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“It takes a strong woman to be a mother and an equally strong woman to admit that she isn’t ready to become one. I’m not ready to be a mother and that’s ok… I think about all the things a baby deserves and I remind myself that I couldn’t give the baby those things. It’s a harsh reality but a baby deserves so much more than I can give at the moment. I hope to one day be a mother when the time is right, and I am in a place economically and emotionally to do so. To those considering or who have had an abortion, the choice is yours and yours alone to make. If you decide that you are not ready to be a mother that’s ok, you’re not alone.” by Anonymous on January 24th, 2019.
“I just wasn’t ready. I’m 19, lost my job, in debt already from tickets, my car note, rent, etc. I just wasn’t ready. I was under a lot of stress and me being pregnant made it even harder to get through life it seemed like. Neither did I want to get an abortion. No one really does, but you have to make the right decision for not only you, but the life that’s growing inside you.” by Anonymous on February 14th, 2019.
These are just two of the millions of stories of women across America who have gotten an abortion.
In America, primarily Republican lawmakers and citizens alike decry abortion as murder. Angry protesters harass women entering Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation. Several organized religions denounce abortion as a sin.
However, access to safe, legal abortions is necessary for female autonomy. The ability to choose when to have a child is a woman’s personal right, not the choice of a male politician, and this choice allows her to have full control over her body and her life. A woman should not be obligated to have a child, or an unsafe, illegal abortion. The ability to choose to have an abortion is always necessary. While extreme examples are more understandable, such as when a woman physically can’t birth a child, when her or the baby’s health is at risk, or when she was raped, a woman should always be able to choose when she wants to have a child. This is a very personal decision, that pertains to no one but herself. So the aim of this persuasive essay is to provide the arguments in support of women’s right to have an abortion.
When a woman has a child, it alters her entire life. Many women do not have a stable environment to raise a child, or the financial or emotional means to do so. Many women simply do not want to have a child at that point in their life, or raise one for the next eighteen years. All of these women deserve to choose, because it is their bodies, and their lives.
Many still wonder, why don’t these women just continue with the pregnancy and then give up the baby for adoption? If this question didn’t already invalidate women’s freedom to choose whether they want to go through a highly taxing nine-month process, many women cannot afford to be pregnant for nine months, or go on maternal leave that is often unpaid. Many women simply do not want to be pregnant at that point in their life, and they too deserve to be able to choose because, again, it is their bodies, and their lives. Also, there are currently already over 400,000 children in America waiting to be adopted. Even if a woman were to put her child up for adoption, she would most likely be sending the child into an unfortunate system without a stable home or parent. If these objectors are indeed ‘pro-life’, they would equally advocate for children in the foster care system to be adopted and to live a healthy, happy life; not just desperately arguing for a fetus’s right to be born and then turning a complete blind eye to whatever life they end up being born into. If they are ‘pro-life’, why do they suddenly not care about the child once it is born, including its neonatal care, day care, school lunches, food stamps, welfare, and more. Why do they only care about this life from conception until birth? If they are ‘pro-life’, why do they not care about the mother’s life, which is tremendously and permanently altered with an unwanted child or with a dangerous, back-alley abortion as a result of its criminalization? Indeed, if their logic is that the fetus is a human whose rights must be protected irrespective of the mother in which it is living, then why does child support not begin until birth? Why is the U.S. government able to deport a woman if she is carrying a U.S. citizen inside her body? If the fetus is the equivalent to a human, can the mother insure it in the sixth week of pregnancy and collect its life insurance if she miscarries? Why are there no conception certificates once the parents are aware of pregnancy, if life begins at conception? Hell, why are fetuses not granted social security numbers until they are born?
Primarily male politicians should not be able to decide what medical procedures women can do to their own bodies. Truthfully, men cannot have a stance on abortion. It would be like women having an opinion on whether men can or cannot be circumcised or be able to have a vasectomy. It has nothing to do with women or their bodies, and we would have no right to determine what they can do with theirs. But there is no legal equivalent for men, because there are no laws that infringe upon men’s bodily autonomy. There are no female lawmakers deciding what men can or cannot do with their bodies.
The sixth week of pregnancy is the equivalent to missing one’s period by two weeks. A woman may not even know she was pregnant at this point because of an irregular cycle or other factors.
In fact, an unborn baby goes through several stages of development, beginning as a fertilized egg, or zygote, for the first three weeks of pregnancy, then developing into a blastocyst in the fourth week, an embryo in the fifth, and then a fetus in the sixth week and beyond. The vast majority of American women have abortions within the first trimester (weeks 0-13) of pregnancy. 65% of women have an abortion before or during the 8th week of pregnancy. 26% of women have abortions between the 9th and 13th weeks, in which the embryo is now considered a fetus. A very small percentage of women, roughly only 8%, have abortions beyond the first trimester of pregnancy, which are typically only performed if the health of the mother or child is at risk. People tend to argue that embryos or fetuses are capable of feeling pain during an abortion. However, “science shows that the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester [27th week],” says Kate Connors, a spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, citing a wide-ranging scientific study in 2005.
Many argue that abortion is murder, and hold their abhorrence to abortion close to their hearts. But abortion simply isn’t, and could never be murder, because at the point of most abortions, it is just an embryo. A blastocyst at 4 weeks cannot be regarded as a human being, as it is just a complex of cellular elements. Neither can a fetus at 20 weeks, as “no substantive ontological change has happened within these 4 months…The complex of cellular elements has [just] become bigger and more complicated.” There is countless amounts of scientific evidence that indicate that at the point the vast majority of women get abortions, the embryo or fetus is simply a collection of cells without feeling or higher brain activity.
As psychology professor Gregg Henriques Ph.D. of James Madison University states, “There is a difference between a living human entity at the cellular level and a person. Consider, for example, if I scratch my arm, many thousands of living human cells will die. However, despite the fact that these cells were clearly ‘human’ in terms of their structure and makeup and were clearly alive (in terms of metabolism, growth, organic complexity, etc.), no one would suggest we need a funeral for each cell that perished.”
Women have been performing abortions for thousands of years “in every society that has been studied.” The prohibition of legal abortions in America from the 1880s until 1973 led to many women resorting to illegal and highly unsafe “back alley” abortions, but, as the National Abortion Federation states, “Criminalization of abortion did not reduce the numbers of women who sought abortions.” Women will always get abortions. They can either be safe and legal, or dangerous and illegal. If you consider yourself pro-life, apply that mentality to the woman who may end up unintentionally dying herself from an unsafe abortion, which has happened all throughout history, and will continue to happen if a woman’s right to an abortion is taken away.
To conclude this persuasive essay in support of abortions, instead of shaming women who have received abortions or trying to control women’s bodies and lives by criminalizing abortions, we should advocate for accessible, comprehensive sex and contraceptive education along with other methods of birth control, so fewer women would even need to get an abortion.
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