Friday, November 4, 2011


Emily Nelson
Professor Lutz
English 151
November 3 2011
Abortion: The Arguments in Today's Society 
Abortion is one of the most highly debated topics among the world to this day. There are many different views and opinions that surround this topic that make the situation all that more complicated. The sides of the argument include Pro-Choice and Pro-Life and it is one of the only arguments that effects people morally, socially and medically. Pro-Choice refers to those who support women’s rights to abort a fetus. Pro- Life activists believe abortion should be made illegal and believe abortion is murder. When a woman is given the option to abort, immediately there is a lot of emotion and pressure surrounding the decision to be made. Depending on the circumstance, a woman’s right to abort a fetus is crucial, always controversial, but ultimately it is a very impactful decision from all angles. Pro-Life activists have valid arguments and support the right to life, but there are times where abortion is done in an understandable situation. Abortions are part of a woman’s right to choose and the law protects that right. Overall, I believe abortions can be done for the right reasons and they are always going to be needed in various circumstances, I support a woman’s right to choose.

According to the Guttmacher Institutethe number of abortions have been on the decline since the 1970s. 61.8% of abortions happen in 9 weeks or less into the pregnancy, it is healthiest for a woman to get an abortion done early and an easier procedure for doctors to complete. Of the women who are getting abortions, over half of them are under the age of 20. According to the picture to the right, majority of abortions happen because of financial issues, women aren’t ready for a child, there are problems with the father, and a few other reasons as well. Although there is the option of adoption after the child is born, would you really want a mother who isn’t mature enough to take care of a fetus for nine months in her womb and expect her to raise it to be healthy? I understand why Pro-Life activists want to preserve the fetus and give it a good life if a mother is unable to, but Pro-Life activists ignore the other factors such as a woman’s feelings about the situations. Teen mom’s sometimes can’t emotionally handle the effects of having or carrying a child. Their bodies haven’t planned for it and it is physically demanding and changes their childhood forever. The mother’s life is equally important the fetus and both parties are accounted for in the abortion decision. 
The Guttmacher Institute provides accurate and current statistics about abortion. People who get abortions come from many different ages, races, religions and locations. Their website, link previously listed, contains a video that summarizes who, what, where, when and why all about terminating pregnancies. Along with the video and statistics, Guttmacher also provides abortion services and explains the laws surrounding the process.

The main argument made by pro-choice supporters is for choices to remain an open option for any individual, there should not be a law against deciding if having a child would be a good option for the carrier or for the unborn. By the Freed Dictionary definition, pro choice is described as “favoring or supporting the legal right of women and girls to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy to term,” (Freed). Freed Dictionary also describes pro-choice as a woman’s right to control her own body.
When a fetus isn’t recognized as entering personhood, abortion is not able to be judged by the government as murder. Recently the government has put many restrictions on abortion rights. According to the article The Case for Pro-Choice Participation in Drafting Fetal Homicide Laws, by Mary Beth Hickcox-Howard, fetal homicide laws are putting a lot of restrictions on women who want to abort. “The only acceptable response to a proposed fetal homicide law is to attempt to block its passage entirely and substitute a bill that enhances punishments for assaulting a pregnant woman, but does not create a separate criminal offense for harming of killing the fetus,” (Hickcox-Howard 319). This is an example of fetal homicide laws in action. If the government can’t make a firm destinction between attacking a pregnant woman as one person or attacking a pregnant woman as two people (the fetus being the second person), we can tell that pro-life arguments aren’t strong enough to be put into action. Pro-Choice activists do not like when new laws are passed, it creates more work for them to prove their stance. Not to say that pro-life supporters don’t have valid arguments but the fact of the matter is, the government has yet to distinguish a fetus as a human. The new laws put restrictions on abortions and make it more difficult for a woman in need to get the surgery. Each side of the abortion debate have very strong points to be made, but when looking at the facts, abortion has yet to be outlawed and women have yet to stop needing the medical procedure.
When researching the topic of abortion, a lot of results came up as personal stories and experiences. Many pro-choice activists post about positive abortion experiences, Kimberly Blessing goes into detail about the reasons of why she is pro-choice. Many of her points can resonate with many people across the United States. Blessings makes the statement, “I’m pro-choice because I know the panic a woman can suffer when she thinks she’s pregnant,” (Blessings). This feeling is common amongst countless women everywhere, we see it in everyday life, movies, TV shows and books. Maybe there was a misuse or no use of contraceptives or maybe there was an incident of rape, sometimes women feel like their life is over when they have an unplanned pregnancy. Women must know if they will be able to take care of this baby and possibly need to decide if they would be able to handle giving it up for adoption.
Blessing’s blog is very personal, her writing is very informal and appeals to many readers. After reading what she had to say it made me realize how pro-life supporters in the government are trying to get these laws passed that are ultimately stripping women’s right to choose away from them. Another point made in this blog that really opened my eyes was “I’m pro-choice because there are already too many unwanted and uncared-for children in this world, and I believe to bring another unwanted one in is cruel to that child,” (Blessings). Statements like this cannot be overlooked. Forcing a woman to go through with an unwanted pregnancy to result in an unwanted baby is an act of disrespect to those women and their child-to-be. When a woman is choosing to terminate her pregnancy, she is doing it to take care of something that would never result in a good situation for anybody. More personal abortions stories can be found at Our Bodies Ourselves.

