XXI Seaweed Symposium

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Unwanted Pregnancy

Introduction

An unwanted pregnancy arises when conception takes place as a result of sexual activity when it was either not intended or planned for. Unwanted pregnancy could arise when vaginal sexual activity takes place between teenagers or unmarried couples especially when that pregnancy was not intended or planned for. It could also arise from married couples when the timing of the pregnancy is at variance with the plans of the couple. If pregnancy that otherwise is desired by the couple or carrier of the pregnancy becomes a threat to the life of the expectant mother, it becomes a case of unwanted pregnancy. Pregnancies by commercial sex workers in many cases are unwanted by the carriers because it interferes with their commercial activities. Pregnancies arising from rape, incest or other forms of sexual assault or molestation in most cases are unwanted.

Causes of Unwanted Pregnancy

Unwanted pregnancies usually are as a result of engaging in unprotected sex or failure of contraceptive methods. In many societies around the world, the use of contraceptive methods is frowned upon on the basis of culture or religion thus giving rise to many cases of unwanted pregnancies. Statistically, in 1999 almost 40% of pregnancies worldwide which translates to about 80 million pregnancies fell into this category. A baby that is medically proven to be deformed in the womb might also be deemed unwanted.

Issues that surrounds Unwanted Pregnancy

Several issues bothering on social, moral, ethical, medical, religious, political and economic issues surround unwanted pregnancies. These issues arise from the conflict between the desire to get rid of the pregnancy and the moral, religious and ethical consideration. Many people who find themselves with unwanted pregnancy as a result of forced or unwanted sexual activity such as rape or incest find themselves in a dilemma caused by their religious convictions and their desire to be rid of the pregnancy.

The Abortion Controversy

Abortion is the medical process of getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Abortion carries with it the risks for the life of the expectant mother, which increases as the pregnancy advances. Medically, it is not advisable to attempt aborting a pregnancy that is up to 24 weeks old because the mother’s life could be lost in the process.

However, the major controversy surrounding abortion is the argument between pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists. Those who argue against abortion maintain their stance based on the concept of the sanctity of life and they liken abortion to murder. Mostly, these people are the religionists and moralists. Pro-abortionists who are mostly human rights crusaders on the other hand, maintain that women should have the right to decide on what happens to their body as a direct consequence of their fundamental human rights. They also maintain that if for instance an unborn baby has been medically determined to be deformed or incapable of meaningful existence, then it would be morally wrong to go ahead and have that baby.

 
 

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