The Value of Life
Imagine 3,700 children murdered in one day; their bodies torn, bruised, or poisoned. Sadly, this is no sick fantasy, but a procedure called abortion, defined as an operation to end a pregnancy by removing an embryo or fetus from its mother’s womb (“Choose” sec 1). In the United States alone, approximately 1.37 million abortions occur per year. Late term abortions, or post first-term abortions, are known to cause serious health problems such as mental issues and moral dilemmas because the fetus has taken the shape of a baby and thus is a viable human being. Abortion has been debated for centuries because of its political and social ramifications, and the correctness or lack of correctness. Both sides have strong arguments, but either way, late-term abortion should be made illegal in the United States because of its health risks, viability, and prevalence in society (“Statistics” sec 1). Late- term abortions damage both the mother’s mental and physical health dramatically. Once a fetus has taken a baby’s shape, the most common form of abortion is using the combination of drugs and medicines. Methotrexate is a drug that is designed to kill the fetus inside the mother’s womb; Misoprostol is a liquid substance that is also involved with this abortion process. It is used subsequent to Methotrexate and empties the uterus of the child. Medicines, like those mentioned above, are unsafe and unstable, putting the mother’s health at risk. For example, Methotrexate is known to be harmful to both the fetus and its mother (“Statistics” sec. 3). The primary use of this drug is to poison the fetus. A problem that can occur in this medicine, typically used for chemotherapy, is it can be toxic. In the case that the drug is toxic, the use in abortion can result in death of both mother and fetus. In addition to drug toxicity, there are also many mental issues that can arise in the mother (“Abortion” sec. 3). Many become depressed because of their decision to abort; others contemplate suicide. Additionally, anxiety has affected many women who have had abortions. In a study of the after effects of abortion, 40% to 60% of women questioned gave negative reactions. This survey was done eight weeks subsequent to the procedure (“Abortion” sec. 3). Out of that percentage, 55% of them felt guilty. 44% claim they experienced nervous disorders, sleeping disorders had occurred in 36% of the women, and not surprisingly, 31% admitted feelings of regret. 11% had to be prescribed with psychotropic pills. The high percentages of metal issues show that abortions cause serious health risks to the mothers. Adding on to mental health problems, physical complications can arise after an abortion (“Abortion” sec. 1). There are a multitude of “minor” side effects from abortion. Small infections are a result of abortions. Many women become sick by a fever. Others experience gastrointestinal problems. Bleeding is a very common outcome of this procedure. In the same study, women reported chronic abdominal pain, and also excessive vomiting. Not including minor conditions, there are over 100 major problems recorded that women have faced. A blockage of an artery or embolism can result from abortion. Some experience deathly infections. Hemorrhaging, or excessive bleeding, occurs in many. Ripping, or perforation of the uterus, is an excruciatingly painful result of the practice. Women can also experience anesthesia complications. In addition, cervical injury injuries are common. An astounding 5% become sterile, or unable to get pregnant again. Ectopic pregnancies may occur after one obtains an abortion (“Abortion” sec. 1). In a study of the National Rights to life Committee, two hundred and fifty-five deaths to mother’s having an abortion occur per year (McKeegan 123). Studies have shown that legal abortion is no safer than illegal, back-alley abortions. One 43year old woman bled to death during an abortion; another woman’s uterus perforated and she also passed. In addition, an eighteen year old girl had a blood infection that was fatal (Curie 52). All these major problems and more occur every year for women who abort. Although the viability of a fetus is debatable, many scientists and doctors concur that with today’s modern technology, the week that a fetus becomes viable is becoming progressively earlier (Currie 26). All late-term abortions, or those occurring after twenty weeks of the pregnancy, are killing a viable fetus. Studies also show fetuses feel pain, as proven by the fact that they twisting in agony and display painful looks when aborted. Another way to show how the fetus is just an unborn baby is the fact that its internal and external organs are the same. The fetus also performs many baby-like functions. Statistics from highly knowledgeable people have also back up the theory that a fetus is viable in post- first term state. The internal and external features show that the fetus is the same as a human, just not as mature (“WPClinic”, sec 2). A viable fetus has the same external features of any newborn. With few exceptions, the human is made up of many different body parts such as a head, body, eyes, mouth, sex organs, hair, etc. A fetus, post-first term, has all of these typical parts and thus resembles a child. In addition to their exterior, fetuses also have the same internal organs. They have a fully developed brain at 