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In the year 2015 the U.S has faced many tragedies, followed by many new debates and issues. In my essay I will be discussing abortion, an issue that has been controversial in Ohio, along with many other U.S states. This is not a new argument, but this argument has recently become very publicized. Kathy Gills defines abortion by stating “Abortion refers to the voluntary termination of a pregnancy, resulting in the death of the fetus or embryo.” (Gills Par. 1). This issue resulted in the creation of two separate groups, Pro-life and Pro-choice. Pro-choice groups believe women have the right to control what happens with her body, and should have access to the health care needed to support whatever decision the woman decides to choose. The pro-life groups would disagree with that opinion, and often views abortion as morally wrong, or even murder. (Gills Par. 2). This argument continues because without abortion there are many things at stake, but with it there are also many things that need to be kept in consideration.
In an early portion of the 19th century abortion, and the regulation over abortion was very lenient. These laws were questioned in 1973 in the court case Roe V. Wade. The court case erupted when a woman seeking an abortion couldn’t due so according to Texas law. In 1857 Texas regulated their abortion law so it was only in circumstances where the mother’s life was in danger, the woman, Jane Roe, fought this law. After the court case Roe v. Wade in January 1973 women have had the right to an abortion in all fifty states, although this right contains different regulations in each state. During the 1973 court case the court decided not allowing abortions violated a woman’s right to her own body, but they also ruled the state had the right to regulate the procedures. (Wilson, Par.1). Despite the court case ending with this verdict over 40 years go, the controversy of this issue has not ended and continues to arise.
One of the main arguments for pro-choice is the need to protect constitutional, natural born rights. A member of Catholics for Choice, Jon O’Brien, discusses this in his article “Why We Are and Must Remain ‘Pro-Choice’”. O’Brien states in his article “Choice recognizes that the ability to make that decision should not be determined by economic, social, or political factors, but by what each woman believes is right for herself and her circumstances.” (Par.21). The issue O’Brien is confronting with this quote is the freedom of ‘choice’ only being offered to certain people based on external factors. With this quote I believe he really wants to convince his audience the importance of providing everyone with the freedom to choose. In O’Brien’s argument he considers our constitutional rights to be at stake, and that without the pro-choice movement we will be losing the right to privacy which is guaranteed at birth. The purpose of his article is to persuade his audience how important it is to secure our constitutional rights, and that it would not be justice to take away the right to privacy over someone’s own body.
Pro-life is the opposing side of the argument, and is still a very favored option by many. Many factors contribute to the choice of being pro-life. One on the main factors in the pro-life argument is viewing the issue from a religious stance. Abortion is commonly viewed as murder, which is considered one of the most morally wrong sins among many different religions, not only Christian related religions. Many will disagree with the right to choose because most higher powers, or spiritual texts emphasize the importance and significance of preserving human life. In the article “Why I’m a pro-life Liberal”, the author Elizabeth Stoker describes her view on the issue, involving how her religion plays a significant role in her decision to be pro-life. In Stoker’s article she discusses that even though it is unclear if life begins at conception, since there is a possibility of life it is considered wrong under most Christian principles to continue an action that could end a life. (Stoker, Par.4). Stoker points out that it is unclear if line begins at conception, which is a very common pro-life argument. She wants to persuade her audience to consider that by supporting this decision there is also a possibility you are supporting “murder”. Considering abortion murder is a very debatable subject, but in the quote Stoker insists that proceeding with an action that could possibly result in death is just as immoral as murder according to her religious principles. Stoker uses repetition of Christian ethics to emphasize violating the specific sin of murder. The author’s main reasoning for writing this article is to persuade her audience this decision is religiously, morally, and ethically wrong.
Another common pro-life argument is the concept of when a child’s life actually begins. Many people look at the development of a fetus to determine when it is acceptable to terminate a pregnancy. Since we are discussing a pro-life opinion, specifically the opinion of life beginning at conception. John Sheda discusses in his article, “Why I Am Pro-Life”, real life example of how his daughter’s sister-in-law was forced for medical reasons to give birth at twenty-four weeks pregnant. Sheda states “Both had all the functional parts-beating heart, lungs, ten toes, fingers, two ears, eyes and even one cute nose.”. (Sheda, Par.4). In this quote specifically he is trying to appeal to the emotion of his audience. By giving such a detailed description of the babies, and all the physical features they had developed this allows the audience to visualize the babies. This appeals to the emotion of the reader because babies are ‘cute’ and no one wants to hurt an innocent child, It almost creates guilt for the audience. Sheda also discusses how the babies could not be defined as fetuses or masses of tissue. Sheda determined the babies were developed enough to be considered humans, and that as a human they also had the right to live as much as anyone else. (Sheda, Par.5). The author emphasizes the fact the babies could not be described as mass of tissue, or fetuses to prove that development of babies occur much before we realize. He claims they were developed enough to be considered human, and as humans they now also had the guaranteed right to live as much as any other person. Depending on how someone views the developmental stages can determine their stance on the issue. Some people are in favor of the time regulations set by the state, but if you believe life begins at conception then there is no appropriate time you can get an abortion without ending the life of another human being. The purpose of the author in writing this article was to convey to the audience that the development and life of a child begins very early on, usually before a mother would even know she’s pregnant. In Sheda’s argument by the time you go to have this procedure the child will no longer be a fetus, but instead a child who is entitled to the right to life, and safety.
In conclusion this issue still remains, and both sides still have many supporters. I found that the pro-choice argument typically used a lot of medical, scientific, and laws to convince their audience being pro-choice was the right decision. I also found pro-life arguments seemed to appeal more to the emotional, ‘right and wrong’ side of people. Their main concern was giving the audience information that showed them how it was morally, or ethically wrong. Both sides of the argument discussed many things that will be at stake, and they all viewed this issue from different stances and different perspectives.
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