Supporters of Pro-Life beliefs use The Bible and government policy to support their anti-abortion opinions. They believe that all lives should be saved, no matter what circumstance, no matter how long the fetus has been in the womb, according to the pro-life side of the argument, once a woman has conception of the fetus, it is a living person and abortion is murder. About every anti-abortion support group will tell you that terminating a pregnancy is the same thing is voluntarily killing an innocent human being. In my research I came across a website that fully supported life starting the second of conception. Many people contribute to the question of why pro-life? At this website readers will find personal stories of how the pro-life movement has affected them. 
        Most women who have gotten an abortion typically have misused contraceptives or didn’t use them, very few women use protection methods correctly who get abortions. Pro-life supporters believe abortion questions some women’s morality. A blog found about Religion and Pro-Life Issues explains why they believe a woman is guilty of murder when she is choosing to have an abortion. The blog uses God in the argument and explains how the bibles says you should not kill people. This is another way anti-abortionists say abortion is murder. Many pro-life activists use God as their reasoning as to why they do not support abortions. A blog by Frank Pavone, Priests for Lifeuses different verses in the Bible to prove many reasons toward anti-abortion. Each post uses a different excerpt from the Bible and brings it back to why they feel abortion is morally wrong.
The topic is black and white for anti-abortionists, if a woman is pregnant, they should have the baby. On this side of the argument, they understand that some women are not ready to bring a child into the world, keeping that in mind, this group also provides support to help the mother raise the child or they help them with the adoption process. Religion and Politics: USA, by Lisa Sowle Cahill, explains “The Pregnant Woman Support Act proposes to reduce abortions by promoting pregnancy assistance, adoption, and education and support for new mothers,” (Cahill 189). Cahill acknowledges the fact that women who want to abort should realize there is help for them and they don’t have abort their pregnancy. This also shows how even with alternative options to abortion some women still need them. The main belief of pro-life supporters is a mother should take care of the child until it is able to live outside of the womb, they do not necessarily have to raise the baby but having the baby is the purpose of anti-abortion activists.
Pro-Life supporters are accused of not giving enough support to pregnant women and pro-choice supporters are accused of being murderers. As of now, there is no settlement on the debate of abortion. Many states have lowered the amount of money they give to abortions and require much more legal processing before a woman can actually get an abortion. The numbers of abortions have been on the decline since the 1980s but they still occur fairly often. Approximately 3,700 abortions occur daily in the United States. Unintended pregnancies will always be an issue in America and abortion will continue to be debated. I believe that a woman should never be constricted to her choices dealing with her body. There are plenty of options for women to consider when entering pregnancy, and abortion should always remain to be one of them.

Cahill, Lisa Sowle. "RELIGION AND POLITICS: U.S.A." Theological Studies70.1 (2009): 186-91.
          DRAFTING FETAL HOMICIDE LAWS." Texas Journal of Women & the Law17.2 (2008):
          317-41. Print.

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