Column: Should women be penalized for choosing to have an abortion?


Micah Sanders, Editor-in-Chief

The Roe v. Wade case in 1973 was instrumental in legalizing nationwide abortion in America. However, according to a CNN opinion article written by Jill Filipovic, most states, such as Texas, are determined to overturn this law in an attempt to criminalize abortion. 

The law has previously been helpful in providing an option for women who prefer to terminate their pregnancy as it allows for safe abortion procedures in hospitals. However, with the current fight against abortion, Caroline Kitchener of The Washington Post notes that more women have turned to unsafe practices like procuring abortion pills over the counter.

An example is the drug misoprostol, which has become popular among women who wish to conduct an abortion in their homes for fear of arrest. However, most medical practitioners encourage a proper medical examination to avoid negative long-term effects on women. The responsibility that comes with being pregnant can be enough or too much to handle for some mothers, and that is why abortion should continued to be allowed, to enable women to decide whether they want to carry the pregnancy to term or procure a safe abortion.

One of the arguments in support of abortion is that an embryo is not considered a fetus until the eighth week. Therefore, one cannot classify abortion as murder if the pregnancy is a bunch of cells that have not yet fully been formed into a living being. 

Unfortunately, according to Paradise Afshar and Keith Allen, reporters for CNN, most states are against Roe Vs. Wade categorize abortion as murder due to the belief that human life begins at conception. 

This approach led to an arrest of a woman in Texas who used abortion pills from neighboring Mexico. However, the public outrage on the unfair charges against the woman has led the district attorney to drop all charges relating to her case. Health professionals in Texas note that if the state successfully implements a ban on abortion, more women will turn to unsafe abortion practices that may cause irreversible damages such as womb scarring and hemorrhaging, according to The Washington Post.  

Women have different reactions to pregnancy and respecting their views is important. For instance, Filipovic notes that some women are more career-driven than others. Therefore, an unplanned pregnancy may negatively affect their career progress, considering the time required in nurturing a child. Such women should have the option to terminate a pregnancy safely if they feel it does not align with their goals.

On the other hand, there is a risk of teenage pregnancies that may cause young girls not to further their education, graduate from school, and even delay enrolling in college. In most cases, such incidents cause the young women to suffer from depression as they see their peers further their education and prosper while they are relegated to the duties of a mother, a role they might not have been prepared to undertake. According to Filipovic, denying such women the right to a safe abortion is a direct disregard of their right to autonomy.

Most people against abortion also claim that a woman has no right to terminate a pregnancy without the father’s consent. This was the case in the case against Lizelle Herrera, where the husband has since left the marriage due to the belief that the wife unjustly killed their child.

However, this view is not entirely correct, as unwanted pregnancies are most likely to cause rifts between partners and their relationship due to constant arguments and displeasure from the woman who is not ready to be a mother. Additionally, Filipovic notes that women who are denied abortions are more likely to face financial difficulties in the future, which in turn causes disagreements in their homes. Therefore, imposing laws that ban abortions does not maintain a strong family unit. Forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term while they may not desire to be a mother only causes division and possibly divorce, depression, or even suicide depending on how the child was conceived. 

Criminalizing abortion would alter these statistics as more women would be forced to seek abortion services elsewhere without the right medical supervision. 

Abortions should remain legal to preserve women across the globe and afford them the right to make decisions that are favorable to them concerning motherhood. Denying women the right to a safe abortion is a violation of their right to make informed medical decisions and an unnecessary exposure to risk.