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For the purpose of this essay, I am going to discuss Abortion and how it is a big controversy in society today. I will discuss my position on the matter, and why I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I could never have an abortion myself, but I can understand why some women would choose to end a pregnancy and respect their views. Abortion is a procedure that is done when a woman decides to end a pregnancy. It results in removing a fetus or baby from her body. Abortion has been quite the debate and has caused a great deal of controversy among many, but there are those who still support it “pro-choice”
Those who are pro-choice believe that women should have the right to choose what she does with her body, but pro-life supporters disagree. Then you have Pro-life supporters who believe that ending a pregnancy is a crime and should be considered murder. They argue that the mother is taking away innocent life, but before abortion was scrutinized abortion was widely accepted by many. If you look back in history, you will find that many women sought an abortion and it was legal up until it did become illegal around about the 1880s. Everyone has their own opinions and views on this issue, but I believe in the end it all comes down to the mother’s choice and her right to her body. The fourteenth amendment of the Constitution gives us that right. “Constitutional protection of the woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy derives from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It declares that no State shall ‘deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’ The controlling word in the case before us is ‘liberty.’
Before all this controversy and court battles, abortion had once been widely accepted by many in the United States. Abortion had been legal and practiced in the United States dating back to the time of when the first settlers arrived here. The constitution had been created and abortions were on the rise and were practiced in all societies. In the 1880s courts had banned abortion but allowed it in certain circumstances. Regardless of these new laws being implemented women were still getting abortions. They were resulting in illegal and unsafe tactics to end a pregnancy. They claimed the laws were unjust and they took away their right to choose. Women began participating in illegal and unsafe abortion to end their pregnancy, they claimed these new laws were causing them desperation, fear, shame, and claimed that it took a heavy toll on their health.
Women began resorting to what they call “back- alley abortions” (National Abortion Federation). There were estimated to be about 1.2 million illegal abortions per year and women were suffering from serious health problems due to these unsafe practices. Some of these practices resulted in death mainly to those in the poor community. Women who lived in poverty or did not have the financial means to cover the cost of abortion would resort to illegal abortions. Those with access to abortions had no choice but to resort to illegal methods to end their pregnancies. I was discovered that many women had attempted to do the procedure themselves by inserting knitting needles or coat hangers into the Vagina and uterus. Others used douching measures with chemicals such as lye or swallowing heavy drugs. Doctors could not give an exact percentage of how many women died because of these illegal abortions, due to the fact of it being illegal and not recorded. Though here are roughly thousands of women being treated yearly for unsafe abortions. Doctors started providing the procedure to save a woman’s life from abortions that were carelessly done, regardless of the law and the consequences that they would face.
In the 1960”s civil rights movements for women were formed to fight for women and their right to choose. Many who were in the medical profession joined in on the movement and sought to gain rights for women when it came to their bodies. This movement brought change and with-it new laws. Between 1967 and 1973 14 states had decided to reform the laws and four states repealed abortion laws. Finally, on January 22, 1973, ended all existing criminal abortion laws in the case of Roe v Wade. The court decided that a woman’s right to terminate in the first trimester was protected under “the right of privacy”.
The ruling was that the court could prevent states from banning abortion in the first trimester and the third trimester, except in certain cases. During the second trimester if an abortion was performed it was mainly due to protect the life or health of the mother. Abortions were also allowed under the advice of the doctor when they determined that the fetus would not survive or had defects. Those who supported this decision were happy, but others weren’t so accepting and faulted the court. Many who opposed the decision began working on attempts to stop state and federal funding for abortion.
