Should Abortions Be Legal? Arguments For and Against


The debate about abortions has been ongoing not only because of the medical implications but also because of ethical considerations associated with it. In the middle of the 19th century, medically-induced abortions were popular among the population and resulted in a large number of women dying from the poison that was a part of the medication. After that, in 1973, the states banned abortions as a way to address the dangerous practice, which prompted the debate about abortions being one’s civil liberty. Abortions should be legal because, at early stages, fetuses do not experience pain or other sensations, their personhood does not begin until they are born, and women’s mental health suffers when they are unable to choose whether they want to give birth or not.

Pro Arguments

One of the most prevalent ideas in literature is that an individual’s personhood only begins when the future human becomes viable. The idea here is that conception does not make the fetus sustainable and leaves them dependent on the mother’s body even after birth (Marecek et al, p. 9). Therefore, abortion terminates not the baby itself, but a person’s pregnancy, where the fetus is not a self-determining being. Knowing that the US Census does not count fetuses and human age is usually calculated from birth and not conception, it may be safe to say that abortions should be legal because even the Fourteenth Amendment suggests that the unborn should not fall under the category of persons.

Another argument for the legalization of abortions is the fact that fetuses do not feel pain. According to research in the area of neuroscience, the cortex is an essential part of the brain that has to be present to enable pain perception (Marecek et al, p. 5). Knowing that a fetus’ growth only leads to the development of the cortex approximately around the 26th week of pregnancy, most abortions become reasonable as they are performed much earlier. Additionally, the development of pain experience actually requires women to give birth to their children and let them explore the environment. The so-called ‘recoil’ in fetuses is a mere reflex that is not associated with feelings or sensations in any way.

The last important idea regarding the legality of abortions is that women would suffer less from mental illnesses if they were allowed to get an abortion. As a study on the subject suggests, women who did not have abortions performed were feeling less happy than their counterparts whose abortion claims were satisfied. The sense of relief that women getting an abortion experienced over time means much more for female mental health than the ability to give birth to an unsolicited child. Scientific evidence regarding the psychological benefits of abortion cannot be ignored when discussing its role in human life (Marecek et al, p. 7). Abortion cannot be considered wrongful or illegal when it provides women with psychological benefits and does not require them to terminate a real human.

Contra Arguments

One of the most popular contra arguments in the literature on abortion is that the latter contributes to a decreased number of adoptable babies. Abortion is an issue of not only medical concern as it also affects society, and the legal and social contexts should be considered as well (Marecek et al, p. 9). Women do not have the right to perform an abortion, which ultimately creates an environment where legal requirements provide women with an opportunity to give unwanted babies to those individuals who are not able to conceive (Harris et al, p. 560). The growing percentage of single mothers shows that the inability to receive an abortion decreases the number of adoption-ready children who are sought by those individuals who cannot give birth.

Another reason why abortion should not become legal is that the concept of eugenic termination serves as an instrument of discrimination. Every person should have the right to establish a fulfilling life for their children, regardless of the potential illnesses that could affect the child in the future (Harris et al, p. 563). Despite the health condition of these children, they still become valued members of their communities while also having a chance to make a feasible contribution to their group.

The most critical contra argument that was found in literature is that under the conditions where abortion is legal, human life will be disposable. By assigning reduced value to human lives, society will deteriorate and turn human beings into an unnecessary asset that can be replaced with another one upon request (Thomas et al, p. 359). According to this argument, abortions should not become legal because it would generally reinforce the idea that anything inconvenient can be either destroyed or replaced without any consequences.


While all of these arguments claim that abortions have a negative impact on communities and the babies, they fail to recognize the right of a woman to make a choice if it does not harm another person. As Ravitz explains, during the nineteenth century, abortions became a matter of legal debate only because women used medications that were dangerous and, in many cases, caused the death of the mother. Moreover, counterarguments do not consider the consequences of not having an abortion.


To conclude, the overall value of legal abortions should not be underestimated because it would have a mostly positive effect on women and create a more tolerant community. The context of abortion would be reviewed prior to judging a woman for her decision to have an abortion. It is important to support the right of women to choose when to give birth, which is why the readers should engage in the debate about abortions and oppose the legislation that tries to ban abortions.


  1. Harris, Laura Florence, et al. “Conscientious Objection to Abortion Provision: Why Context Matters.” Global Public Health, vol. 13, no. 5, 2018, pp. 556-566.
  2. Marecek, Jeanne, et al. “Abortion in Legal, Social, and Healthcare Contexts.” Feminism and Psychology, vol. 27, no. 1, 2017, pp. 4-14.
  3. Ravitz, Jessica. “ “. CNN, Web.
  4. Thomas, Rachel G., et al. “Anti-Legal Attitude toward Abortion among Abortion Patients in the United States.” Contraception, vol. 96, no. 5, 2017, pp. 357-364.

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