Abortion: Medical Ethics and Criminalization

The debate around abortion and its legal and ethical properties have been dominating the spheres of medicine and law for many decades. The supporters of abortion legalization refer to the omnipresence of such procedures in all countries regardless of their legality, and the illegal methods of pregnancy termination are hazardous. The opponents’ side claims that abortion is a crime because a fetus in the women’s body, even at the earliest terms of pregnancy, is a human being that has a right to live.

Faundes and Shah (2015), the authors of the first article, argue that the criminalization of abortion drastically increases the rates of maternal mortality. Precise statistical data representing the rates of induced abortion in different countries indicates a pattern when the number of deaths caused by abortion rises after adopting laws that declare abortion illegal. At the same time, the authors emphasize that upon such legal procedures, there was no significant change in the number of abortions (Faundes & Shah, 2015). It is critical to legalize abortions and establish access to qualified health care for women who want to terminate a pregnancy. It will “decrease deaths and suffering,” and the promotion of effective contraceptives will reduce the rates of abortions (Faundes & Shah, 2015, p. 58).

The second article by Patil, Dode, and Ahirrao (2014) takes the opposite side of the argument and refers to moral codes and bioethics behind the legal procedures enabling termination of unwanted pregnancy. The authors validate their opinion by the fact that bioethics considers a fetus a human being because “life is present from the moment of conception” (Patil et al., 2014, p. 544). Therefore, it is logical that if the fetus is a person, it has the right to life as all people do. Moreover, the researchers indicate that the advancements in medicine enable identifying a malformed fetus so that it can be eliminated if it endangers the life of the mother. Nonetheless, abortion is a violation of human rights because it imposes a conflict of the right to life between a fetus and a mother.

When evaluating the discussed sides of the argument presented in two articles, the argument made by Faundes and Shah (2015) seems more compelling. Although Patil et al. (2014) provide a broader discussion, they do not illustrate as much detailed statistics as Faundes and Shah (2015) do. The supporters’ side demonstrates better explanation and validation of the claim by retrieving comparative data between the legality of abortion and mortality, as well as the number of abortions before and after criminalization in different countries. Such a broad representation of their opinion using a comprehensive writing style makes the argument very convincing.

Before reading the articles, I was hesitant in deciding which side to take. On the one hand, abortion is murder to a certain extent and should not be legal; on the other hand, women must have a right to choose because having a child changes life completely. However, while reading the articles, I found out that there were more concerns related to the topic of abortion. They vary from ethics, human rights, mortality, and morbidity rates, to the effect of socioeconomic status of a country on the abortion prevalence. The work on this paper encouraged me to perceive the issue more seriously. Considering the reality, where the number of abortions remains the same regardless of criminalization, I think it is vital to legalize abortions because it is the only way to ensure the safety of this procedure.

References

Faundes, A., & Shah, I. H. (2015). Evidence supporting broader access to safe legal abortion. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 131(S1), 56-59.

Patil, A., Dode, P., & Ahirrao, A. (2014). Medical ethics in abortion. Indian Journal of Clinical Practice,25(6), 544-548.