Why Abortion Should Be Legal Essay: Examining the Crucial Factors

In recent years, the debate surrounding the legality of abortion has grown increasingly polarized. As someone who firmly believes in the importance of reproductive rights and the autonomy of individuals to make decisions about their bodies, I find it essential to discuss why abortion should be legal. From a human rights perspective, access to safe and legal abortion services is crucial for upholding an individual’s right to life, health, and personal freedom.

Examining the various arguments and perspectives on abortion, one can draw meaningful conclusions on the necessity to legalize and protect this procedure. In the United States, the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion for nearly 50 years. However, recent legislative changes have shifted the battle to the states, resulting in a precarious landscape where the accessibility of abortion services is determined by geographical location. With the right to access safe abortion services being fundamental to human rights standards, it is essential to advocate for codifying these rights in law nationwide.

Legal and Safe Abortions

Unsafe Abortions and Maternal Deaths

My research found that unsafe abortions are a significant problem worldwide. They can lead to severe health complications, infections, and maternal deaths. When abortion is illegal, it often drives pregnant individuals to seek unsafe procedures under dangerous conditions. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that around 22,000 women die each year due to complications from unsafe abortions. By legalizing and regulating abortion, it becomes possible to ensure that all procedures are performed under hygienic conditions and by trained professionals, reducing the risk of complications and death.

Reproductive Health and Healthcare Access

Another essential aspect of legalizing abortion is its impact on reproductive health and healthcare access. Many individuals may not have the resources or ability to care for a child or manage complicated health conditions that arise during pregnancy. When abortion is legal, it allows people to decide what is right for their bodies, health, and life circumstances. Therefore, access to abortion care is crucial for individuals’ physical and mental health and social and economic well-being.

Legalizing abortion also improves healthcare access for pregnant individuals by providing them with a safe and regulated option for terminating their pregnancy if they choose to do so. Healthcare professionals can offer information, counseling, and support to ensure people make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Keeping the procedure legal and affordable helps eliminate barriers to accessing reproductive health services.

In conclusion, legalizing abortion promotes the well-being and health of pregnant individuals by reducing the risks associated with unsafe procedures and improving access to reproductive healthcare. Furthermore, by ensuring that people have the option to make informed decisions about their pregnancy, we can contribute to a society that values and respects individual autonomy and well-being.

Women’s Rights and Bodily Autonomy

As a society, it’s crucial to recognize and advocate for women’s rights, including their right to bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy means that women have the power to make choices about their bodies without facing coercion or violence. Unfortunately, many women are still denied this basic right, leading to injustices in healthcare, personal safety, and overall well-being.

Rape and Exceptions

One area where bodily autonomy is significant is in cases of rape. When a woman becomes pregnant due to sexual assault, she faces a difficult decision regarding the outcome of her pregnancy. In these situations, she must have the right to decide whether or not to continue with the pregnancy based on her needs and preferences.

Denying women the legal right to access safe, affordable abortion services in cases of rape violates their bodily autonomy and can exacerbate the trauma they have already experienced. Moreover, forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy resulting from sexual assault can impose substantial physical, emotional, and financial burdens on her.


In addition to cases of rape, there are other exceptions where restricting abortion access would be particularly harmful. For instance, when a pregnancy risks a woman’s health or life, giving her the option to terminate the pregnancy is vital. Additionally, situations, where the fetus has severe abnormalities incompatible with life should also be considered, as the emotional and financial costs of carrying such a pregnancy to term can be extremely high.

In all these circumstances, it’s essential to prioritize and respect a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. A woman’s ability to decide whether to continue a pregnancy is a fundamental aspect of her basic rights and should be legally protected in all cases.

By acknowledging and supporting women’s rights to bodily autonomy, we help create a more equitable society where individuals are empowered to make the best decisions for their lives.

Moral and Ethical Perspectives

Religious Beliefs and Views

As someone writing from a neutral standpoint, I understand that religious beliefs play a significant role in shaping people’s opinions on abortion. For example, many Catholics believe that life begins at conception, leading them to view abortion as morally wrong. On the other hand, religiously unaffiliated people may have more diverse opinions and might be more likely to consider abortion as a morally acceptable choice in certain situations.