About one million or more abortions that were done in the United States each year are elective and between the case Roe v Wade decision and 2008 there were more than 40 million abortions in the united states. Following the Roe v Wade case, in Planned Parent Hood v Casey the Supreme Court had allowed states to put restrictions on abortions, which resulted in new laws. Funding for abortions that were found to be medically necessary was provided by 17 states. Doctors were told that they had to give counsel to women who decide to get an abortion about the risks involved. According to a statement made by Justice O’Connor in Planned Parenthood v Casey women should have the right to make a decision concerning their right in choosing to have a child or not. “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”
Fast-forwarding to today abortion is still a rising challenge, but there are many supporters behind it. One of the huge arguments behind their fight for women is that abortion was declared as a “fundamental right” guaranteed by the US constitution. Supporter state that the choice to have children or not is solely that of the mother and essential to a woman’s independence and ability to determine her future. A woman should have the right to bodily autonomy and should have the freedom to choose what happens to their bodies. One Christian Ethicist Rebecca Peters states that motherhood is a moral choice therefore “it is an act of consent to the giving of life’. Peter argues that forcing a mother to keep a pregnancy is immoral. Peters believes that what is important is a woman’s willingness to participate in carrying love in the form of a child.
Peters also argues that when it comes to a woman’s choice to become a mother you do not have the right to force it upon them. Nor should government have the right to implement legislation on it. So, because women are the ones that must do the work in carrying that child it is them who must consent to it. Schlesinger an Episcopal Priest states that “abortion must be understood through the broad lens of justice” The focus must be on upholding the conditions for healthy and thriving children, not on policing individual women’s individual choices.” Schlesinger believes that instead of judging and attacking a woman for her choices, Christ teaches us to have and show empathy. Many supporters would agree and believe that society should understand a woman’s position and the reasons behind the choice to end a pregnancy.
There are many reasons to why a woman chooses to end a pregnancy and these reasons can range from, abuse, rape, and incest. Some women are not ready for the responsibility of caring for a child. Others aren’t stable in their lives or in their finances, so bringing a child in the world would only cause struggles. There are women who aren’t mentally and emotionally ready, such as suffering from depression or suicidal. Someone who is mentally unstable does not have the ability to care for another human being. Of course, pro-life supporters come back with the argument that if women didn’t want to get pregnant, they should practice safe sex. Unfortunately, birth control is not 100% and many women become pregnant when they aren’t ready. Women have resorted to getting a tubal litigation because they don’t want children but that doesn’t work all the time either. According to some statistics out of every 200 women will get pregnant after having their tubes tied. Other women as stated before are victims of rape and become pregnant. Can you just imagine what she must go through already and the trauma that the rape has caused her? To force her to carry a child that was a product of this traumatic event is wrong. People who have never been through an event such as this could not possibly understand where she’s coming from.
There are also those instances where the mother’s life is at stake and doctors recommend an abortion to save the mother. Some women choose to take the risks, but others may choose differently. Abortion should be a woman’s right and the government should not have a say in what women choose to do with their bodies. Abortion prevents unwanted and unplanned pregnancies and prevents children from being neglected and abandoned. According to a federal study done 22, 000 babies are left at hospitals by parents who don’t want them. There are estimated to be about 1,400 babies that are illegally discarded since 1999, but this number could be higher because there is no national dataset. These numbers only continue, you hear on the news or read stories about babies being dumped in trash bins, left in allies, fields, and trash bags. One recent story that just happened days ago police officer in Chicago found a newborn abandoned in a filed inside a trash bag. I believe all this could be prevented if abortion was available.
Lastly, supporters argue that without access to abortion more women will continue to resort to illegal abortions which is dangerous. These new laws will not keep women from searching elsewhere for abortions. There are about thirty million abortions done yearly and close to two hundred thousand women worldwide who die from unsafe abortions. Supporters argue that if a woman’s right to choose is taken away it would cause great consequences, because regardless, women will resort to unsafe practices to have an abortion. The mother’s life is what matters and if abortion were allowed there would be fewer cases of death or health problems caused by unsafe abortions.
In conclusion, I stand by my choice to support a woman’s right to choose, although I can understand the other side of the issue and taking a life is wrong but taking away a woman’s right is wrong too. I think this issue will always be one of great debate and it all boils down to allowing the mother to make the choice on whether she wants children or not. It should not be up to society or government.
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