Abortion Key Issues

Abortifacients

Whether or not contraceptives (including Emergency Contraceptives) are abortifacient depends on the definition of when pregnacy begins. Pregnancy was always considered to begin at conception until the advent of IVF and birth control designed to prevent implantation.


Child Abuse Link

It was initially assumed that abortion would limit/prevent child abuse, as 'unwanted' children were more likely to be abused. Instead, reports of child abuse have increased. Researchers are investigating an alternative hypothesis: that readily available abortion is contributing to an increase in child abuse and neglect.


Complications

It is often supposed that because abortion is legal it is also safe. Statistical evidence indicates that one woman in four will experience complications in future pregnancies following an abortion. Some groups of women have a higher risk of medical complications than others.


Defining Pregnancy

Biologically, pregnancy begins at fertilisation (conception). Egg and sperm unite to create a new person, genetically distinct from mother or father, with a unique identity. Pregnancy was re-defined in the 1970s to begin at implantation, to accommodate the process of in vitro fertilization (i.e., a woman can't be pregnant if the embryo is not in her body).


Fathers Rights

Debate continues about the rights of a father in relation to a partner's desire to have an abortion.


Future Fertility

There is debate over whether or not abortion can cause subsequent infertility. Studies now show that foetal bone fragments can become embedded in the woman's uterus, causing infertility until it is discovered and removed. A second cause of infertility is when an infection occurs and leaves the fallopian tubes scarred.


Impact on Society

Birth rates that are below replacement level, have brought many countries to realise the negative effects this may have on the economy as well as society in general. Rates of domestic violence and child abuse have risen, and many teenagers come to regard them selves as 'abortion survivors,' thinking it could just as easily have been them, rather than an aborted sibling, who died.


Informed Consent

Researchers say that before women undergo induced abortions, doctors should -- as part of the informed consent process -- offer them information about the real risk of subsequent pre-term delivery and depression problems, as well as the possibility of breast cancer.


Population Control

There is considerable intermingling of individuals and networking between population control groups, abortion activist organisations (such as International Planned Parenthood Federation), environmentalists and the World Bank. They all share the one goal, to drastically reduce the world's population through birth control programmes, including abortion.


Sex Education

Whenever rising abortion rates among teens are reported, family planning organisations call for more funding for more sex education. Statistical models have shown that childhood contraceptive education increases the odds of starting intercourse at age 14 by 50 percent. The Netherlands is often cited as a successful example of how "sex-ed" reduces teen pregnancy and abortion rates, but Dutch sociologist Joost van Loon disagrees.


Suicide Link

"Having an abortion dramatically increases the likelihood of suicide" is the finding from research in the United States, Britain and Finland. The author of a Finnish study showed in previous research that a post-abortive woman abortion is 6 times more likely to die from suicide (intentional injury) than women who give birth, and 3 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.


Breast Cancer Link

Although 27 out of 33 studies show that abortion dramatically raises a women's risk of breast cancer, it is the few studies finding no link that get credence. Having a first child before the age of 18 years reduces breast cancer risk dramatically. Studies have found that even one abortion increases the risk of developing breast cancer.


Coercion

Coercion and pressure from parents and men play a sizable role in many women`s abortion decisions. Studies undertaken have reported that between 30 - 60% of women say they were pressured by their boyfriends to have an abortion.


Euthanasia Link

There is a trend, especially among bio-ethicists, is to label some groups of humans as non-persons. These groups include the 'un-born,' the disabled and the elderly. Infanticide of defective children is seen as the link between abortion and euthanasia. Many euthanasia activist leaders have also been active in the abortion and population control movements, adding "death control to birth control."


Feminist Agenda

UN conferences, held to further the rights of women, have become battlegrounds between radical feminists who want to restructure society and those who want to protect the values of the traditional family. The "Feminist Agenda" includes the liberalisation of abortion and working for the empowerment of women.


Foetal Pain

Unborn children can feel enormous pain during an abortion and show increased heart rate, blood flow, and hormone levels in response to pain. According to studies, it is possible for the foetus to feel pain from as early as 8-14 weeks.


Healing & Recovery

Emotional grief and mourning following an abortion may show up in various forms. There are programmes to help a woman heal following an abortion but many women do not know where else to turn when professionals are unable help them. As long as official recognition of abortion related trauma is largely denied by professionals, the needs of these women may not be met.


Protests

Despite celebrity support, and continual media bias in favour of abortion, surveys show that support for abortion is actually decreasing, especially among younger women. Thousands still turn up to march, and protest, for both supporters and opponents. The 2004 American elections indicate that voters in the USA are less concerned with abortion rights than the previous generation..


When Life Begins

All agree that every human being is unique -- different from the mother -- from the moment of conception. Scientists say that from a simple biological point of view, this fact should not be distorted to serve sociological, political or economic goals. Where there is disagreement, it is on philosophical rather than scientific grounds.


Why Women Abort

The reasons women give for aborting are, for the most part, social or economic. 88 percent of women said their trip to the abortion clinic was a capitulation, not a choice at all. They didn't feel empowered; they felt isolated, overwhelmed, and sad. They spoke of being threatened with loss of affection and support by the most important people in their lives - boyfriends, husbands, parents.


Women's Rights

Feminists are re-framing the abortion issue. Instead of claiming abortion is a woman's 'choice' they are now saying it is a 'right.' Claiming that it is the foetus who causes the pregnancy, they argue that a defenceless woman has the right to defend herself (with whatever force is necessary) against an aggressive alien invader who has made her pregnant without her consent.


Animal Rights

Humans have the ability to empathise with the pain and suffering of others, including sentient animals who cannot speak for themselves. Abortion opponents argue that, although animals must be killed by a method that is as pain-free as possible, this is not the case in abortion. Abortion advocates are concerned that recognition of animal rights will pave the way toward recognition of foetal rights.