Review of Literature on Abortion in the Family
Abortion is a very controversial subject that has been continuously argued over for the past few years and probably for many more years to come. Women who are making the decision are effected emotionally, mentally, and physically since their bodies are going through many changes which it is not accustomed to. The main controversy is, who’s right is it to abort? Many will argue and say it is the woman’s right to chose what she does with her own body, but what about the father’s right? The man’s involvement in the abortion decision is not about the woman’s choice, it is about his own responsibility to her and the child (Arthur 1999). There are two sides to this abortion topic: the pro-life, which is those who are against abortion altogether, and the pro-choice, or those who believe it is the woman’s right to choose if she wants to have an abortion. These two groups offer different solutions to the problem. The pro-life solution is to have the child and basically live with him/her. They believe abortion is not an answer. The pro-choice solution is abortion because of reasons they feel are appropriate.
When pregnancy is unwanted women perceive the choice of abortion as the least of three evils: abortion, adoption, or keeping the child (Smith, 2000). Pregnancy changes a woman’s life, regardless of whether or not it ends in abortion. The woman making the abortion decision looks at a variety of relationships to help her make the decision. Often, she will discuss her options with a physician or counselor. If she does decide to get an abortion, there are many factors she will have to face. According to an article in Business 2.0, written by David Shribman (2000), women who have had abortions are at greater risk of suffering emotional and psychological problems which may interfere with their ability to concentrate, make decisions, and interact with others. As a result, it reduces the woman’s level of job skills and employment opportunities. Post-abortion women are more likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse, often as a result of the guilt and negative feelings held inside of them after the abortion. This may prevent them from entering other meaningful relationships. They are likely to become pregnant again and undergo additional abortions and are more likely to never marry, more likely divorce, and more likely go through a chain of unsuccessful relationships (Shribman 2000). This inability to form a nuclear family reduces household income and increases the probability that the woman and her children will require welfare assistance.
Abortion advocates claim that since the fetus develops inside the women’s body and since the pregnancy will have a profound affect on the woman’s life, the abortion should remain the woman’s decision. Bruce Robinson (1999) states that the woman’s life is saved from unraveling emotionally and are given the chance for a healthy, mature living because legal, safe abortion was an available choice. In the vast majority of cases, continuing the pregnancy does not pose a threat to the actual life of the mother, however, according to the opinion of an anonymous person in David Bender’s, Abortion: Opposing Views (1998), because it is so basic, the fight to life of the unborn child should take precedence over other rights of the mother, just as the right to life of a born child does.
Dr. Berkich, a pro-life activist, claims that medical science has proved that the human embryo is biologically separate from its mother, therefore it is a human being (Smith 2000). Other pro-life activists point out that from the moment of conception, after the sperm penetrates the egg, a new individual is formed, genetically different from its mother and father. It is explained that the baby’s immediate environment are not part of the woman’s body, but are formed by the child and have the child’s chromosomes. Therefore, given the necessities of life, a human embryo will grow into a human child and then a human adult.
When it comes to making the decision of abortion, as a man, whether or not he becomes a parent is not up to him (Bender 1998). A man’s reproductive rights and emotional needs have been ignored by society, however, research findings (Shribman 2000) have showed that the father is the most influential in the woman’s decision and therefore men are encouraged to speak out. Tamara Roleff (Bender 2000) points out that even if men did speak out, it was not going to do any good. Any introduction of a man’s opinion could be falsely characterized as an attempt to dominate women. She articulates that she now understands why some men are not supportive of the pro-choice movement and how men who have been forced to become parents might feel some hostility toward women and the issues that are important to them.
Carol Emmens, author of “The Abortion Controversy” (1998) feels that the father’s feelings towards abortions should be recognized and acknowledged. Abortion is far too important of an issue to be left between a woman and her doctor. The rewards of acknowledging man’s feelings, needs, and encouraging him to get more involved will be significant. Emmens explains that men who feel that they have the ability to plan their own families will be more committed to those families and less likely to abandon them.
Many men regret being silent after they realized how much of an impact their lack of support and involvement had on the woman. He may turn to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain of knowing he participated in the death of his unborn baby. He may be unable to hold a job due to the inability to handle decision making, and may become addicted to pornography and masturbation, allowing him to experience sexual gratification while maintaining control. He may also experiment with homosexuality because it allows them to have a successful sexual relationship with no commitment and no worry of pregnancy.
Abortion is an alternative that a woman can take for several reasons, such as if she has a health problem with her fetus or even herself; she is not ready to become a parent, she does not want to be a single parent, she has been raped, or for whatever reasons, her husband or her family encourages her to abort the pregnancy. Most women who have had abortions are under 25 years old and unmarried (Robinson 1999).
Although studies have shown that most women with an unwanted pregnancy will not seek out an illegal abortion or self-abort if a legal abortion is not available, more women die from legal abortion that ever did from illegal abortion (Arthur 1999). Legal abortion may help parents limit their families to the number of children they want and can afford, both financially and emotionally. Many unwanted babies are abused, neglected, or even killed by uncaring or immature parents (Smith 2000). There is a lack of babies up for adoption because abortion is legal. Perhaps if abortion was illegal, women could go ahead with the pregnancy and then give the baby up for adoption.
Abortion is a significant issue in society that has a lot of conflicts. There is still no conclusion because one can see this problem from many different perspectives. If a person supports a pro-life or pro-choice group, they cannot judge objectively if the other group has a different way of thinking. Society cannot judge pro-life activists as a group who have no respect for a woman’s right. On the other hand, one cannot say that pro-choice is a better group because they are more aware of human needs. Society will never understand the feelings of a woman who has had an abortion unless they are in her place. To solve this problem, society needs to spend some time to think carefully and to weigh both sides of the issue to make the best decision possible.