Abortion Argument: Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?
Abortion has been a hot topic for the past decade. Pro-life and pro-choice groups have been fighting the never-ending opinionated battle on if abortion should be legal of not. Over the years these two groups have gained support from governmental advocates at both the local and national levels arguing on their behalf to pass an array of abortion related bills. Recently, pro-life groups have been pressing numerous bills through state legislatures severely restricting abortion practices. Some of these bills include the Kansas "Fetal Pain Bill" placing limits on abortions after 22 weeks based on research that the fetus can feel pain at this point and the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill" which would prohibit abortion at the first detectable fetal heartbeat, as early as three weeks into a pregnancy. It is my belief that pro-life and governmental bills supporting pro-life stances are a violation of women's rights restraining her from making the personal and intimate decision of whether she feels she can commit to having a child as well as adding an immense amount of stress to a woman while making this already distressing decision.
Pro-life groups and the government are unconstitutionally attempting to invade a woman's privacy and prevent her from making the personal decision of aborting a fetus. According to the dictionary, abortion is the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy. The fetus is in and involves the woman's body. The government and pro-life advocates should not be allowed to infringe on this right by making laws forbidding a woman from having an abortion. For example, the 'Heartbeat Bill' from Ohio stating that woman cannot have an abortion after a detectable heartbeat is felt (3 weeks) would do just that. On a Cleveland local news website, Kathleen Clyde (2011), a Democrat from Kentucky states, "This bill is anti woman, it's out of touch, it's an overreach, and in this case, it's utterly unconstitutional" (p. 1). I one hundred percent agree with Kathleen Clyde in this statement, and think that any bill hindering a woman's right to choice is 'utterly unconstitutional'. Women have the constitutional right to ensure unwanted invasions of their body. In _Abortion Opposing Viewpoints_ by James Torr (2006) it states that even prisoners who are denied many of their constitutional rights still retain the right to no unreasonable searches of their body (p. 23). Allowing the government to regulate abortions takes this right from woman, a right that even prisoners possess.
Pro-life advocates claim that mothers should not be given the choice to 'kill' a fetus because it is a human being. In the Declaration on Procured Abortion by the Catholic religion (1974), it claims, "From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother, it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already" (p.1 no12). This may be an opinion that life starts when the ovum is fertilized but an opinion of the Catholic faith is all it is and should not be the main argument in why abortion should be illegalized. To have a substantial argument, pro-life advocates need to have a science based rather than Catholic opinion based argument on when a fetus becomes human. Furthermore, according to a Women's Issues article on abortion written by Linda Lowen, "nearly all abortions today take place in the first trimester, when the fetus cannot exist independent of its mother. Its health is dependent on her health and cannot be regarded as separate entity as it cannot exist outside her womb" (p. 2 n.d.). It is the pro-life advocates opinion that life starts from the time the ovum is fertilized and that no one should be allowed to 'murder' a human being. Until it is established when a human life begins, this should not be a reason to deny woman her personal choice of abortion.
According to James Torr, women typically approach the decision of abortion with careful thought and for many women; the importance of being the best parent they can be is their primary consideration (p. 53). If a woman does not feel they can provide and love their child, it will have a more substantial and emotional toll on the woman and child to conceive than to abort the pregnancy. Often times woman have abortions because they have been raped, are to young, or can't afford to provide for the child. If restrictive abortion bills are passed they will increase the amount of unwanted and unable to be cared for children in the United States significantly. In a US Abortion Statistics website where statistics were provided by the United States Center of Disease Control (2011), it states that 50% of woman obtaining abortions are younger than 25, 74% of woman felt having a baby would dramatically change their life (interrupt education, job, career), 73% of woman felt they could not afford a child at the present time, and about 2% admitted they were a victim of rape or incest (US Abortion Statistics 2011).
When the pregnancy is unwanted its continuation can take a heavy toll on a woman's physical and emotional well-being. Pro-life advocates argue this point claiming that in actuality, having an abortion causes greater physical and emotional stress on a woman. For instance, in rape, pro-life advocates claim that the unborn child did no crime and its life should not be terminated because the crime of rape was committed. Furthermore, in Lowens article (2011) pro-life advocates say that a rape or incest victim can receive proper care from a hospital that would prevent them from conceiving (p. 1). This is true, but woman are often embarrassed and have trouble admitting and accepting they are a victim of rape or incest. Often times woman do not tell anyone about the crime committed on her until it is discovered she is pregnant which is often times well into the pregnancy. Having a baby of rape or incest against a woman's will, would only add to the stress and emotional toll on an already distressed woman.
