbands, and often get rejected by their in- laws if they are lucky enough to get married. Their dignity is taken away. Society shames them without bothering to understand their underlying reasons for their action.
I happen to have visited a children’s home within my locality. What I found out amazed me. It was shocking was that almost half of the children in that home were abandoned by their mothers because they were products of incest and rape. I could not help but wonder first, what has society turned into, and second, why wouldn’t these children be spared the suffering of living such a life. Do not get my words twisted, yes I do believe that children are a blessing, however, they should not be brought to this world to suffer. Stigma of children who are products of such acts is profound. They are unable to hold their heads high among their peers. There is nothing as bad as damaged self esteem. You can carry it throughout your life, and it can often lead to depression or worse, suicide.
There is yet another complex issue surrounding abortion. This issue is late term abortions. A late term abortion is the termination of pregnancy after the 20th week of gestation. In my opinion, I do believe that it is unnecessary with exemption of medical reasons. Reason being it is risky because it may cause massive bleeding due to perforation of the womb. This is dangerous since the life of the mother can be put at risk. At the 20th week, I think the pregnancy should be carried to term (with exemption where the life of the mother is at serious risk) and one could seek other alternative measures such as adoption.
That is my two cents on the matter, what do you think? Leave a comment below.