it should be legalized as it is an individual’s
private choice and the government and the
rest of petty society ought to refrain from
sticking their noses in. The third, oft
neglected side of the coin is that there
should be certain regulations in order to
stop people being people and making frivolous
or reprehensible choices where the foetus
is concerned and abortion should be permitted
only in certain unique cases. This stand
taken by moderates seems to be the best
choice but it is not without its concerns.
At various points of time in different societies
around the world, abortion has been condoned
for certain unique cases. For instance,
if a mother’s health is endangered
or if her mental health has been impaired
making her unfit to run the lifelong marathon
that is motherhood, abortion would be the
logical decision. Also if the pregnancy
is the result of a crime like rape, incest,
or child abuse the argument has been successfully
made for such pregnancies to be terminated.
In cases, where the child’s future
is ascertained to be of an unacceptable
quality as a result of birth defects such
as physical deformities, brain damage leading
to stunted mental growth, or other genetic
defects, abortion has been recognized as
an acceptable solution.
Some of the more moderate opponents, have
allowed that abortion for the sake of a
mother’s well being may not be a major
moral transgression. However, abortion for
other personal, social or practical reasons
has been traditionally frowned upon. Feminists
have long argued that a woman’s body
is her own and that the decision to keep
or abort a baby is entirely her own prerogative
and any attempts on the part of the government
to control this decision is a gross violation
of her constitutional rights. Women who
opt for abortions have cited varied reasons
for their decisions ranging from bad timing
since having a child might sound the death
knell on their career aspirations, and financial
constraints to an unwillingness or inability
to raise the child as a single parent. Opponents
of abortion have been known to be virulent
in their condemnation of such choices and
they have accused those who make this decision
of selfishness, crass carelessness and having
a scant disregard for the life of an unborn
child. An argument along these lines usually
boils down to those who are pro –
choice and those who are pro – life.
The fact that opinions are divided as to
when a foetus may be considered as a real
person as opposed to a bunch of cells makes
the issue even more tricky. Some have stated
that the cells in question go on to become
real people whereas other have insisted
that cells are just cells while they are
just cells and ought to be treated as such.
Proponents of abortion also point to certain
social reasons such as grinding poverty
or extreme youth that could prevent a mother
from raising a child to be a useful member
or an asset to society. If such unwanted
pregnancies are not terminated, the child
raised under the circumstances could as
a direct result of inadequate means and
neglect grow up to be a burden to society
and swell the ranks of the teeming mass
of societal misfits who have been known
to rape, loot, and kill to get back at a
community that was largely unkind to them.
There are countries where abortion is government
policy to keep the population size in check
and to maintain the quality of its citizens.
Opponents of abortion have looked askance
at what they perceive as cold – blooded
practicality that would allow a pregnancy
to be terminated on spurious grounds like
disability, or the manipulation of population.
They have risen up in arms against this
kind of thinking calling it criminal behavior
and a serious breach of human rights. The
belief that it is okay to go through with
an abortion in the case of any kind of birth
defect is offensive to those who suffer
from disability and is a form of discrimination
against the handicapped runs the argument.
As for government policy that seeks to regulate
the population, it is opined that this is
the sort of belief that is likely to spawn
genocide on a large scale of the type made
infamous by Adolf Hitler. It has also been
pointed out that great evils like sex selective
abortions become commonplace it abortion
is not banned entirely.
In countries like India, female infanticide
has become a massive cause for concern.
Despite laws against sex – selective
abortion, unscrupulous doctors and heartless
parents have persisted in finding ways to
beat the system and the result is that the
practice of aborting foetuses that would
have grown to be baby girls has reached
epidemic proportions. Girl babies are unwanted
for a number of social as well as economical
reasons and the result is an increasingly
skewered sex ratio that poses fresh problems
for the country.
Abortion has become one of the most hotly
debated subjects in history and a universal
consensus has become highly improbable if
not impossible. Savita’s tragic demise
has reopened a can of worms but a solution
that is practical, compassionate, feasible
and morally sound continues to remain elusive.
In the meantime, the lives of women and
unborn children continue to be at stake.
Sometimes it sucks to be human.