Women also often have abortions because they are unable to afford the child. Pro-life advocates state that adoption agencies are a viable alternative to abortion and would provide the child with a family that can properly take care of the child. Adoption statistics recorded by the National Child Abuse and Neglect System as well as the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System provide statistics that lead me to believe adoption is not a viable alternative to abortion if a mother is worried about her child having a good life. In these statistics I read that national adoption rates are on a decline and "the over all national child victim rate of children in foster care and adoption agencies was 10.6 victims per 1,000 children" (Adoption Statistics, 2011). As the nations adoption rate declines and as a relatively high percentage of children in foster and adoptive homes are maltreated; it is wrong of pro-life advocates to claim adoption is a viable and safe alternative for woman wanting an abortion because they cannot properly provide for their child. Restrictive abortion bills like the Ohio 'Heartbeat Bill' and the Kansas "Fetal Pain Bill" would have a direct correlation with increased unwanted children being placed in adoption agencies and with fewer people adopting in the United States over the past few years, this could cause over population in orphanages and an increase in children living in orphanages (not where any parent should wish their child).
Lastly, according to Lowen's article (2011), "those who choose abortion are often minors or young women with insufficient life experience to understand fully what they are doing and therefore should not be allowed to make the heavy weighted decision of ending an unborn child's life" (p. 1). Pro-choice individuals counteract this statement by claiming that yes, young woman do have insufficient life experience and therefore should be allowed to abort a child because they might also not be prepared to become a parent which according to Elizabeth Karin in Torrs' book, _Abortion: Opposing View Points_ (2006), "is the hardest job out there […] requiring precise abilities, arrangements, resources, and community support" (p. 53). Lowen (2011) claims that teens that become mothers often have grim prospects for their future. They are much more likely to drop out of school, require government and public assistance in raising their child, and deny their child proper prenatal and preschool child care (p. 1). Forcing a teenager to have an unwanted baby can cause an immense amount of problems and emotional distress for the mother as well as the child throughout life. Bills restricting the time frame when an abortion is legal would increase teenage pregnancy leading to more teenagers dropping out of school and living unfulfilling lives.
It is clear that denying a woman the choice to abort a baby and severely restricting the time frame that abortion is legal will cause thousands of unwanted pregnancies in the United States. Not only does allowing the government to regulate abortions through bills such as Ohio's potential 'Heartbeat Bill' and Kansas potential 'Fetal Pain Bill' deny woman their privacy but it also paves the way for increased physical and emotional distress on a 'forced-to-be' mother and her unwanted or unable to be cared for child.
Adoption Statistics. (n.d.). _Child Welfare Information Gateway_. Retrieved
January 25, 2012, from
This website shares adoption statistics in the United States. Statistics included are Adopted Children Statistics by US Census Bureau, Adoption and Foster Care Analysis by Children's Bureau and US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as Children Welfare Outcomes by the Children's Bureau.
Declaration on procured abortion, 18 November 1974. (n.d.). _Vatican: the_
_Holy See_. Retrieved January 24, 2012, from
This website shares a statement from the Catholic religion on why abortion should be illegal because Catholics state that life begins when the sperm meets the egg.
Facts About Abortion: U.S. Abortion Statistics. (2011, August 10).
_Abort73.com_ . Retrieved January 24, 2012, from
This website shares Abortion Statistics. These statistics include why people choose to have abortions and how many abortions ( and when child is aborted in a pregnancy) a year.
Guillen, J. (2011, June 28). Ohio House approves abortion restrictions.
_Cleveland OH Local News_. Retrieved January 24, 2012, from
This website shares an article about the Ohio 'Heartbeat Bill.' The article states the grounds of the bill and the stances of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice advocates.
Lowen, L. (n.d.). 10 Abortion Arguments - 10 Arguments Against Abortion
and 10 Arguments for Abortion. _Women's Issues_. Retrieved January 24,
This website is an unbiased argument website on abortion. It states 10 arguments of people for abortion as well as 10 arguments of people against abortion and reasons for these arguments.
Lowen, L. (2009, May 19). Why Women Choose Abortion - Statistical
Breakdown of Reasons For Abortion. _Women's Issues_. Retrieved January
14, 2012, from
This website is a statistic website. It breaks down and explains why woman receive abortions.
Torr, J. (2006). _Abortion: Opposing Viewpoints_. Greenhaven Michigan:
This book is a book on the view points of abortion. It has both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life arguments for and against abortion. These arguments are backed up as well as refuted (showing all aspects of the argument).