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Autor: anton 07 September 2010
Words: 1500 | Pages: 6
America is a land of choices and rights, a land of opportunities and freedom but where do we draw the line? On January 22, 1973 the US Supreme Court made a historic decision that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy. Before the Courtâ€™s ruling, a majority of states prohibited abortion, although most allowed an exception when pregnancy threatened the womanâ€™s life. The Court overturned these state prohibitions in Roe v. Wade. The Court ruled that states could restrict abortions only during the final three months of pregnancy, a stage when medical experts considered the fetus capable of â€œmeaningful lifeâ€ outside the womb. The abortion debate has become one of the most divisive political issues in the United States and the Pro-choice, Pro-life campaigns have dominated most of the political debates of this century.
â€œWhile Americans hold an enormous variety of opinions on the morality or propriety of abortions for particular reasons or stages of pregnancy or circumstances, a majority continues to agree that it is the individual woman and not government that should do the decidingâ€ (Doerr). Free will is the imperative word here. It is the woman who is faced with the decision, albeit under reasonable circumstances, and she is the one who has to live with the consequences and repercussions of her decisions for the rest of her life. Supporters of abortion such as the pro-choice, Planned Parenthood and other such campaigns firmly believe that under rational scenarios it is the right of the woman to decide. If a woman is denied freedom of choice, her right to be a free moral agent is compromised and seriously diminished. She thereby is reduced to second-class citizenship or worse, her right to choose surrendered to male-dominated legislative bodies, literally "Big Brother." It might be added that compelling a woman to continue a pregnancy violates the Thirteenth Amendment right to freedom from involuntary servitude.
U.S. Supreme Court s breakthrough 1973 ruling that acknowledged and recognized (not "created," as the religious right would have it) every woman's constitutional right to decide for herself whether or not to continue a problem pregnancy. Individual liberty proponents argue that the government has only protected the decision of the women and in no way has encouraged abortion. It has simply established the right of every woman to choose versus being compelled by law. The Bill of Rights doesnâ€™t explicitly state the right to â€œprivacyâ€ but numerous courts have decreed this to be a fundamental right. In case of Roe, the court ruled that the 9th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed privacy rights that were broad enough to protect a womanâ€™s choice to have an abortion. â€œIn the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the majority interrupted its lengthy discussion of abortion jurisprudence with a bold pronouncement: at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."(Levin) The court also ruled, however, that states can regulate abortion in making the 24-hour waiting period, physician counseling, and the informed-consent requirement for minors mandatory.
Most Americans across the religious and political spectra, regardless of what they might personally think of the propriety of abortions in particular cases, believe that individual women--not government, not friends or relatives, and certainly not some bishops or televangelists--should make decisions about abortion. â€œIn a poll held by the Boston Globe the pollsters posited various specific situations, and for each of them asked: ``In this case, do you think it should be legal or illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion?'' Over 80 per cent of respondents supported legal abortions in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life or physical health of the mother.â€ (Cunningham) The main argument of anti-abortionists is that the fetus has life and therefore its destruction is tantamount to the murder of a living being. â€œThis is a view with very little historical precedent, essentially a Vatican invention in the latter part of the nineteenth century. It is a view that has little religious backing, as the Jewish and Christian scriptures do not condemn abortion and, indeed, the Hebrew word for person is nefesh, which means one who breathes--that is, born.â€ (Doerr) A crucial matter that they do not accord enough importance are the consequences of prohibiting abortion namely, back-alley / coat hanger abortions and unwanted births which lead to horrific adoption cases and child abuse.
Opponents of the abortion argue that giving women the right to choose and the right to privacy doesnâ€™t make lawful the murder of an innocent child. The liberty laws also extend to the unborn child who according to them is a human too. The pro-choice argument means that we have the choice to kill a human much the same way we have a choice to smoke in a no-smoking zone or commit murder. The government regulates and decrees these to be crimes so why not abortions. We cannot and should not be able to play God and take lives. Pro-lifers want an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will give equal protection under the law, to all living humans from the time their biologic life begins at conception until natural death. Abortion is one step short of euthanasia especially and since euthanasia is considered a crime so should abortion.
One has to just see the gruesome pictures of the aborted children to realize the gross cruelty being inflicted on those who have no voice. Mothers never refer to the child in their womb as fetuses but always as their babies and therefore they should be accorded the same rights and as humans are. Legalizing abortion was supposed to help reduce child abuse, since it was assumed most abused children were unwanted at birth. But this theory has been disproved by scientific studies as well as by the evidence that child abuse has sharply increased since abortion became legal. In 1973, when abortion became legal in the United States, there were 167,000 cases of child abuse and neglect reported. Yet in 1980 there were 785,100 cases - an increase of 370% from 1973. Furthermore, in 1987, there were 2,025,200 cases reported, which represents an increase of 1112%. Researcher Emily Milling studied over 400 couples with women who had made a decision to have an abortion. Her research confirmed that 70% of their relationships ended within one month of the abortion. Sociologist Arthur Shostak found that three out of four male respondents had persistent day and night dreams about "the child that never was." Other sociologists have seen through their research, that almost every relationship between single people broke up either before or after the abortion.
One of the biggest arguments against abortion is the aftermath of abortion. Numerous studies have proven that mothers who have gone through abortion frequently regret their decision. Norma McCorvey who used the pseudonym â€˜Jane Roeâ€™ for the Supreme Court case is a firm anti-abortionist having realized that that it just isnâ€™t worth it.
In my opinion, the Supreme Court has made a constitutionally correct decision in keeping abortion legal. Abortion is justified under reasonable circumstances especially in the case of rape, incest or if the unborn child has a life-threatening disease of deformity. More importantly by upholding a womanâ€™s right to choose it has guaranteed its citizens the values with which the founding fathers wrote the constitution. Many policy makers are earnestly trying to revoke the Supreme Court ruling but these officeholders are men who will never be pregnant and will never have to be faced with this difficult choice.
â€It is a tremendously under appreciated part of the history of this issue how many just how many fully credentialed and well-respected doctors were, â€™under the tableâ€™, so to speak, providing abortion services prior to 1967 to women patients whom they knew and who could payâ€ (Garrow.) Legalizing abortion has prevented a number of horrific coat hanger cases which would have occurred, whether the court ruling existed or not. Now required abortions are performed in a safe and scientific way. I believe that all the states must strictly enforce the circumstances under which these abortions are considered legal. Freedom abused is freedom lost. Just as any other right this must not be abused, especially, since the consequences are permanent and lasting.
Cunningham, Mark. â€œWhen argument fails.â€ National Review 44.21(1992): 42 Austin
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Doerr, Edd. â€œRoe v. Wade at Thirtyâ€ Humanist 63.2 (2003): 40. Austin Community Coll.
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Garrow, David. â€œAbortion before and after Roe vs. Wade: A historical perspectiveâ€ Albany
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Levin, Yuval. â€œWhen argument fails.â€ Public Interest 151(2003): 119. Austin Community
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