13-16 weeks-which is at the beginning of late 1st term. All organs are working at this point. In the latter weeks, its nervous system can even control functions (“WPClinic”, sec 2). These features prove that the fetus is just like a newborn. Not only does the fetus resemble a newborn, it also acts like one. “The baby plays so to speak, now...We know what he feels and have listened to what he hears” (McBride 34). This quote shows that a fetus is no different than a newborn baby, for it performs the same functions; the fetus is just perhaps not as mature. Some normal procedures the fetus performs include swallowing, making breathing sounds, recognizing its mother’s voice, blinking, grasping, kicking, and somersaulting. Physicians also say a fetus feels pain around twenty weeks (McBride 64). Today, physicians give women pamphlets to let them know their fetus will feel pain when it is aborted. Studies support this through the fact that the fetus twists in agony and shows painful looks when it is aborted (McKeegan 112). The facts prove that the fetus acts and plays like a newborn, so it should have the same rights as well. Any fetus past first term looks almost identical to a newborn baby, which proves that the only difference is in maturity. Babies have the same basic rights to live as their mothers, and the difference between the two is just growth and maturity. This concludes that a fetus is just a slightly less matured and devolved as a baby and thus deserves the same human rights, such as the right to live. “There is no difference between a fertilized egg and an adult human, just different stages of development” (McBride 58). The following statistics show a child’s survival rate as a percentage at various stages of a pregnancy (“WPClinic” sec. 3). In weeks 24-25, there is 50% - 75% chance of survival. The same study shows that in weeks 26-28, fetal survival can be as high as 90%. Weeks 29-32, show a 95% chance of survival. Other studies, court cases, and thoughts on abortion prove the viability. Developed fetuses at weeks 16-23 can be miracle babies and should be viable with rights. This is proven through the statement made by the National Rights to Life Committee report, “There was a record of premature births of four and half month’s old fetuses who survived to become normal human beings” (McKeegan 54-55). In the famous court case, Roe v. Wade, the court stated that after the fetus was viable, able to live and thrive outside the mother’s womb, the government banned abortion, and was able to promote fetal rights (Solinger 96). “Those who aborted babies, now plead with pregnant women not to believe the lies that the “fetus” really isn’t a baby, or that abortion and its aftereffects are painless” (Williams 141). Post-first term fetus’ should be credited as viable, and have the same rights. Globally, abortion is becoming increasingly prevalent and is being abused by pregnant women. Over the years, this practice has been used as a type of birth control (“Statistics” sec. 2). One source stated, “It is clear that the availability of legal abortion encourages women to abort,” (Currie 51). If abortion was made illegal, women would realize they have no last resort, and become more aware of the consequences of unsafe activity, therefore decreasing the rate of unwanted pregnancies. When abortion is legal, the rates of teen pregnancies soar; including the rates of unwanted pregnancies as well. In McKeegan’s book, it is said that there are many “areas where Americans feel the most discomfort.” This is in regards to the process and evaluation of abortion. Three things that were mentioned were the high number of abortions, the ratio of redundancy in a single woman, and the fact that a small number of abortions are for reasons such as incest, rape, or serious health conditions. This shows that the average American is scared that the county is allowing such a harmful, murderous crime to occur repetitively. If no one stands to stop this, then abortion rates will keep soaring and millions of innocent’s lives will be lost. About 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons, meaning the child was unexpected, and furthermore unwanted (“Statistics” sec. 2). This proves that these people could have taken precautions beforehand, but instead abuse and use this process. There are two popular options that one could be used to prevent pregnancy before sexual activity (“Statistics” sec. 3). Commonly known as the pill, this medication is progesterone only, and prevents ovulation. Depo- Provera is another birth control hormone injection that a woman can take every three months to avert implantation of an embryo. Most unwanted pregnancies leading to abortions could have been fixed by taking easy safety precautions. There are many facts that show women exploit abortion for birth control. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had one or more abortions in their lifetime (“Statistics” sec. 2). Feeling regret and miserable, 33% of women who have had abortions wish to get pregnant again in place for their aborted child (“Abortion” sec. 3). 