Abortion: A Life That Could Have Been
Abortion is one of the most persistently controversial issues in American culture and politics today. Since the 1973 national legalization of abortion, competing groups have fought to either restrict or increase access to the procedure, leading to heated debates among political activists, religious organizations, state legislatures, and judges. Almost no one remains untouched by the abortion controversy. Patients and clinic workers are sometimes prevented from entering medical facilities because of blockades and threats of violence. Ordinary people are exposed to television commercials, billboards, and other forms of media that promote antiabortion and pro-choice beliefs. Although there have been a few attempts to find common ground, both sides of the debate find little to agree on. The history of abortion in the United States is far more complicated than most people imagine. It has been an issue of varying contention in this nation for the last 200 years. Around 1962, the Model Penal Code began to influence abortion law, making it so a woman could receive an abortion for other reasons besides risk to her own health. In 1970, New York was the first state to legalize elective abortions done by a licensed physician before the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Nevertheless, abortion has never enjoyed such universal protection under the law as it has since 1973. As it stands today, American women have the legal right to obtain an abortion in all 50 states, through all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason at all. This has been true since the Supreme Court declared that autonomous abortion rights are built into the Constitution, and that any legal barriers which prevent mothers from aborting their children are unconstitutional. This ruling was arrived at on the premise that the 9th and 14th Amendments, according to legal precedent established during the 1960's, guarantees a woman's "right to privacy," a right that extends even to abortion. Janet Podell, Abortion (Reference Shelf, Vol 62, No 4)
Since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder as it is the act of taking human life. Abortion should be treated like any other person intentionally harming or taking the life of another human. An alternative would be adoption which accomplishes the same result and with 1.5 million American families wanting to adopt a child, there is no such thing as an unwanted child. An abortion can result in medical complications later in life; the risk of ectopic pregnancies doubles, and the chance of a miscarriage and pelvic inflammatory disease also increases. Abortion should not be used as another form of contraception. For women who demand complete control of their body, control should include preventing the risk of unwanted pregnancy through the responsible use of contraception or, if that is not possible, through abstinence. Many Americans who pay taxes oppose abortion; therefore it's morally wrong to use tax dollars to fund abortion. Those who choose abortions are often minors or young women with insufficient life experience to understand fully what they’re doing and many have lifelong regrets afterwards. Abortion punishes the unborn child who committed no crime; instead, it is the perpetrator who should be punished. "Abortion ProCon.org." Abortion ProCon.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2012. <http://abortion.procon.org/>. Kamm, F. M. Creation and Abortion: A Study in Moral and Legal Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 1992. Abortion is not as harmful as its opponents claim it to be. Instead of viewing abortion as "murder," society must view it as a necessary alternative. Abortion could save a woman's life, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most common reasons women consider abortion are: birth control failure (Over half of all women who have an abortion used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant),...