Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Legalise Abortion to Prevent It

Written by johnleemk on 10:44:50 pm Mar 27, 2007.
Categories: ,

The only country in the world where abortion is truly a hot-button issue is the United States. I cannot think of many other places where it has been the subject of such heated controversy — to the point that people murder staff of abortion clinics — and yet this all seems so ridiculous for such a relatively inconsequential political issue.

On the other hand, though, abortion is a major social issue. When mothers are murdering their children (or foetuses, for those inclined towards dehumanising the product of sexual intercourse), there seems to be cause for concern. Are we doing enough to ensure the future mothers of our society are equipped and responsible enough to handle the demands of motherhood?

To date, people have been treating abortion as a problem in itself, because they view it as a murder, rather than seeing it as a symptom of a greater problem — poorly-equipped mothers and a lack of education about contraception.

Because of this myopic view, people have focused on banning abortion, without any regard for its underlying causes. When you treat the symptom rather than the disease, it's not surprising that your efforts are ineffective.

After all, what happens in countries where abortion is illegal? Those who can afford it take a little holiday to a country that does legalise it. Those who can't go to quack doctors who are as likely to kill them as they are to kill the child. Only a handful of people are actually dissuaded from undergoing an abortion by the ban.

You might argue that the ban is a moral imperative — that to legalise murder would be wrong. But countries legalise all sorts of things that the typical person would see as ethically and morally wrong. In many places, lying and adultery are legal, but that does not keep us from seeing them as wrong. Why should it be any different for abortion?

In the first place, legalising abortion and then focusing on its root causes would reduce the number that take place. By addressing the root problems of poverty and inadequate education, policymakers will indirectly tackle the problem of abortion.

It's undeniable that the number of abortions will be more than zero in a society where abortion is legal. But if the same society were to ban abortion, would the number of deaths associated with abortions be zero? I think not.

In the first place, the quacks out there would see to it that many women die on the operating table. Meanwhile, because of the ban on abortion, it would be taboo to discuss the possibility of your plans to kill your baby — and as a direct result, you would not be able to have counseling that could possibly dissuade you from your planned course of action, or at least prevent you from making such further mistakes.

There are good motives behind the desire to ban abortion. But these motives ignore the reality that banning abortion only keeps us from fighting it. We do ourselves and the countless dead woman and babies that result no favours by being in denial.

If we truly love these women, if we truly love these children, we will do the right thing by them and legalise abortion. We will act to make abortion legal, safe, and rare, because we will ensure that measures are there to support the mothers who need the aid to keep them from aborting their child in the first place. It's the right and moral thing to do.


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

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