Abortion: Ethical Thought

abortion, rape
(c) missytwrites/missymjwrites -- 2014

You're a young female at high school. You've planned your future. You want to become an artist or a teacher or even a vet, you haven't really thought it out yet. Invited to a party you go with your best friend who decides to show off her legs and tells you to do it as well. You're around friends, so why not? You're safe. You get drunk.

That night you were raped by a friend. You find out you're pregnant weeks later and you know you cannot have a child this early in your life. You are too young.

Abortion is your only thought. Once you have one, nightmares haunt you. Panic attacks come upon you. You tell family and friends you were raped years later and no one believes you. They tell you it was fake because you waited that long to reveal it. Abortion didn't kill the foetus, it killed you.

The definition of abortion is defined by the Australian Abortion Law Reform Act of 2008 as 'intentionally causing the termination of a woman's pregnancy by:-

(a) Using an instrument; or

(b) Using a drug or a combination of drugs;


(c) Any other means;'

Victoria is the only state in Australia that abortion is legal on request no matter what happened. Abortion is a state law rather than a national law. There is no law for notification or consent of a woman's partner, and no enforced waiting period.

In this essay, I will talk about the social and political view of abortion in Australia, and the controversies involving American politicians regarding rape and abortion, unsafe abortions. Lastly, I will give my own opinion on abortion to conclude.

The independent MP for Frankston, Geoff Shaw claims that the Victorian abortion law is one of the worst in the world. He told The Age "Here in Australia we can't kill snake eggs but we are quite happy to kill an egg in the tummy and it should be the safest place for a baby to be." After what he said was released, the quote went viral and the Internet decided to mock him with multiple references to the 1979 film 'Alien' directed by Ridley Scott.

The article mentioned that Shaw will be introducing a bill that will outlaw gender selection abortions. Shaw protested that he is a "protector of women's rights", saying "If in society we are saying there should be more women on boards there should be more females in parliament, well you are killing them... How can any women who are pro women's rights say that you can kill girls?"

Former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard told press at the women for Gillard Initiative on the 11th of June, 2013: "We don't want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better".

Current Prime Minister and former health minister Tony Abbott has made many quotes about abortion. On March 17th, 2004 Abbott reminds everyone that abortion "...is the easy way out."

Australian society's view on abortion is much different to our current PM's. The Medical Journal of Australia conducted a study in 2010, asking 1050 Australians above the age of 18 their attitude to early and late abortion. 87% of participants believed that abortion should be lawful in the first trimester, 61% unconditionally and 26% thought depending on the circumstances. Thus indicating that most Australians support late term abortions.

On August 2012, former U.S. Representative for Missouri's 2nd congressional district Todd Akin was asked if women who were raped and became pregnant should have the option of abortion. Akin replied with "...If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something." Akin, however, did not step down and continued as the representative until January 3rd of 2013. He later apologised for the remark, and what he meant by 'legitimate rape' was 'forcible rape' and added that he misspoke. After his interview during his run, he continued to apologise for himself, as well as releasing an ad reminding others that he misspoke.

A lot of American pro-life advocates believes pregnancy via rape is either rare or impossible. This belief came to light during 1972, an assistant clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Fred Mecklenburg published an article titled "The Indications for Induced Abortion: A Physician's Perspective". In said article, Mecklenburg wrote that pregnancy resulting from rape is "extremely rare" and added that "...during rape sexual intercourse is not always successfully completed, that the probability of rape coinciding with a woman's ovulation period is low, and that rape-induced trauma impedes ovulation".

Many anti-abortion activists believe that trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a form of contraception to avoid any form of pregnancy. This might be a 1970s view, but it is still believed today. Two weeks before a 2012 election, Richard Mourdock is the 53rd treasurer of Indiana and a 2012 Republican state nominee was asked a question about abortion during a debate. His responded with "I believe that life begins at conception ... Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." The day after the debate Mourdock intended to say that "God creates life, and that was my point." Barack Obama appeared on the Tonight Show and talked about Mourdock's comment saying "Rape is rape. It is a crime," and, "These various distinctions about rape don't make too much sense to me."

We as a society live in a world where abortions are currently safe. However, in many countries, the practice is illegal thus resulting in many unsafe abortions. Statistics posted by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) teaches us that 21.6 million women experience an unsafe abortion worldwide each year and out of the 21.6 million, 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries. 47,000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year and many of these deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13% of all maternal deaths.

However, unsafe abortions happen in first world countries. In the state of Michigan, America, it was noted in 2005 that a 16-year-old boy used a bat to beat his pregnant, underage girlfriend at her request to abort a foetus. To have an abortion under the age of 18 is required to have parental consent. In the state of Indiana, they too have parental consent laws. In 1988, Becky Bell died from an unsafe abortion, as she feared to ask to have an abortion from her parents.

Methods that are used for unsafe abortion includes: - breaking the amniotic sac with a sharp object or wire -- this is one of the 'popular' methods of unsafe abortions as the uterus is soft during pregnancy and easy to pierce. Breaking the amniotic sac can result in injury to internal organs thus resulting in death. Another method is pumping toxic mixtures into the body, this results in said body going into toxic shock and dying. The last (but not least) option is by self-administering abortifacients over the counter drugs or illegally obtained drugs. The risks included with using these drugs are a uterine rupture, irregular heartbeat, and a rise or drop in blood pressure hypertension, cardiovascular problems, pulmonary oedema, and death. All though the known method of using a coat hanger for unsafe abortions are popularised it wasn't the norm.

The thing about being pro-choice is that you don't have to be pro-abortion. I personally (as a female) would never get one unless I was in dire circumstances. However, I like the fact that we can get one. I am pro-choice because I believe that women should have the right and choice to have one. The only exception to abortion, in my opinion, are the women who decide to have an abortion as a way for contraception. Abortion is a horrible thing to happen to anyone, the termination of who knows what they could have been and the life of the woman who decides to have one. This is why we should keep the laws of abortion the way they are. To allow women to have safe abortions rather than resulting in unsafe abortions like many minors and women who live in third, second and first world countries endure. The more we teach teenagers about sex, contraception, safe sex and abortion -- the lower the pregnancy rate goes down.

In conclusion, we need to keep our laws on abortion, with teaching politicians the anatomy of a woman's body and knowing when not to say something that they may regret later in their lives. Unsafe abortions will happen if we make abortion illegal with the result of many women passing away