More to consider in abortion ban
It is safe to say the abortion debate did not end in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to abortions. A seemingly endless push and pull over abortion restrictions has followed.
The “Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act” placed tremendous restrictions on abortion. In order for the ban to be successful, certain social changes must take place.
The first step to reducing the demand for abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. One way to do this is through cheap, available birth control. This should include hormonal birth control as well as condoms. Hormonal birth control is more effective at preventing pregnancy. It also gives women full control over their protection, unlike condoms.
Birth control is useless without education, however. Sexual education should inform young people about their reproductive health and family planning so that they are more likely to make smart sexual decisions.
Education should be improved across the board as well, and college should be made more accessible. This helps lower the birthrate overall and it lengthens the amount of time before a woman has her first child. Free or discount parenting classes would also help new parents.
In addition to reducing unwanted pregnancies, the social services surrounding children and parenthood should be expanded. Limiting abortion will place adoption and foster services under greater strain. It will be urgent to strengthen these systems so that they do not become overloaded.
Carrying a baby to term can be a financial challenge for the mother. If she is forced to absorb that cost, then the price of postnatal care and delivery should be lowered. To help out parents who keep their children, childhood medical care and day care should be less expensive as well.
In those cases where abortion would be allowed after a fetal heartbeat is detected, there should be mechanism for allowing the woman to have her abortion quickly and discretely. Pregnancy from rape or incest, or in which the mother’s life is in danger, would be exempt. In these cases, the mother would already be under stress, and forcing her to jump through legal hoops to get her abortion would compound her troubles.
If all of this seems unnecessary, consider the outcome of banning most forms of abortion without implementing any social change. Some women may seek illegal abortions or try to force a miscarriage. This dangerous option can result in infection, permanent scarring or death.
New mothers who do not have social support will not have a safety net if they run out of money, run into problems with the father or do not have their family’s support. This puts the woman under incredible stress, which will also affect the child.
Therefore, if the government would nearly ban abortion, it should also be prepared to take a more hands-on approach to pregnancy and child rearing. Arkansas citizens should be prepared for this as well. It is foolish to restrict abortion without considering the social ramifications.