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Every day, thousands of women seek opportunities to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. The developed world, with its continuous emphasis on gender equality and women's career opportunities, no longer judges women for their abortion decisions. Despite the gruesome demographic picture in many developed countries, abortion remains a legal and widely accessible procedure. Unfortunately, the society rarely considers the opposite side of the problem. Legalization of abortions is a step into nowhere, because it is neither ethical nor moral. Legal abortions provide an easy opportunity for men and women to alleviate the responsibility for their sexual decisions and acts. Easy and affordable abortion options induce irresponsible sexual behaviors and create an atmosphere of all-permissiveness. Abortion should be illegal, because it is a murder; it leads to irreversible physical and psychological changes in women's health and represents a serious violations of medical ethics.
For the purpose of this paper, abortion is defined as the woman's voluntary decision to terminate her pregnancy. This definition is borrowed from Warren (434). In this sense, abortion should be illegal, because it is a murder of an unborn baby. The rights of the fetus are a highly contested political, moral, legal, and ethical issue, but it is clear that the life of the fetus starts from the moment of conception. Proponents of legal abortions argue that it is not unreasonable to allow abortions at the earliest stages of pregnancy, because the fetus does not display any distinct brain activity and cannot exist beyond the uterus (Warren 436). Yet, the truth is that, since the moment of conception, the fetus is a human, who has an inalienable right to life. Dubow is right: conception is the moment when a new independent life begins, since "during its passage through the Fallopian tube, its connection with the mother is wholly broken… it is not rational to suppose that its total independence, thus once established, becomes again merged into total identity" (17). Simply stated, the moment of conception is also the moment of creating a new identity, a new person, and a new being. This is why abortion should be equaled to murder, and this is also why it should be made illegal.
Abortion should be illegal, because it imposes an unreasonable burden of health complications and public health costs on society. The most complicated are the mental health consequences of abortions. According to Fergusson, Horwood, and Ridder, women undergoing abortions often experience the sense of guilt, low self-esteem, and unresolved loss (16). Such women are extremely susceptible to the risks of developing anxiety, substance abuse disorders, depression, hostility, and even bipolar disorder (Fergusson, Horwood & Ridder 16). The financial consequences of such disorders are difficult to estimate, but with the growing pressure to contain medical costs, making abortions illegal is one of the most reliable ways to reduce healthcare expenditures. By making abortions illegal, the society will secure women from developing long-term mental health complications, while also ensuring that medical professionals do not violate their oath.
Abortion should be illegal, because it is a serious violation of the Hippocratic Oath. The oath shapes the basis for developing and sustaining an ethical patient-doctor relationship (Ogunbanjo & Bogaert 30). Certainly, the Hippocratic Oath has undergone many changes and, in its current form, represents an abridged version of the original text; nevertheless, its core message remains unchanged and promises that no doctor will ever do any harm to the patient (Ogunbanjo & Bogaert 30). Abortion must be outlawed, in order to make medical professionals more responsible in their decisions and guarantee that any violation of the Hippocratic Oath is subject to legitimate punishment. By outlawing abortions, the society will make the whole medical world reconsider its mission and purpose. Meanwhile, men and women will have to think twice, before they engage in irresponsible sexual behaviors.
Certainly, the call for making abortions illegal is not without controversy. Two most popular reasons why abortion should not be illegal are related to the questions of autonomy (women have the right to make individual decisions regarding their pregnancy) and health safety (illegal abortions are claimed to be killing hundreds of women worldwide). Sedgh et al. performed a detailed analysis of the abortion trends between 1995 and 2008 and found that, in the countries with the most restrictive abortion laws, the levels of abortions were the highest (341). Yet, the real problem is not in abortions but in the social, economic and cultural conditions, in which abortions become illegal. Abortions must be illegal, but the state must also provide women with enough motivation not to seek illegal abortions in case of unwanted pregnancy. For instance, adoption should be made easier. Contraception should be made affordable and available, in order to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies. Obviously, there is no way for the developed world other than to make abortions illegal, because no one should be allowed to kill innocent babies, before they are born.
The debate over the morality and ethics of abortions continues to persist. Abortions should be illegal, because they are equal to murders. Moreover, abortion leads to long-term health complications and represent a serious violation of the Hippocratic Oath. The life of a baby starts from the moment of conception, when a new, distinct identity is created. Women who undergo abortions are likely to face considerable physical and mental health problems later in life. Certainly, the questions of autonomy and the risks of illegal abortions should not be totally disregarded. Still, there is no way for the developed world other than making abortions illegal, as long as no one should have the legal and moral right to kill unborn babies.