In the United
States, pro-life and pro-choice movements are
both powerful and active. Pro-life groups have
been particularly successfully at influencing
state legislators to enact laws restricting abortion.
But as many such edicts were too broadly worded,
they've been declared unconstitutional as soon
as they went into effect. Yet, restrictions on
abortions have survived public scrutiny in some
states; consequently, abortion seekers find that
they have to visit another state where laws are
the drug RU-486 will forever change the abortion
situation in America, as doctors are now able
to prescribe abortion pills which a woman may
take at home. As such, women living in rural areas
won't have to drive long distances to abortion
clinics; nor will they have to run a gauntlet
of protesters. But at this time, compromise between
pro-life and pro-choice supporters appears to
taking the pro-life position believe that life
begins at conception; i.e., when fertilization
occurs. Some hold this belief because of their
religious faith. Their denomination teaches that
a soul enters a fertilized egg at the instant
of conception, and the cell becomes a human person
at that time because of the presence of the soul.
The concept of a soul is religious one; it cannot
be located, seen, smelled, or otherwise detected.
Others point out that shortly after conception,
a unique DNA code is formed which will remain
unchanged through the life to the fetus, and throughout
the potential life later, after birth. Although
everyone agrees that a newborn child is human,
some people feel that this transition to "personhood"
does not happen at conception. The reason being
that a fertilized egg has no limbs, no head, no
brain, no ability to hear, feel smell or taste,
no self-consciousness, and so on.
are being asked and argued over regarding this
abortion issue, because many medical problems
can occur--during and even after someone has an
abortion. Most women are unaware of these dangers;
of those who do elect to have and abortion, at
least one out of five turn out to be life threatening!
Besides being physically affected, some women
are severely scarred--emotionally and psychologically--forever.
is said that abortion is just a woman's issue,
we're forgetting that there are two people involved
in creating a child. Fathers are continually being
overlooked and disregarded in these situations;
many say that a father is not affected by the
choice a woman makes. Legally, fathers are responsible
for providing parental support for their pre-born
child, but have no legal rights if the mother
decides to abort. Many fathers have gone to court
and sued trying to stop such an operation. However,
again, according to the courts, when it comes
to abortion, a mother's rights overrides a father's
objections. Following an abortion, a father can
also be emotionally and mentally damaged as much
as a mother is. Many fathers feel completely responsible
for the death of their child and blame themselves;
they grieve deeply, even feeling worthless for
failing to stop an abortion. To say abortion is
just a woman's issue is to deny a father his rights.
In short, there are three parties involved in
a pregnancy, and each one of them is affected
by all decisions made.
But, is abortion
okay in the case of rape? Rape is a horrendous
crime, leaving a woman in a state of mental, physical,
and emotional turmoil. When a woman becomes pregnant
as the result of rape, abortion will not take
away the trauma, nightmares, or the pain. It may
even add more to them. Because of problems with
our justice system, rapists often walk free without
punishment, while the child conceived in rape
may suffer the ultimate injustice.
is no longer always seen as a blessing---but as
a curse. Parents of large families are often looked-down
upon, instead of being held in high esteem. We
now seem to place more value on getting big salaries,
driving nice cars, and living in big homes. Young
married couples nowadays wait years before starting
families because they have learned from our society
that children will take away their freedoms. So,
if a child is conceived at the wrong time--i.e.
"unplanned"- -abortion becomes a likely
option for couples who cannot see that having
children is one of life's greatest blessings.
Steven Levitt, of Stanford Law School and co-author,
John Donhue III, of the University of Chicago
have circulated an unpublished report called "Legalized
Abortion and Crime." It suggested that the
legalization of abortion might have indirectly
caused the lowering of crime rates which were
observed during the 1970's. Their reasoning was
that abortions prevented the birth of many people
who would have been born into poverty and thus
be more likely to commit crimes. They suggest
that abortion could be responsible for about half
of the drop in the crime rates since 1991. Levitt
acknowledges that this conclusion is mainly "conjecture"
and that it could "never be proven to the
degree of certainty that a scientist might demand."
Their data showed that those states that legalized
abortion prior to 1973 had their crime rates drop
sooner than other states. States with very high
rates of abortion after 1973 tended to "have
particularly high drops in crime during the 1990's."
will likely stay political, perhaps the long-term
solution is to pass a federal law that declares
abortion to be an essential health service. If
we do not have restriction against abortion, we
would be able to spend our time working on access
and funding issues, instead of fighting oppressive
laws, which is what our American friends must
do. Restrictions such as consent laws, waiting
periods, and the like are simply cruel and unnecessary
obstacles that impede a woman's ability to have
a safe, early abortion.
no question that the absence of restrictive laws
against abortion places the struggle for abortion
rights on the fast track to success. Those rights
can be compromised if the government is not fully
committed to fulfilling them. But I believe that
abolishing all laws against abortion is a crucial
first step to ensure safety and access, and to
promote social and political tolerance of abortion.