White evangelicals are another group that tends to hold strong anti-abortion beliefs due to their religious convictions. Like Catholics, they may argue that life begins at conception, and ending that life through abortion is morally wrong. However, it’s essential to recognize that not all individuals within these religious groups share the same views, and there is a range of opinions on the moral acceptability of abortion.

Moral Acceptability

From my perspective, understanding the different moral stances surrounding abortion is essential to an informed discussion. For example, some people view abortion as morally acceptable in specific circumstances, such as when the mother’s life is in danger, in cases of rape or incest, or in situations where the fetus has severe abnormalities that would lead to suffering.

Others take a more nuanced approach, believing that the moral acceptability of abortion depends on factors such as the stage of pregnancy and the potential consequences for the pregnant individual and their family. This variety of opinions highlights the complexity of the issue and the challenges in reaching a consensus on what constitutes morally acceptable decision-making.


There are several controversies surrounding the moral and ethical aspects of abortion. For example:

  • The debate on when life begins: Some argue that life begins at conception, while others maintain that it starts later, such as when the fetus can experience pain or is viable outside the womb.
  • The rights of the fetus versus the pregnant individual: Some believe the fetus has a right to life. In contrast, others emphasize the pregnant person’s right to bodily autonomy and to make decisions about their own body.
  • The role of personal responsibility: Some argue that individuals have a moral obligation to avoid unintended pregnancies. In contrast, others believe access to abortion services is necessary for those who can or cannot prevent these pregnancies.

In this section, I have discussed the different moral and ethical perspectives on abortion, including how religious beliefs, moral acceptability, and controversies play a part in shaping opinions on this complex issue. The diverse range of views underscores the importance of understanding and respectful dialogue when discussing abortion.

Political and Ideological Views

As I observe the political landscape, it is evident that the debate around abortion legality often falls along party lines. Democrats generally support abortion rights and emphasize the importance of women’s equality in this matter. A majority of Republicans, on the other hand, also favor the legality of abortion under certain circumstances, such as in cases of rape or when the pregnancy is life-threatening.

In recent times, there has been a noticeable gender gap when it comes to views on abortion. Younger adults, particularly those under 30, tend to be more supportive of abortion being legal. Around 74% of adults under 30 believe abortion should be generally legal, including 30% who say it should be permitted without exception.

When exploring the reasons behind these differing political and ideological views, I can see that various factors come into play:

  • Democrats: They often argue that access to safe and legal abortion is a matter of women’s rights regarding equality and bodily autonomy. Democrats also tend to be more progressive and emphasize the importance of reproductive healthcare.
  • Republicans: This party usually takes a more conservative stance on social issues, including abortion. However, they often support exceptions, such as in cases of rape or when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life. Some Republicans also advocate for more restrictive legislation allowing these exceptions.

It is essential to consider the varying ideologies within each party as well. For instance, some progressives have moved towards using more inclusive language when discussing abortion rights, avoiding the term “women” to acknowledge better the experiences of transgender and nonbinary individuals seeking reproductive healthcare.

Overall, the political and ideological landscape surrounding abortion legality is complex and multifaceted. Understanding these perspectives can contribute to more informed and empathetic discussions about this critical issue.

Abortion Methods

When discussing abortion, it’s essential to know the different methods utilized. This section will cover two primary techniques: surgical abortion and misoprostol.

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is when a healthcare professional removes the fetus and placenta from the uterus using special instruments. There are two primary types of surgical abortion:

  • Aspiration abortion: This method is typically carried out within the first trimester of pregnancy. A healthcare provider uses a manual or electric vacuum to remove the pregnancy tissue from the uterus during the procedure.
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C): This method involves dilating the cervix and using instruments to remove the pregnancy tissue. It is usually performed in the first trimester.


Misoprostol is a medication used with another drug, mifepristone, to induce a medical abortion. This method can be utilized within the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, crucial for maintaining a pregnancy. Misoprostol then causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy tissue.

To take misoprostol for a medical abortion, the patient usually takes mifepristone orally, followed by misoprostol 24 to 48 hours later. Misoprostol can be taken either orally or vaginally, depending on the specific guidelines given by the healthcare provider. Combining these two medications is highly effective in inducing an abortion, with a success rate of around 95%.

It’s important to note that abortion methods vary based on the stage of pregnancy and the specific needs and circumstances of the patient. Therefore, when considering an abortion, it’s essential to consult a professional healthcare provider who can offer information and guidance on the most appropriate method for each case.

