The Structural-Functional perspective is that everything in society, good and bad, serves an essential purpose. So regardless of one’s personal opinion, this theory would say that abortion has become a necessary aspect of society. Structural Functional approach might say that abortions help keep the population down, provide employment for doctors, counselors and nurses, and prevent unwanted children from entering the world. Also, if you’re including the debate about legal abortion, legalizing abortion provides the function of preventing dangerous back alley abortions. The rate of abortions goes up, but the number of women’s fatalities goes down.

Social Conflict Theory (Marx) always comes back to economics. So think about how abortion affects the economy. Fewer children means less cost to individual families but fewer adults to support elderly parents. You may say that abortion is a class issue because poor and working class women may not be able to afford abortions but middle and upper class women can. This would mean fewer unwanted babies in middle and upper class families, but a greater economic strain on poor families because they couldn’t afford abortions. It’s also an economic issue for teenage pregnancies. If a woman gets an abortion at 17 or 18 then goes to college, she can get a job, make money and have kids later when she has more money to support them. If she can’t afford the abortion, she’s more likely to be poor during her lifetime because of no college education and possibly no high school education. This idea would also apply to women who get abortions because a baby would hinder career advancement.


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