Legality of Abortion Abortion must be a legal and attainable procedure for women throughout the United States. Abortion is a subject which easily fits into the themes of CORE 1. Abortion pertains to many issues which are involved in CORE 1. CORE 1 analyzes civil rights as well as equal treatment for women in America. Abortion challenges the civil rights of the mother and the fetus which she bears.
To deny abortion is denying the mother certain civil rights, but if the fetus is considered a person, then the rights of the fetus are being denied by allowing abortion to be legal. Abortion has been an element of human life for centuries. It dates back to BC times. Ancient abortions usually consisted of mildly poisoning a pregnant mother. The poison was hoped to be just strong enough to kill the fetus, yet mild enough to keep the woman alive. Also, sometimes women would receive physical blows to their abdomen an effort to kill the fetus.
Since both of these methods were very dangerous for women, infanticide was a much more popular form of abortion. Infanticide is grossly just the killing of the baby directly after birth (3 Gilbert). J. Gilbert, the author of an informative Texas state web-page, states that some time after 1750, a new procedure was introduced to abortion. The new procedure consisted of probing objects through the cervix and into the uterus of the women to accomplish the abortion (4 Gilbert). Laurence Tribe, author of Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, states that the court case Roe v.
Wade revolutionized the legality of abortion. The case set boundaries and regulations illustrating how much power the mother and state possess in deciding whether to abort a pregnancy (12 Tribe). During the past twenty-five years abortion has become one of the most debated controversies in the Unite States’ history. The issues surrounding abortion strike questions based on ethics, morals, emotions, and law. There are many alternative perspectives from which people can approach the legality and morality of abortion.
But basically there are pro-life people and pro-choice people. People who are pro-choice believe that women hold the right to abort a pregnancy, but people who are pro-life believe that abortion is wrong and unjust to the fetus. When pondering issues surrounding abortion, many questions come to mind. Is a fetus a human being? Is abortion physically and mentally safe for women? And finally, should abortion be legal? It is only after exploring these questions can a person justify their position on abortion. A major question which strikes at the heart of abortion legality and morality is: When is an embryo considered a life or human being? Many people argue that life begins at the point of conception. Bonnie Steinbock, an author who considers herself an expert on fetuses and their legal rights, says, “Conception is the joining of the male and female sex cells which have twenty-three chromosomes each.” The process of conception takes twelve hours, at which time the egg is completely fertilized and becomes known as a zygote. Distinct and unique characteristics of a person are determined at the time of conception.
After the time of conception, until death, nothing will be added or removed from the genetic make-up of an individual (200 Steinbock). In other words, everything physically and chemically is determined shortly after the point of conception. Being alive means that an object grows, develops, and matures. A zygote, from the time of conception grows, develops parts of its body, and replaces its own dying cells. The heart of the zygote begins beating just eighteen days after conception (198 Steinbock). This is often well before the mother even realizes that she is pregnant.
After three months, all of the fetus’s organs are formed and all of the bodily systems are working. The fetus can swim, grasp a pointer, move freely in the womb, and excrete urine. If a doctor injects a sweet solution into the fluid surrounding the fetus, the fetus will swallow it because it likes the taste. If a bitter solution is injected, the fetus will realize the taste and quit swallowing (196 Steinbock). The previous examples are evidence enough that life begins at conception, or at the time the fetus’s heart begins to beat. Others believe that the life of the fetus is just merely the life of the woman until the fetus is born.
Those people who believe that life does not start until birth believe that, without the life-style and habits of the mother, the fetus would not survive. In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled over a case called Roe v. Wade. This case described the legality of a fetus and the conditions which apply to the mothers rights as well. The ruling stated that the fetus is merely a living appendage of the mother until the completion of the second trimester.
But once the third trimester begins, the fetus gains civil rights which guarantee life, liberty, and property. A woman can only abort a fetus in the third trimester if it poses a direct threat to the health and well being of the woman (189 Tribe). In conclusion, the Roe v. Wade case developed the needed boundaries to determine the legal rights of the mother and fetus. Is abortion physically and mentally safe for the mother? Do the advantages of abortion outweigh the disadvantages? Ft.
John L. Grady, medical examiner for the Florida State Attorney’s office, says, “I believe it can be stated with certainty that abortion causes more deep-seated guilt, depression, and mental illness then it ever cures” (38 Novak). Grady is drawing upon his years of experience as a medical examiner and concludes that when a woman aborts a fetus, she is causing more pain and problems mentally and socially than if she bears the child. This mental anguish and guilt may be only half of the problem women face though. Women who receive abortions also may have physical problems as well. Women who have an abortion in the third trimester are at a greater risk of becoming sterile than women who bear their child (157 Steinbock).
Women realize these consequences, but they still believe that an abortion’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages. These women may face years of depression, guilt, and physical damage, but they still freely choose to abort their pregnancy. Should abortion be legal? According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1973 on the Roe v. Wade case, abortion must be legal (82 Tribe). If the fetus is considered an appendage to the woman who bears it, the fourteenth amendment must hold true for women. Thus, women are given the right to receive an abortion (82 Tribe). The amendment states that, “No person or state may deprive a person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law” (475 US Constitution).
This states that the woman cannot be denied an abortion because it would violate her life and property. The state cannot interfere with the private lives of US citizens (475 US Constitution). Denying women the right to choose an abortion, is denying rights and is discriminating against women. There are many reasons for which women desire to have an abortion. Contraceptives sometimes fail.
Women are periodically raped and impregnated by corrupt and deranged men. Demented fathers may also rape their daughters which is called incest. For these reasons alone abortion must be legal. These unfair and undesirable pregnancies can prevent women from keeping jobs, feeding their families, and from creating a favorable life-style for themselves. Pregnancy and child birth may determine and greatly influence whether or not a woman can begin or finish her education leading to a successful and gratifying career. In conclusion, abortion must be legal because women should not have to sacrifice their lives at the hand of a failed contraceptive or a terrible rape.
Women should not be forced to submit themselves to a life of hardships because of an unwanted pregnancy. To do so would be discrimination. But, there are still other people who believe that abortion should be illegal. Some people say that abortion should not be legal because it is murder. Some people interpret the fourteenth amendment differently. They believe that the life and …