By Ali Raja

June 19, 2009
An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. It can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced, in humans and other species. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy, while spontaneous abortions are usually termed miscarriages.
Abortion has a long history. There have been many issues and concerns regarding abortion throughout the very existence of man. One of the most recent issue and comparatively larger issue regarding this are unsafe abortions in countries where abortions have been banned. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an unsafe abortion as being "a procedure...carried out by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both." Unsafe abortions are sometimes known colloquially as "back-alley" abortions. This can include a person without medical training, a professional health provider operating in sub-standard conditions, or the woman herself.
Unsafe abortion remains a public health concern today due to the higher incidence and severity of its associated complications, such as incomplete abortion, sepsis, hemorrhage, and damage to internal organs. WHO estimates that 19 million unsafe abortions occur around the world annually and that 68,000 of these result in the patientís death. Complications of unsafe abortion are said to account, globally, for approximately 13% of all maternal mortalities, with regional estimates including 12% in Asia, 25% in Latin America, and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa. A 2007 study published in The Lancet found that, although the global rate of abortion declined from 45.6 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003, unsafe procedures still accounted for 48% of all abortions performed in 2003.[ Health education, access to family planning, and improvements in health care during and after abortion have been proposed to address this phenomenon.
Another issue regarding abortion is a much more captivating issue. The abortion debate refers to discussion and controversy surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion. The two main groups involved in the abortion debate are the pro-choice movement, which supports access to abortion and regards it as morally permissible, and the pro-life movement, which generally opposes access to abortion and regards it as morally wrong. Each movement has, with varying results, sought to influence public opinion and to attain legal support for its position. In Canada, for example, abortion is available on demand, while in Nicaragua abortions are illegal.
Pro-life supporters argue that abortion is morally wrong on the basis that a fetus is an innocent human being.[18] Others reject this position by drawing a distinction between human being and human person, arguing that while the fetus is innocent and biologically human, it is not a person with a right to life.[19] In support of this distinction, some propose a list of criteria as markers of personhood. For example, Mary Ann Warren suggests consciousness (at least the capacity to feel pain), reasoning, self motivation, the ability to communicate, and self-awareness.[20] According to Warren, a being need not exhibit all of these criteria to qualify as a person with a right to life, but if a being exhibits none of them (or perhaps only one), then it is certainly not a person. Warren concludes that as the fetus satisfies only one criterion, consciousness (and this only after it becomes susceptible to pain),[21] the fetus is not a person and abortion is therefore morally permissible. Other philosophers apply similar criteria, concluding that a fetus lacks a right to life because it lacks self-consciousness,[22] rationality,[23] and autonomy.[24] These lists diverge over precisely which features confer a right to life,[25] but tend to propose various developed psychological features not found in fetuses.
From a religious perspective, most religions have a stance against abortion as abortion refers to destroying a life. There are exceptions however. Some religions, such as Islam have allowed abortion on account of the arousal of a complication with the fetus.
To conclude with even though women have a right over their bodies, by aborting, they are basically murdering a life. Abortions should not be banned in countries as there maybe some problems or life risks involving the mothers themselves. However abortions should only be made in cases of health risk. For instance if someone wants an abortion simply on account of the child not being wanted; this should certainly not be allowed. To counter such a problem education related to birth control should be given on a large scale in countries where it has not yet been introduced.


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