A couple decades ago, when abortion was illegal, thousands of women died because they did not want to bear an infant and attempted to terminate the child’s life by themselves or with an unprofessional approach. After 1973’s Supreme Court decision, which allowed women to have the choice to abortion, thousands of women were saved. Abortion can save thousands of lives of women and thus, should remain legal in the United States.
Imagine you have a balance beam. On one side you have the physical life of an infant and on the other you have the mental and emotional life of a mother and her unwanted child. Which side can we, as civil humans, claim as more valuable? Up to this current day, abortion has become an exigent issue that faces everyone nationwide. As a moral and ethical issue, abortion is a dilemma for society. Abortion was illegal before the 1973 Supreme Court decision in the trial of Roe v. Wade, but now that abortion is legitimate, women have the freedom and the choice to live their life the way they want to. Albeit, abortion is criticized by religious sects in America and some of the public, the practice of abortion should remain legal in the U.S. because it allows a woman to choose her destiny and prevents unwanted children.
Definitions are essential to define in this issue. Abortion is the forcible removal of a developing baby from the womb of his or her mother, using surgical, mechanical, or chemical means. Medical definition holds that abortion is any termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks. Medically defined, abortion is the “end of a pregnancy before viability.” Therapeutic abortion is the termination of pregnancy via the intervention of a physician through surgery or the use of RU-486 or some other medications. Conception is a synonym for fertilization or creation. An embryo is a stage of prenatal mammalian development which extends from 2 to 8 weeks. Fertilization is the penetration of an ovum by a single sperm. A fetus is a stage of prenatal mammalian development which extends from 9 weeks after fertilization. Miscarriage is the interruption of pregnancy prior to the 7th month, usually used to refer to an expulsion of the fetus which starts without being induced by medical intervention. About a quarter of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage. An ovum is the mature sex cell generated by females in an ovary. Trimester is a period lasting nominally 3 months. A human pregnancy is often divided into three trimesters, from fertilization from birth.
From a historical perspective, the purpose of abortion has been undoubtedly to act as a life saver for both child and mother. In the two decades before abortion was legal in America, it’s been estimated that about one million women per year underwent illegal abortions. In the process, thousands of American women died and thousands more were maimed. Whenever a society outlaws abortions, it induces the women to seek abortions in the back alleys where they become deleterious, exorbitant, and tarnishing. Thus, to protect the woman’s life, we must keep abortion legal in America. According to abortion statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, about 15,000 women have had abortions each year because they become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Fortunately, the nation’s leaders were able to stop this butchery of women. In Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973, stated that a woman and her doctor may freely decide to abort a pregnancy during the first trimester, state governments can restrict abortion access after the first trimester with laws intended to protect the woman’s health, and abortion after fetal viability must be available if the woman’s health or life are at risk. In other situations, state governments have the right to prohibit abortions. Abortion, thereby, became authorized in the United States of America because the court decided to preserve the right to choose an abortion as a constitutionally protected liberty.
It is possible for one to be supportive of abortion on a political level, but against abortion on a personal level. Although many individuals say this notion is contradictory, different people evidently have different morals and values based on religion, from parents, friends, family, experience, and knowledge. Even though most Americans would believe that, for example, murder is wrong, a range of values exists for Americans to believe. The disparities between these values create challenges for a government in modern society.
As a political issue in a pluralistic society, abortion does appear to be a dilemma for the government. The question is, “How does a federal government formulate a law that benefits the whole society best?” Political compromise, the usual mode of settling disagreements in a pluralistic society, is not a satisfactory method for resolving deep moral controversy. In the case of abortion, however, the United States government should undoubtedly play an autocratic role in dictating what morals to promote. Since Judeo-Christianity principles form the foundation of Americans, American government is likely to incorporate Judeo-Christian values, as well as other values, into its decisions about abortion. The question still remains: Whose morals are Americans supposed to follow? Obviously, no one can dictate morals and, if the American government authorizes certain morals, it is likely that individuals would rebel against the “tyrannical” system.
Our nation is polarized over the political, legal, and moral status of abortion. The two sides of abortion include, “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the government has no right to interfere. A pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. This moral incongruity is the problem that must be resolved. Many opponents of abortion, who believe that a right to life outweighs a right to choose, are, nevertheless, prepared to grant exceptions in the case of pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. Many anti-abortionists are constantly arguing against the issue of “murder.” They state that murder itself is wrong and ask, “How can one throw away GOD’s gift of life?” It’s quite ironic : Aren’t they murdering doctors and patients, therefore, throwing away GOD’s gift of life too? Six in seven large-scale abortion clinics (where 88% of all abortions take place) are the targets of antiabortion harassment and since 1977, 110 abortion clinics have been bombed or burned in this country. Apparently, they are just as culpable as the women and the doctors that seek out abortions.
