Essay on Abortion as a Social Problem

Published: 2021/12/07
Number of words: 2010


With regards to sociology, social problem can be deemed to be an issue or condition that has negative effects and impacts that are recognizable amongst large population within the society. According to Loseke (2017), “a social problem exists when a group of people, believing that its interests are not being met, or that it is not receiving a sufficient share of resources, works to overcome what it perceives as a disadvantage”. For the purpose of this discussion, the selected social problem that was selected was the issue of abortion. Indeed, abortion has been a social issue that has raised quite a huge amount of controversy as well as debates in various countries and societies around the world.

The bone of contention with regards to abortion and all the controversies lies on the issue of social norms and values. Most of the individuals within any given society attack abortion on the notion of the normative value structures which are mostly based on religious principles as well as ideologies. Abortion in the sociological contexts happens to lie between the perspectives of the society as well as values within the society (Dildon, 2007). Mostly, them that practice abortion too tend to fight with the guilt as well as how the society might react to them after the abortion. Despite abortion being a social problem, it appears to be stemming from a personal problem too. Arguments and discussions within societies as well as legislative structure in various governments have always tried to determine whether to legalize abortion or whether not to do so. Among the many reasons why I picked this particular issue was to learn how abortion has affected and gripped our modern society as well as gain knowledge of how to make the world a better place through assessing the reasons for abortion and what can be done about it. According Ahrens et al., (2017), around 893,000 abortions took place in the US in 2016, thus indicating a drop from 914,000 in 2015. In other parts of the world such as Africa, statics cannot be so accurate since abortions go unreported. By the fact that abortion is a taboo, most women practice unsafe abortion for the fear of being noticed by the society. This results into death as well as other complications. A certain African country recorded that 2500 women die due to unsafe abortion.

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Causes of the problem

Abortion being the termination of pregnancy before the full development of a fetus, there has always been two prevalent views regarding this issue. First of all, there is the pro-choice view which generally argues that the mothers ought to have the ability to choose whether to have the baby or not. On the other hand, there is the pro-life perspective which views that a fetus has the right to live from the moment of inception. This are the two major variations that the society tend to view the issue of abortion. On a historical account before abortion was legalized in America, in 1970, a single woman by the name Jane Roe filed a petition that she law abridged her right to personal privacy (Strickland, 2014). She wished for the termination of her pregnancy but the court could not allow it citing that the law only allowed abortion when one’s life is in danger. However, with several court hearings, the court agreed that Jane Roe was right, every woman has the right to privacy and can also have an abortion on if conducted by a qualified physician. Nevertheless, ever since Jane Roe’s court case, heated battle lines have been in existence between the pro-choice advocates who vigilantly support the right to abortion and the pro-choice supports who would do all that it takes to stop abortion. Both parties’ beliefs, pro-choice and pro-abortion, differ ethically, lawfully and morally.

With reference to the pro-choice supporters, they strongly argue that the woman should fully have control of the pregnancy and decide whether to have the baby or not since it is her body, health as well as her future. Another perspective that the pro-choice supporters have is that those who are desperate and intend to abort still do so despite the legal or moral perspectives. If they happen to be limited by the legal structures or the societal values, they end up practicing illegal, unsafe abortion without the appropriate medical assistance or supervision which results into death, both for the mother to be and the fetus hence it is an entire loss. On another account, most people believe that the pro-choice supporters are pro-abortion supporters. This is not entirely true since there exists some pro-choice supporters who view forced abortion to be unethical and illegal just as outlawing abortion (Strickland, 2014). Pro-life advocates cannot stand a chance to view abortion as anything less than murder. They claim that life starts immediately after conception and therefore, terminating a pregnancy means terminating a life. By claiming that a woman ought to have full control of their bodies which include pregnancy is quite absurd to the pro-life advocates. The fetus’ life is not a part of the woman’s body thus claiming that their argument is illogical and does not have any foundation (Strickland, 2014).

Most of the pro-choice supporters, on ethical basis, deem abortion to be a last resort and there exists several scenarios whereby, abortion can be understandable as well as necessary to have but the pro-life tend to differ on some cases. The only case that seems acceptable to pro-life advocates is only when the mother’s life is at stake. Some of the situations include a rape victim who conceived as a result of the dreadful act. Carrying the pregnancy can be viewed to be traumatizing as well as progressive remembrance of what happened to her (Dillon, 2007). For such a matter, the pro-choice view it as an allowable option. On the other hand, pro-life’s view would be to have the baby since the baby’s life cannot be determined by the actions but rather how he/she will be raised. Pro-life advocates advise rape victims to undergo therapy sessions.

