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Abortion: America's Most Controversial Issue Today

By Pitmony May 03, 2005 1055 Words
Abortion is never an easy decision, in fact its one of America's most controversial issues in today's reality, but women have none the less been making that choice for thousands of years. Studies show that about 43% of American women will have one or more abortions during their lifetime, and women's centers and hospitals perform more than a million abortions on an annual basis. Women have many reasons for not wanting to be pregnant including age, marital status, economic status, and the circumstances of their pregnancy, and thus seek out an abortion. Although many citizens view abortion as an immoral act of brutality and strongly contest its usage, others believe the choice belongs solely to the mother and the mother alone. The main argument pertaining to abortion is whether or not a fetus is a "person" that is "indistinguishable from the rest of us" and if it deserves rights equal to women's. On this question there is a tremendous spectrum of religious, philosophical, scientific, and medical opinion, but it all really depends on who you ask. It's been argued for centuries. Fortunately, our society has recognized that each woman must be able to make this decision, based on her own conscience. To impose a law defining a fetus as a "person," granting it rights equal to or superior to a woman's, thinking, feeling, conscious human being, is not only arrogant but absurd. It only serves to diminish a woman's value. (Heritage House 76, Inc.)Under the view of pro choice supporters the embryo is not a baby since it can not survive and live outside the uterus since it receives everything needed to survive from the mother's body. In a sense the fetus dies but it was never living to begin with so it can not be considered an act of murder as pro-lifers would argue. More simply consider acorns and trees. (Robinson) Just as an acorn is a fertilized egg of the oak, that does not make it a tree. Sure it has the potential to become an oak tree, but it has not yet grown to that stage and thus can not be considered one. (Blackmun 78) Putting out laws to prohibit abortions does not necessarily stop it; it merely attempts to make it more difficult. When women feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to have abortions, even in secret, without medical care, in dangerous circumstances. This only puts the life of the mother at an even greater risk. In the two decades before abortion was legal in the U.S., it's been estimated that nearly a million women per year sought out illegal abortions. Thousands died. Tens of thousands were mutilated. All were forced to behave as if they were criminals. (Durrett 126) Another key issue in regards to abortion is whether or not a raped woman should continue and bare the child or chose to abort the fetus. Pro-lifers believe that the unborn child has the right to live and even if the woman faces an unwanted pregnancy, she should carry the child to term and make the best of her situation with the help available to her and her family. They further believe an abortion only traumatizes the raped woman further, when she realizes she has killed her own child. Through an abortion, the mother becomes the aggressor and ultimately murders a future child. (Brennan 26) Under pro choice views, during rape the woman does not give consent to participate in sexual activities and therefore can not be held liable for the pregnancy forced onto her by the criminal acts of injustice done to her. In this circumstance, abortion would not be considered murder and by doing so the victim would be able to retain a normal life once again. Now, if women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, the result would be an unwanted child. (Sloan 27-34) These children epitomize society's most awful cases, often neglected, unloved, brutalized, and more often than not, simply abandoned along deserted ally ways, or in dumpsters or even on the sides of freeways. When they grow up, these children are often seriously disadvantaged, and sometimes inclined toward brutal behavior to others. This is not good for children, for families, or for the country. So why then should we force someone to conceive a child that would have to live under such conditions? Children need love and families who want and will care for them, not the painful realization that they serve as a lasting scare to their mother of an event that brutally and violently altered her life. (Hernandez 17-19) There is no love in rape; love makes a child; not hate and violence. At the most fundamental level of the predicament, the abortion issue is not really about abortion. It's about the value of women in society. Should women make their own decisions about their family, their career, and how to live their lives? Or should the government do that for them? Do women have the option of deciding when or whether to have children? Or is that a government decision? And who is going to feed and cloth and above all provide a nurturing environm
ent for the growth and development of society's most precious life, certainly not the government. (Planned Parenthood) Thus since the child relies upon the mother for its life, the mother should be entirely in charge of the decisions concerning her life, body, and well being. Activists on both sides speak out everyday in violent and non violent ways to express their opinions concerning the topic. Abortion, now in the twenty first century has become not only a political debate but a biological and even religious debate. By the basis of the Supreme Court case of Roe vs. Wade, in no way should the government deprive a woman of her right to personal liberty (under the Fourteenth Amendment) and her reservation of rights to the people (under the Ninth Amendment) upheld by the constitution of the United States of America. (Herda 54-57) The U.S. is a country or personal freedoms and liberties, and never should it act as a dictator whose powers limit the ability to protect one's self, especially women's reproductive rights.

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