Some of the pro-life activists base their ideas of morality entirely on the current teaching of the Church. Others bolster their opinion with a scientific reasons. Dr. Jack Willke (Reich 9), President of the National Right to Life Committee, considers the embryo to be a human being from the moment of conception. His definition of “human being” depends upon the forty-six chromosomes first present in the fertilized ovum, or known as the zygote. “Contained within the single cell who I once was,” he says, “was the totality of everything I am today.” If Dr. Jack Willke (Reich 12) defines “human being” as the fourty-six chromosomes that were present in the the zygote, then what does he define as “murder?” For example, we eat meat such as cattle. Doesn’t the cattle we eat come from a genetic makeup of chromosomes, just like the human body? Is it okay to murder an animal’s “chromosome” life while we relentlessly strive to preserve a human soul? It seems as if he’s labeling the human life as more valuable than any other life. The truth is, we all are living and if we try to save one life, then we also have to save another. According to Randall Terry, leader of the militant pro-life group Operation Rescue (Podell 276), says “science confirms” abortion is murder because “at conception, each of us is unique. The fact that I’m a 6-foot-1 inch male with blue eyes was included in that once-celled person I used to be.” Again, this is a contradiction. If it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg, is it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg? Is it not true that each living sperm and egg are distinguishable from each other, thus, making it unique? If Mr. Terry’s argument that abortion is murder because “at conception, each of us is unique,” then, isn’t every sperm produced during masturbation unique and therefore a mass murder? And when women menstruate each month, has someone died? It is obvious that the anti-abortionist argument is groundless and unsubstantiated. If anti-abortionists can not deliver a rational argument, then abortion in America should remain as an alternative from which women can choose. ***help***
Abortion is not as harmful as its opponents claim it to be. Instead of viewing abortion as “murder,” society as a whole must consider abortion as a necessary alternative. Abortion can save a woman’s life, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In today’s society, the following reasons clearly impact the abortion dilemma. First, the definition of “life” the anti-abortionists provide us with is self-contradictory. Second, abortions are safer than ever in the past. Third, abortions help society avoid the challenges caused by unwanted children. Fourth, abortions benefit the mother’s emotional life. Finally, abortion has its consent from the Bible. Therefore, abortion in the United States of America should remain legal.
The anti-abortionist argument can be very well refuted because many professionals say that the “biological” or “life” argument the anti-abortionists use is wrong. According to embryologist Charles Gardner (Podell 64), “the Ã”biological’ argument that a human being is created at fertilization contradicts all that we have learned in the past few decades.” Another embryologist, C. R., Austin notes (Kamm 212), “fertilization does not confer genetic uniqueness — this is achieved as a consequence of the first meiotic division, which takes place just before ovulation.” Although necessary DNA unequivocally exists for the first time at conception, C. R. Austin informs us that (Kamm 231), “the information required to make an eye or finger does not exist in the fertilized egg. It exists in the positions and interactions of cells and molecules that will be formed only at a later time.” Besides, if anti-abortionists are claiming that ensoulment takes place at conception, then what happens when twins are born? They grow from the same zygote, have identical DNA, and develop in the same maternal environment. So must one of every pair of identical twins lack a soul? To return for a moment to the question of “ensoulment” : If ensoulment were to occur at conception, there is a dilemma of one human possessing two souls. On the whole, the zygote is clearly not a prepackaged human being. There is no body plan, no blueprint, and no lilliputian entity waiting to mature. Since it is quite obvious that the anti-abortionist does not have a feasible argument or if he or she does, it can be very well confuted. Therefore, the practice of abortion should remain legal in America.
Due to the technological advances in human society, abortion today is remarkably safe and reliable. As a matter of fact, abortion today is about twice as safe as having your tonsils out and is safer than childbirth. Furthermore, abortion is eleven times safer than giving birth up to the 18th week of pregnancy. Complications can occur with any kind of medical procedure. Fewer than five out of 1000 women having an early abortion will suffer serious complications. Until the late 1980’s, the only available methods for performing abortion were surgical, requiring instruments to remove the products of conception from the uterus. In this decade, the introduction of a new medical abortifacient, such as RU-486, added some new features in the debate. Unlike vacuum aspiration or curettage, RU-486 does not involve insertion of instruments into the uterus and thus poses no risk of accidental perforation and infection from unclean instruments. Furthermore, it does not require the same degree of technical skills as the surgical techniques used to terminate pregnancy. So, in this respect, a prescriptive method of abortion poses less risk to women than previous alternatives. With the development of mifepristone, known as RU-486 or the “abortion pill,” abortion has become innocuous and reliable. This product works 95.5% of the time when taken within the first seven weeks of pregnancy. According to abortion statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 33% of obstetricians/gynecologists who do not perform surgical abortions say they would prescribe RU-486. In addition to the reduction of risk for pregnant women, it is easier for women to use.Women who have religious reasons for avoiding or restricting termination of pregnancy may use RU-486 after fertilization has occurred but before implantation of the embryo. Clearly, abortion is not detrimental to the health of the mother.