The other scenario is when both the mother and the fetus or either the mother or the fetus life is at stake. Due to health issues, there can be situations whereby the mother’s life can be threatened by her pregnancy. Given such a scenario, the only option is that one life has to be sacrificed for the sake of the other. This is a situation that has raised a lot of controversies over the years since debates have been conducted in trying to decide whose life is of paramount importance. With her health at risk, the pro-choice advocates believe that the mother ought to be given the choice to determine whether to have an abortion or not.

The other issue that mostly leads to abortion is of when a woman feels that she does not have the ability to raise a child. With the current rise on economic standards, most women find it to be tough to raise a child as a single mother. They opt to have an abortion hence shutting down the potential responsibilities of raising a child. However, such a scenario has been faced with a lot of critics. Most of the pro-choice supporters regard it to be okay stating that it is a personal preference that has its basis on the present and future perception. On the other hand pro-choice supporters claim that present or future perceptions can never be the reason for terminating a life. They claim that such an argument would only be equated to killing each other on the basis of present and future perceptions of economic crisis (Strickland, 2014).

The teenage as well as single parents are the most affected with such a situation. Teenage pregnancy is a common yet serious issue in America. Research indicates that teenage pregnancies are a leading factor towards abortion. With statistics from National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, it stated that in every ten teen pregnancies, eight happen to be unintended whereby 81% of the victims happened not to be married. Besides that, a third of the unintended pregnancies do end up aborted. Some of the teens hardly do have the ability to raise a child. Others cannot even feed themselves, leave alone feeding an extra mouth (Dillon, 2007). Besides that, some others are just terrified of the outcomes and what life would be to them. With all these issue, they end up seeking consolation in abortion. The pro-choice supporters do support it based on the fact that the say that it is the mother’s choice whether to carry on with the pregnancy or not. They argue that teen pregnancies have a negative impact to the teens and the children too who are born out of it. The teens happen to be limited in exploring some of their abilities such as advancing their education in order to take care of the child and so on. Sometimes these teen cannot properly support the child and at the end raise them in quite unfavorable conditions. However, the pro-life tend to view abortion on the basis of teenage pregnancy as quite absurd stating that one ought to take preventive measures as well as one should be able to take responsibilities of his/her actions. Both the mother and the father of the child should take initiative to support the child.

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Measures to solve the problem

The very first and amiable solution to abortion is getting rid of unwanted pregnancies. The pro-life may think that the best way to properly deal with abortion is to illegalize it but that would not do any good as some may seek refuge in illegal abortions hence end up in life loss (Spector, 2017). The best way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is to educate masses about abstinence as well as the use of contraceptives. This masses include teenagers as well as adults. Nearly half of the wanted pregnancies end up in abortion. Helping the masses be aware of how to be cautious of unwanted pregnancies will help a lot. The other bit is that the government can intensively support the insurance coverage of the public funding with regards to family planning. In addition to that, a greater access to emergency contraception can be ensured since it prevents conception and does not lead to abortion. Programs that curb sexual abuse such as rape ought to be put in place. This offloads women the burden of whether to have an abortion or not of a pregnancy that was a result of rape. Moreover, the government has also taken some measure in curbing this issue. Due to the fear of raising a child based on the present and future perceptions, the government has setup ways in which birthmothers can meet adoptive parents (Horwitz, 2017).


Abortion is indeed an issue affecting the society. Despite it being a debate that rises from the ethical and moral perspective, with it comes some cons. Death of birthmothers as they try to seek out an abortion affects the immediate family as well as the entire society as well. With existence of the pro-choice and the pro-life advocates, it is evident that abortion has its shortcomings and in addition, it is an issue that requires to be addressed as well as solutions be implemented. Moreover, having an abortion is not the solution as the expected baby may become someone great in future.


Ahrens, K. A., Thoma, M. E., Copen, C. E., Frederiksen, B. N., Decker, E. J., & Moskosky, S. (2018). Unintended pregnancy and interpregnancy interval by maternal age, National Survey of Family Growth. Contraception.

Dillon, M. (2007). Abortion as a social problem. The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology.

Horwitz, R. (2017). The Jane Collective (1969–1973). Embryo Project Encyclopedia.

Loseke, D. (2017). Thinking about social problems: An introduction to constructionist perspectives. Routledge.

Spector, M., & Kitsuse, J. I. (2017). Constructing social problems. Routledge.

Strickland, R. A. (2014). Abortion: Pro-Choice versus Pro-Life. In Moral Controversies in American Politics (pp. 45-86). Routledge.

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