Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Abortion in the United States


Abortion Controversy
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are roughly 3,322 abortions per day; amounting to 1.21 million abortions performed every year in the United States. There are many different opinions about abortion, such as “pro-life” or “pro-choice”. People who believe that abortion is wrong and should be stopped in our society are considered to be on the “pro-life” side of the controversy. Those who believe a woman should be able to decide what she does with her body and who support abortions in the United States would be considered “pro-choice”. In today’s society, the issue of illegalization of abortions in some states, if not all, has become more and more of a controversial topic. In order to have an opinion about this controversy, people should be informed about both sides as well as other perspectives.

Beginning of the Controversy: Roe v. Wade
            Roe v. Wade is a well-known Supreme Court decision that ultimately made abortion legal in the United States. “The decision held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months, based on the right to privacy” (Roe v. Wade).  The decision to make abortion legal in the United States sparked the controversial views and many debates about this issue in today’s society. An interesting detail that most people are unaware of is about the first abortion laws in history. “The first abortion laws were aimed at protecting the mother from the abortionist. They were not necessarily set in the context that the fetus was, from conception, a human being that happened to be protected” (Burrell). It wasn’t until later that the controversy in legality began to circle around the life of the fetus, not necessarily the safety of the mother.

Pro-Choice Arguments
            The definition of pro-choice according to American Heritage: “Favoring or supporting the legal right of women and girls to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy to term” . There are many reasons why pro-choice advocates believe this about abortion. An important argument from this side of the controversy includes: “If people want to stop abortion, they should turn to methods that do work” according to the ten arguments supporting pro-choice. This is extremely important in my opinion because if there are people who are against abortions, they should not blatantly say something is wrong without providing possible solutions. There are many ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies that result with abortions. For example, offering sex education in order for people to be informed about the decisions they are making. Pro-choice advocates also argue that, “Doctors, not governments, should always be the people to make medical recommendations and opinions” according to ten arguments supporting pro-choice. This argument is especially important because in today’s society, people feel more and more controlled by our government, causing a feeling of less power. For the government to illegalize abortions in the United States would be comparable with the President telling everyone they had to receive an operation, which is outrageous and would never be allowed. These are only a limited amount of reasons why people should have a right to their own decisions, especially when involving their own body.

Pro-Life Arguments
            The definition of pro-life according to American Heritage: “Advocating the legal protection of human embryos and fetuses, especially by favoring the outlawing of abortion on the ground that it is the taking of a human life”. On the other side of the controversy, pro-life advocates believe that abortion should be illegal and should be banned from the United States. An important argument that pro-life defenders embody is that life begins at conception, and therefore abortion is equivalent to murdering a human being. Since murder is obviously illegal in our country, it would make sense to think that abortion should also be illegal. A different, less emotional argument would be that most Americans who pay taxes may have conflicting views about the legality of abortions since often times, U.S. tax dollars are used in order to fund a majority of abortions according to Women's Issues. Abortion has been made illegal in some States in the past, however has later been overturned. People advocating for pro-life are intensively trying to pass laws in order to make abortions illegal, but only time will tell what the outcome will be.
Planned Parenthood
            Recent controversy about government funding of public health centers such as Planned Parenthood has caused government officials to consider reducing the funding significantly. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Republicans want to allow states to redirect money away from abortion providers" and also take away $317 million Planned Parenthood for the 2011 fiscal year. This would mean a significant decrease in family planning, health services such as cancer screenings, and birth control availability along with many more services.

The Right Argument
            In my opinion, pro-choice is the more logical answer in the debate of abortion in the United States. To me, the arguments for pro-life appear to be more of an emotionally biased decision when in reality, the right choice may vary for different people. The choice to keep or abort a baby should be entirely up to the woman. It is her body therefore the choice should not belong to any governmental laws or officials. In many cases, abortion is the only logical thing to do in situations of poverty, lack of family support, abusive relationships, rape, etc. 

Possible Solutions
          Possible solutions for this well-known controversy are still debatable and many people with opinions about this topic may not agree with the compromises or solutions for abortion in the United States. In order to make abortion more agreeable in the United States, our government could withdraw it's financial support for the funding of abortions, not necessarily all of it's funding (other health services that Planned Parenthood provides) but solely the funding of abortions. If a woman has the ability to choose abortion, she should be able to pay for it herself, not rely on other people's tax money. Another possible solution, that is more favored by pro-life supporters, would be adoption. Adoption gives a life to the unborn child while also giving it to a family that truly wants to have a baby. Although adoption has been known to be one of the hardest decisions a pregnant woman can make, it would ultimately be beneficial for everyone involved.

Works Cited

Akinrinola Bankole, et al. "Legal Abortion Worldwide In 2008: Levels And Recent Trends." Perspectives On Sexual & Reproductive Health 43.3 (2011): 188-198. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Nov. 2011. 

Burrell, Barbara. "Roe V. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy In American History." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 5.3 (2002): 546-548. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Nov. 2011.

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