(I originally posted this as a response to someone on Facebook, but I decided due to its length it would work better here.)
My problem with simply making abortions illegal is that without finding ways to eliminate the perceived need for them — through programs such as nation-wide comprehensive sex education and access to birth control (https://mic.com/articles/98886/the-states-with-the-highest-teenage-birth-rates-have-one-thing-in-common#.dZnzMbb69), free or low-cost access to comprehensive medical care for pregnant women and new mothers, extensive paid maternity AND paternity leave (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/these-10-countries-have-the-best-parental-leave-policies-in-the-world), and massively increased social and financial support for all new mothers, especially those from low-income families or those whose children have severe disabilities (http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/04/18/another-nation-giving-parents-free-box-baby-supplies) — making abortion illegal will not make it go away. It will merely drive it underground, and women will suffer and die needlessly as a result:
- Making abortion illegal without any consideration for outside circumstances will force women (and barely-pubescent girls) to give birth to their rapists’ babies, often at considerable risk to their own health (http://www.mediaite.com/online/11-year-old-rape-victim-forced-to-give-birth-to-rapists-baby-lives-through-delivery/).
- It will lead to women suffering the physical and mental anguish of being forced to carry long-dead fetuses (or fetuses who absolutely will suffer and die shortly after birth) to term (http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/03/31/texas-woman-forced-to-deliver-stillborn-baby-due-to-abortion-ban/).
- It will lead to women dying because their doctors aren’t allowed to do an abortion to save their lives (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Savita_Halappanavar).
- It may even lead to women being prosecuted and jailed for the “crime” of suffering a completely natural miscarriage (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/el-salvador-where-women-are-jailed-for-40-years-for-the-crime-of-having-a-miscarriage-a7053501.html ; see also this short story: http://futurismic.com/2010/07/01/new-fiction-your-life-sentence-by-c-c-finlay/).
The world is not black and white. All living creatures have sex; they are driven by biological forces to do so. And while many species do so only because of the drive to pass on their genes, many others (not only humans) also do so for pleasure. When societies ignore that fact by simply saying “sex is bad and don’t do it; if you do, the baby is your punishment,” without preparing for what will happen when (not if) that directive is ignored — whether intentionally or through coercion (incest or rape) — they criminalize women and girls simply for the fact that they contain a reproductive system that functions like reproductive systems are supposed to.
Until our society fills in all of the gaps to prevent unwanted pregnancies, rape, incest, poverty due to the cost of raising a child, or bankruptcies due to paying the long-term medical expenses of a disabled child who will never have any sort of quality of life, abortions will continue to happen. And as long as people hide behind morality to avoid REALITY, billions of dollars will be spent on protecting potential humans while ignoring the millions of actual, here-on-earth humans who are suffering every day.