Fetus Development and Gestation

When discussing the topic of abortion, it is essential to understand the stages of fetus development and gestation. In this section, I will provide a brief overview of these stages to provide context for the debate about the legality of abortion.

The development of a fetus can be divided into three main stages: the first trimester (0-12 weeks), the second trimester (13-28 weeks), and the third trimester (29-40 weeks).

The fertilized egg rapidly divides and implants into the uterus in the first trimester. By the end of the first trimester, the fetus begins to display human characteristics, such as a heartbeat and the formation of limbs. However, the fetus is still not capable of surviving outside the womb.

During the second trimester, the fetus continues to grow and develop. Major organs, such as the brain and lungs, begin to function. By the end of this stage, the fetus can move and respond to touch. During the second trimester, the fetus may reach the point of viability, which is the point at which it can potentially survive outside the womb with medical assistance. Viability typically occurs around 24 weeks gestation, with 22% of adults believing abortion should be legal at this stage, while 43% believe it should be illegal (source).

In the third trimester, the fetus matures, and organs such as the lungs and brain further develop in preparation for life outside the womb. At this stage, the fetus has a much higher chance of survival if born prematurely.

It is essential to consider the stages of fetus development when discussing the legality of abortion. Some argue that since the fetus is not viable outside the womb during the first and early second trimester, abortion should be legal up to viability. Others maintain that the potential for human life should be protected as soon as it develops.

Finally, I want to emphasize that access to safe and legal abortion services remains a critical issue worldwide. An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion annually, yet many individuals face barriers to accessing safe abortion services (source).

Global Perspectives

Governments and Legality

My research found that governments worldwide have different approaches to regulating abortion. Some countries, like the United States, have legalized abortion with certain restrictions. However, about 53% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in cases where the baby may be born with severe disabilities or health problems.

On the other hand, some governments, like Kenya’s, have roots in colonial-era legislation that criminalizes abortion. However, when Kenya adopted a new constitution in 2010, it expanded the grounds for legal abortion.

  • Table 1: Examples of varying abortion legality
Country Legal Status of Abortion
United States Legal with restrictions
Kenya Legal under limited circumstances

It’s important to understand that abortion is also considered essential healthcare and a human right by UN experts. Denying access to safe abortion services can put an individual’s physical and mental health at risk and remove their autonomy and agency.

Examining abortion laws and policies worldwide, it becomes clear that restrictive laws are often flouted within and across borders. For example, clandestine, unsafe abortions persist in countries with strict abortion laws, which can lead to life-threatening consequences for women.

Abortion is a complex issue with many perspectives. Therefore, I aim to glance at global views on abortion legality and the potential consequences of restrictive policies. Understanding these different perspectives can help us to have more informed discussions on this critical topic.

Impact on Vulnerable Communities

As I’ve researched and analyzed the effects of abortion laws, it’s become clear that legalizing abortion significantly impacts vulnerable communities. Marginalized groups such as low-income women and adolescents are particularly affected by the restrictions on abortion rights.

From my understanding of the current situation, I’ve seen that poor and low-income individuals account for three out of every four abortions in the United States. The economic pressures that single mothers face can often place them in impossible situations, ultimately leading them to choose abortion as their most viable option. By keeping abortion legal, these vulnerable populations maintain a critical lifeline to manage their already challenging circumstances.

I’ve also discovered that access to safe and legal abortion services is vital for adolescents. It has been established that pregnant teenagers face numerous barriers in their lives, such as an increased likelihood of dropping out of school or struggling to find stable employment. By ensuring abortion legality, these young individuals can make the best decision for their situation without risking their health or future.

Through the available resources, I discovered that restricting abortion rights often results in a surge of unsafe procedures. Women from marginalized backgrounds may resort to dangerous and illegal methods to terminate their pregnancies, exacerbating already existing health disparities and further endangering those in vulnerable communities. It’s evident to me that legalizing abortion assists in minimizing risks and providing a safer environment for all women, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

Additionally, keeping abortion legal and accessible fosters greater autonomy for women, allowing them to make informed decisions regarding their reproductive health. This empowerment positively impacts the individuals directly involved and the community by creating a more inclusive and understanding environment.