A woman who is forced to carry out an unwanted pregnancy is at risk. She has a greater possibility of depression and of being physically abused because she is less likely to seek early prenatal care and is more likely to use such harmful substances as tobacco and alcohol. Also, her relationship with a partner is at greater risk of dissolution. Furthermore, the mother and her partner are more likely to suffer through economic distress and fail to raise the child successfully.
Women are often forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term; the result is unwanted children. Abortion should remain legal because it may destine an unwanted child to live a dreadful life. Everyone knows they are among society’s most tragic cases, often uncared for, unloved, brutalized, and abandoned. When these children grow up, they live disadvantaged lives and could possibly live a life inclined towards brutal behavior to others. This is not good for the family, the children, and the nation. Why should a child who is not wanted and loved be brought into this world? The life of an unwanted child is not fulfilling. First, the child of an unwanted conception tends to be at a greater risk of being born at low birth weight, dying in the first year of life, and lacking sufficient nutritional resources for a healthy development (Luunneborg 138). Second, an unwanted pregnancy seems to cause impairment of social development and psychological health. An ongoing study comparing persons born as a result of an unwanted pregnancy to persons born from a wanted pregnancy revealed significant differences in matched controls between the two groups on six of ten psychological adaptation measures. It was also found that these negative developmental effects persisted even almost thirty years later. If such symptoms persist for over decades, then why in the first place should we even let this happen? We can stop this. All we need to do is to let abortion remain legal. (note : see appendix if you decide to have a child)
Many anti-abortionists use the Bible to support their dogma that abortion is wrong, yet the Bible clearly states that unwanted children are problematic in society. If an unwanted child is to be born from a mother who wished to have an abortion, then the life of that child would have no meaning and purpose. Unloved and uncared for, the child would live a life of anguish and woe. In the chapter of Ecclesiastes 6:3-5, it states that,
“If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, Ã”Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he.'”
According to the verse King Solomon has stated above, the life of a newborn fetus is less valuable than a man who has a satisfying life. King Solomon makes the point that much of life is futile. Over and over he wrote that if life is pleasing, then we should be thankful. But when life is not gratifying, he says that it is sometimes better to end a pregnancy prematurely than to allow it to continue into a miserable life. It is not saying that we shouldn’t bring new life into this world, but rather it is asserting that a miserable life is no life at all. Thus, abortion should be available to women who do not want to bring a derelict life into the world.
The Bible deals specifically with the act of causing a woman to abort a pregnancy. According to Exodus 21:22-25,
“If men strive and hurt a woman with a child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
A woman has lost her child by being stuck between men who are fighting. Rather than it being a capital offense, however, it is relegated to a civil matter. But if the woman is murdered, then the men who killed her shall be punished. Some state that the life for a life part is talking about about the baby. But from the context above, it is not true. When it says “tooth for tooth” and “burn for burn,” it is quite evident that this is referring to the woman because the baby does not have teeth when they’re born and are unlikely to be burned at birth. Therefore, if the fetus is lost, it is not considered murder. The man responsible for the death of the infant is punished because of the baby’s future potential value. But if the woman is murdered, it is considered a more serious crime and is punishable by death. Finally, according to Ecclesiastes 4:1-3,
“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun : and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressor there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.”
When quality of life is at stake, ending a painful life or ending what will be a painful existence is preferable. The quality of life is as important, if not more important, than the act of being born. Rather than a life that is destined to live a deplorable one, it is better for that life not to live one at all. It shouldn’t have to suffer and have to endure such pain and tribulation. Thus, it is obvious that the Bible supports ending a pregnancy that is destined to bring an unwanted, unloved, and dire life.
Although abortion is most often criticized by religious sects in America, the practice of abortion should remain LEGAL in the U.S. because it allows a woman to choose her destiny and prevents unwanted children. There are many reasons why abortion should remain legal in order to preserve the life of the mother and prevent an unwanted one : First of all, anti-abortionists arguments have no ground and are not satisfying enough. Their arguments of “life” are contrary to what they do. If they try to save a human life, then they must save a life of any other living organism. Yet, they do not do that, so their argument is a contradiction. Second, abortion today has not only been safe, at the alarming rate technology improves, women today are more likely to live healthy lives. Technological breakthroughs, like the RU-486 abortion pill, has allowed abortion to be safer than it was in the past. Third, every life that is brought into this world should be a wanted one. If women are forced to carry out unwanted pregnancies, it only becomes a problem to the family, child, mother, and American society. Finally, the Bible clearly supports abortion. Ever since Judeo-Christianity was introduced to man, man had morals : these morals helped man distinguish what was right from wrong. America was built on morals based on Judeo-Christianity; thus, we were all created equal. America is a country where everyone has the same rights. And one right, regarding bearing children, effect women. But for the anti-abortionists, who will hopefully be a little less narrow-minded and a little more compassionate, perhaps the argument provided in this thesis can help to provide a bridge or two across the gap between “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” Every woman deserves a right to choose an abortion.