Abortion: Legal or Not?
Since 1969, when abortion was legalized in Canada, there have been roughly 4 million abortions. There are many reasons for abortions, such as unintended pregnancies. A mother may not be ready, may lack financial resources, or may have no partner. A child can also interfere with school, work, and other responsibilities that a mother has already committed to. But an unintended pregnancy is not the only reason for an abortion. In fact, legalizing abortion decreases the rate of abortion, gives women access to safe and consistent reproductive health services and allows women to obtain an abortion if they have already completed their childbearing.
Contrary to popular belief, making abortion illegal does not decrease the rate of abortion, and in many cases, it leads to an increase in the rate of abortion. Abortion is not affected by its legal status, as “denying women access to legal abortion does not prevent them from having abortions, but just increases the likelihood that they will resort to an illegal abortion” (Abortion Before and After Legalization). In legal settings, patients will receive mandatory counselling to help change their minds about getting an abortion. A study proved that “abortion rates are actually 4 times higher in countries where abortion is prohibited than in countries where it is legal” (Ahmed). “Between 1990-94 and 2015-19, the average abortion rate in countries with generally legal abortion declined by 43%, while in countries with severe restrictions on abortion, the average abortion rate increased by around 12%” (Abortion Law: Global Comparisons), suggesting that abortion rates actually increase as opposed to decreasing in countries where abortion is banned. Abortions should be made legal to decrease abortion rates.
Legalizing abortion can prevent jeopardizing the lives of women. It is believed that “everyone should have access to safe and consistent reproductive health services, including abortion” (The Government of Canada). Legalizing safe abortion can prevent many deaths as “approximately 13% of maternal deaths worldwide are attributable to unsafe abortion” (Women Human Rights). Making abortions illegal will increase maternal death rates as “more than 22,000 women and girls die each year after undertaking an unsafe abortion” (International Women’s Day). Legalizing abortion will have abortions done by medical professionals in sanitary legal health clinics, which is much safer for the mother, since “abortions take place around the world, no matter the legal setting” (Fox). Safe and consistent reproductive health services for women can prevent many maternal deaths.
Women should have the right to a safe abortion if they are not ready and do not want another child. When abortions are illegal, some women who are not able to get an illegal abortion will carry the unwanted pregnancy anyways; however, “restricting access to abortion does not just harm women – it harms their children as well” (Foster). Many women seek an abortion if they do not want any more children, as in a study, “nearly four in ten women said they had already completed their childbearing” (Finer). Women who already have enough children may not be ready to raise another child and may not only be unable to financially support the child but may also fail to give them the attention they need. If abortion is legal, women can abort the pregnancy and not have to worry about the responsibility of supporting another child financially and emotionally. Therefore, legalizing abortion can let women focus on their own lives and children and will free them of the responsibility of raising another child.
Safe abortions have many beneficial outcomes for society, including decreasing the rate of abortion, giving women access to safe and consistent reproductive health services, and allowing women to safely obtain an abortion if they do not want another child. It is time to realize that women should have the right to choose safe abortion and that making abortion illegal does not provide any benefits for anyone. Just as Jaydeep Tank once said, “any one woman or girl dying or becoming disabled from an unsafe abortion is one too many.”