18% succeed in getting pregnant after, but have the same recurring doubts of their previous pregnancy, and feel forced into another abortion (“Abortion” sec. 3). The facts above directly prove that women are using abortion as a “bullet proof” way of birth control. Estimates show that 43% of all women, by the time they are forty-five, will have at least one abortion (“Statistics” sec. 2). Teenagers account for a vast majority of abortions. In fact, sexually active teens account for 20% of abortions (“Statistics” sec.1). Girls from age fifteen to nineteen showed an increasing of intercourse, thus increasing the number of abortions (McKeegan p158). In 1982, 47% of teens had been sexually active, and by the year 1988, 53% were active (McKeegan p158). Since then, the numbers have grown drastically. If abortion was illegal, the trend would be reversed, and the number of teens having sexual activity would decrease, lessening unsolicited fetuses. Planned Parenthood, an organization that many teens look to for guidance in their pregnancies, encourages abortions. This increases the amount of teen abortions. Without abortion in the equation, fewer girls become pregnant (McKeegan p42). Women who wish for an abortion wish for the relief from having a child. Even though know of the option of adoption, they refused. Some say it’s because it could be painful for the mother, and they could be right. “Those who give up a child for adoption say that despite the emotional pain, they know they gave that child the best hope for a good life,” stated in Williams abortion book. If 1.5 million American families want to adopt, why don’t the mothers want to unselfishly give their unwanted fetuses to these welcoming families (Williams 150)? Instead of using this alternative, women often use abortion. Adoption is a much simpler and better alternative that gives children the chance at life that they deserve. A point that many pro-choice advocates make is that the fetus is part of the woman and she has the right to do as she wills with her body. This point is easily refuted by the fact that the fetus has its own body, and just like every other human, is completely unique, “a tiny person, a new individual human”(Mc Bride 58). Although the fetus relies on some of the food supply and other parts of the women’s body, this does not mean that the mother owns, or can make deathly choices about the baby. A newborn relies on its mother just the same for food, shelter, clothing, etc. Does this mean an infant can also be murdered? Each human has its own set of 46 chromosomes which make up its DNA. This is present at the point of conception. It determines how we develop in the womb, making us our own individual person. The following quote describes that a fetus is a person, its own person, not just a part of a woman that can be taken off, like a wart or a mole, but a living creature. “The chromosomes, the genetic codes, the genes- all that will make a child or an adult- are there ready to be read and acted on like a blueprint,” (Currie 25). The genetic make up and specific codes prove that the fetus is separate from its mother. The only connection between a fetus being a part of its mother can only be seen from the standpoint that it is living and growing inside her. The mother’s body is completely separate, and they are only connected by the umbilical cord. Fetuses are an entirely independent, very unique life. There are many different blood types; this is just one way that someone can prove that fetus and the mother are not one. This is just one way that someone can prove that the fetus and the mother are not one. The fetus and its mother usually have different blood types. They also have separate thoughts and brain waves. Not surprisingly, a separate branch of medicine called “fetal embryology” is in existence. This treats the unborn babies as patients separately then that of the mother (McBride 58). All of these show that the fetus is separate than its mother, this it cannot be argues that the fetus is part of the mother. There is a simple answer for all of abortion’s complications and issues, and that is to ban it from the United States. Statistics, studies, and opinions of experts all agree that abortion is cruel and destructive. There are many health issues that are the product of abortions and cannot be avoided. Many mental problems, as discussed before, are results of abortion. Physical issues also occur frequently; some are even
deathly. Not only is the fetus viable, but it also resembles a newborn during post-first term pregnancies. Also the prevalence of abortion, being an available option, has encouraged many to use it. This “course of action” is just another kind of birth control, and is a relief to many, knowing that if they get pregnant, there is another option. In this way is the public abusing abortion. With the exception of 1% of the cases of incest or rape, the women could have taken many available precautions to avoid an unwanted child and a hasty abortion. Adoption is kinder and safer than abortions, and lets the child receive a chance at life. Obviously, no one is hurt or murdered in the process of adoption. Unborn babies have suffered their parent’s consequences for too long. After all, the fetus didn’t do anything wrong. Why should he or she have to die for the selfishness of its mother? The answer is he or she shouldn’t. For these reasons and more, abortions should be illegal in the United States. Each abortion performed is the murder of an innocent; someone that has done no wrong. Anyone can take a stand against abortion, a process so cruel and wrong, to save lives of innocent children. Will you?