Abortion Essay Example: I Have a Right to My Body


I am not someone who voices my opinion a lot. I do not like conflict, and I usually try to avoid it at all costs (which usually does not end up well for me but that is another problem). This though, is something I have no regrets for speaking my mind about. I am talking in regards to my right to my body and every other woman in America’s right to her body. I am talking about being able to make decisions for ourselves about our own body and life. By voting on the right to a woman’s body as well as being able to make decisions for her own well-being is absurd, and in the event of another person having an opinion on someone’s life, then they should be well-informed. They should be informed on the countless women in America who undergo unsafe abortions and suffer life-long consequences. They should be informed that a person has one thing in life: their mind and body, and that your new law directly affects the stability and health of both of those. They should be informed of the consequences that could occur with this law passing.

A Right for Abortion

Ignoring the fact that you are taking the right from a woman to make a choice in regards to her own life, there are many problems with you restricting the right for a woman to have an abortion. Restricting a woman’s right to a safe, effective abortion will not stop a woman from getting rid of the fetus. She will find a way, and that way is usually dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. She may perform an at-home abortion, or find an unlicensed doctor to perform an illegal and harmful procedure. Just because something is banned, does not mean that all people automatically stop doing it. With legal abortion, the procedures have the ability to be controlled and regulated and there can be restrictions on when as well as how abortions are performed.

The severe psychological damage a woman can have from forcing her to have a child she does not want is another problem with restricting abortion. Forcing a woman to carry a child she does not want for nine months can have a lasting impact on a woman. Her life is turned completely upside down as she now has to mold her life around that of a baby she never wanted. This can cause depression as well as other mental health problems. Not to mention the psychological strain she will be under no matter what she does with the baby after nine months, whether that be keeping it or putting it up for adoption. Keeping a baby would completely alter a woman’s life, and giving a child up for adoption has many problems as well. Adoption has the ability to cause problems with the child as they grow, believing that they are unwanted. 

An Argument Opposed to Abortion

A strong argument people opposed to abortion have is that abortion kills a baby. They believe that the fetus inside the woman is a life, and that abortion is murder. In response to this belief, I urge you to consider two things. One, that the fetus inside the woman is a ball of cells, and not a life. This fetus is not capable of existing as its own sentient being, and cannot live on its own or feel pain in its early stages. A ball of cells is not a human being, and therefore abortion would not be committing murder. The second thing I urge you to consider is the idea that by passing laws restricting abortion, you are valuing the “life” of a fetus more than that of a living, breathing, feeling woman.

You are valuing the “life” of the fetus more than that of an already existing woman. I believe that by placing the “life” of the fetus over that of the woman’s, you are advertising a thought process in which a grown woman is less of a priority than a ball of cells. The center of the abortion argument is the debate on when life begins. If one can determine when life begins, then one can determine if abortion is murder or not. There are many discussions on when life begins, with 59% of people who identify as pro-life believing life begins at fertilization whereas only 23% of people who identify as pro-choice believe this. Those who identify as pro-choice are more likely (86%) than those who identify as pro-life (81%) to believe that there is a hierarchy of rights.

Those who identify as pro-life (89%) believe that the right to life is more important than the right to liberty (Jacobs), a key idea to the abortion debate. Many people utilize their religious, philosophical, moral, and knowledgeable beliefs to determine when life begins. This includes fertilization, when a heartbeat is detected, when a fetus can feel pain, and when a fetus is viable. The Supreme Court ruled that a fetus [is] "at most... only the potentiality of life” (Kubak), meaning that when most women receive an abortion, the fetus has the potential for life, and is not actually alive. The woman’s right to life is a higher priority than that of the fetus, a ruling that many are still fighting today. 

Roe v. Wade Case

Roe v. Wade was a groundbreaking case in legal history. This legal case was a turning point for women’s rights, and impacted many legal decisions made today. The Supreme Court “held that the right to personal privacy, guaranteed by the Constitution, included a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy via abortion” (Kubak). This highly anticipated ruling helped women then, and it helps women now. By restricting a woman’s right to her abortion, the legal system is taking away a right given to all people. Through pushing for new legislation to restrict a woman and threatening to take away her rights, the legislature has directly undermined a legal ruling already in place.  

The decision to abort a fetus is not taken lightly. It is a decision that has many steps to it, some requiring the input from others. For instance, if a minor were to get pregnant and want an abortion, she is required to get consent from one or both parents. If her parents say no, then the minor can petition her local court. In one of these hearings, a judge rules if a minor is mature enough to decide if she should get an abortion or not. Ironically, in the event of the minor not being mature, then “the immature minor now proceeds on to motherhood” (Sanger). The minor is now forced to carry a child to term and raise this child (or undertake the emotional process of putting her child up for adoption). The minor is having to deal with the consequences of her actions, leading to a society where having a child is a punishment.

Many people who identify as pro-life criticize those who identify as pro-choice by saying that they are murderers and by supporting abortion, they are supporting the murder of babies. This ties into the debate about when life begins, and for many pro-lifers, this is at fertilization. Many pro-choice people believe that life begins at viability. States impose many restrictions on abortion based on when their lawmakers believe life begins. “Seventeen states prohibit abortion post-viability and two states prohibit abortion in the third trimester. Twenty-four states impose prohibitions on abortions even earlier in pregnancy. Seventeen state legislatures have passed or introduced bills that ban abortions at twenty weeks based on purported evidence of fetal pain” (Kubak). Women are not walking into clinics at twenty-five weeks pregnant, suddenly deciding that they want an abortion and that they do not want the baby anymore. Most abortions are performed within the first trimester, with women only receiving abortions later into the pregnancy for severe health reasons. By restricting abortions performed later in the pregnancy, the government is directly impacting the health and safety of a woman.

I just ask you to consider the consequences of making abortion illegal. By making abortion illegal and/or making it nearly impossible to get one, you affect women everywhere negatively. I urge you to do right and visualize this argument from the perspective of a woman, and think about how it would feel to have no say over your own body.

Works Cited

Jacobs, Steven A. Balancing Abortion Rights and Fetal Rights: A Mixed Methods Mediation of the U.S. Abortion Debate, The University of Chicago, Ann Arbor, 2019. ProQuest, http://pitt.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/2276919012?accountid=14709.

Kubak, Katherine, et al. "ABORTION." Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, vol. 20, no. 2, 2019, p. 265+. Gale OneFile: LegalTrac, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A584979734/LT?u=upitt_main&sid=LT&xid=8b17b237. Accessed 29 Sept. 2019.

Sanger, Carol. “Talking About Abortion.” Social & Legal Studies, vol. 25, no. 6, Dec. 2016, pp. 651–666, doi:10.1177/0964663916668250.

 

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