To be perfectly clear, when it comes to abortion issue, I have always been pro-choice. I really, really believe that a woman's body is her own business and should be her choice.
The abortion issue is really a complicated one, but it seems to me a lot of times science and scientific research is ignored. For example, why should we only look when "life" begins? It has been suggested that instead we should try to define when does somebody become a person. Because, if you think about it, bacteria are alive.
Recent (some might say rampant or fanatical) anti-abortion happenings in my native Croatia has give me some reasons to look into abortion as such. What I recently discovered came as news to me.
An anti-abortion fanatic will tell you that embryo is granted a soul in the moment of conception by god and that abortion is the same as murder because of this. Well, if you say and accept that this embryo is a person and that killing it is murder, what are you going to do with these "murders" that just happen by a woman's body spontaneously rejecting it? Sex and even fertilization does not every time result in a baby.
Embryos are rejected (aborted) and not carried to term all the time. Basically, as much as 75% of egg fertilizations do not result in a baby.
As many as 75% of all conceptions miscarry
This statistic is an estimate for the percentage of fertilized eggs that do not go on to result in a full-term pregnancy, factoring in miscarriages but also failed implantations that usually pass without the mother ever missing a period. - verywell.com
A large portion of them don't implant successfully in womb. OK, we might not really consider these a "spontaneous abortion", but the bottom line is that they do not result in a baby and are in a way "rejected".
Around 31% of successful implantations end in a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. So of all egg fertilizations that do implant successfully, 31% ends in spontaneuos abortion. "About half of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities, making these problems the single most common miscarriage cause." - verywell.com
The following table is copied from RationalWiki, it assumes that 200 eggs are in an environment with sperm nearby.
||168 are successfully fertilised
||84% left alive
|Successfully implanted in womb (1-2 weeks from fertilization)
||68% left alive
|Survive 4 weeks from fertilization
||42% left alive
|Survive to become a fetus (8-11 weeks from fertilization)
||35% left alive
|Survive to term and are born alive (38-42 weeks from fertilization)
Data from rationalwiki
Religious anti-abortion fanatics claim that a fertilized egg is a "human", "baby" or whatever endearing term they choose to use. So, it seems to me a valid question is "Why does god murder all those babies?"
Anyway, in my opinion, embryo has a potential to become a person, a human being. Whatever woman drinks, eats, etc has a influence on embryo. Embryo is inside a woman and DEPENDS on a woman. By this very fact in my opinion it cannot be considered a person. Person is somebody who is physically separate. It seems to me that a person is born. So a person is not killed by the act of abortion. Because embryo depends on a woman, it's a woman's right to decide whether to support it, to subject her body to it for 9 months. Of course, we are not machines and this decision is never made lightly, but sometimes it's easier to be blunt to make a point across.
We should also take a look at other factors science can tell us, for example that fetus "is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester", (Wikipedia) while it is certain that women can feel pain right now. So, the subject of "suffering" is better brought into the light by science. But I digress. This post is supposed to be about spontaneous abortion in humans. Other things that motivate me to be "pro-choice" will be dealt with in some future blog post.
The statistics themselves are rather dry, but are easily verifiable. Sources for numbers used in this blog post are: