Heather Rasmus Rasmus 1
Oct. 19, 2011
Argument Essay Rough Draft
Roe v Wade
The issue of abortion is a controversial one; there are arguments on both sides of the debate. In 1973 the national case of Roe v. Wade, sparked political decisions that created a national right to abortion. Further, “Roe v. Wade declared that unborn children are not persons nor are they entitled to the same constitutional protection as born children” (Baird, Rosenbaum, 2001). However, Roe v. Wade did not end the debate, nor, did it stop both sides for continuing the fight for their individual beliefs. On the one hand, pro-choice believe that woman are entitled to have abortions. Stating that an unborn child is under the rights of the pregnant women. On the other hand, pro-lifers believe that a woman should not have the right to obtain an abortion, stating that an unborn child is a human deserving the same constitutional rights as a child that has been born. The political goal most frequently mentioned by pro-lifers has been a Human Life Amendment (HLA) to thus, reverse Roe v. Wade. The HLA would declare unborn children to be “persons” deserving equal protection under the Constitution. From an ethical standpoint, one can take either side, for not only these reasons but also many more that we will further explore. I
personally think that abortion is a decision that can only be made by the person in question, and not between that person and the government or an HLA. We well first look at the overall argument of the pro-choice side. After which, we will delve into the overall argument of the pro-life side. Further, we will look at the current controversy sounding partial birth abortion. Finally, we will look at the idea of illegal abortions, to see what the outcome of banning abortion may be like thus, debunking the myths that are often surround the time before abortion was legalized.
One major point that is raised by pro-choice advocates is if abortion is made illegal an influx of poor under privileged children will occur. Going further pro-choice advocates question what will become of these unwanted children, while also noting that these unwanted children will inevitably cause overpopulation, a series of abused unhappy children, and an increase in poverty. Further, pro-choice advocates state, an unborn child is not a full human and is simply a collection of undeveloped tissues. The notion of unborn children being simply a collection of undeveloped tissues is of great importance, as it is the foreground for much of the debate surrounding abortion. Form the pro-choice side one may conclude, “An embryo is a potential human being. It can be, granted the womans choice, and develop into an infant. But what it actually is during the first trimester is a mass of relatively undifferentiated cells that exist as a part of a womans body. If we consider what it is rather than what it might become, we must know that the embryo under three months is something far more primitive than a frog or a fish. To compare it to an infant is ludicrous” (Peikoff, 2003).
Another major point coming for the pro-choice advocates is what would be the solution for women who have been raped, are carrying baby that are the products of incest, or have disabling diseases. Further, if abortion were found to be illegal then women would revert back to illegal abortions performed by doctors with questionable ethics. The overall point of the pro-choice argument is that an unborn baby is not yet a human being. Thus, if a woman wants an abortion for whatever reason whether she has been raped, having sex with direct kin, or is simply poor, she should have the opportunity to terminate her pregnancy.
In contrast to the pro-choice supporters there are the anti-abortion advocates who believe that an abortion is wrong and should be banned. To combat the notion of an influx of unwanted children leading to overpopulation the anti-abortion advocates argue abortion done in the context where the child would be unwanted, is usually due to a lack of resources by the mother. A lack of resources may include money, healthcare, or housing. Moreover, this lack of resource will not deplete with onslaught of an abortion. As to say, if a women in poverty and is pregnant having an abortion will not stop her poverty. While this may seem convoluted it does rings true. Poor women who are pregnant and also lack education and monetary security are told that abortion is the best why out. While it may stop further poverty for the women, it stops the potential life of a child, which could have been supported. Thus, blaming the government for not having programs to support women in situation where poverty is the major problem or deciding fact. Thus, anti-abortion advocates state that poverty is not the problem in this situation but
rather a problem of national development. This argument for government-funded programs also supports the augment that overpopulation is not the problem, but rather a lack of development. Moving forward, to combat the issue of unborn children being simply a collection of undeveloped issue, anti-abortion advocates state that, at the moment of fertilization an unborn child is a new life, thus deserving equally rights under the law. In addition, anti-abortionist argue, that by the time an abortion is conducted the baby has a betting hart, thus a full human. Moreover, the argument of what happens to women who have been raped, or are carrying children that are products of incest would be, “women who found support to carry their children to term and keep them feel that they have turned something negative into something positive. However, the major factor in this situation is support for victims, the mother and the child”(Alcorn, 2000). Within both arguments, pro-choice and anti- abortion, there are good points. However, the decision to support either side is up to the individual person.
While we have taking a brief look at the overall arguments for both sides of the general abortion issue, we will now look at the current issue of partial birth abortion. In recent months the procedure of partial birth abortion has become illegal. However, the term partial birth abortion is non-medical and refers to a procedure call D&X. D&X is used in late term abortion, “the procedure is usually performed during the fifth month of gestation or later” (Robinson, 1996).
“The number of D&X abortions performed annually in the United States is estimated at
2,200 to 5,000, out of 1. 3 million total abortions. The American Medical Association does not encourage the use of D&X, but says: it should not be banned. The College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says alternatives to D&E usually exist, but in some circumstances it may be the only solution” (Eilperin, 2003).
The Procedure is usually done only in extreme cases, where the life of the mother or the unborn child is at risk. Furthermore, as outlined in a recent issue of the New York Times, the term partial birth abortion and the argument by pro-lifer advocates were created to make it seem as though the procedure is easy to obtained and used frequently. This is of coarse untrue, D&X abortions only account for about 5% of completed abortions in America. Furthermore, the argument held by the pro-choice is with passing legislation such as the law against D&X procedures, is a conscious move toward making abortion illegal altogether.
Finally, to look at the common argument that if abortion is banned women will revert back to having illegal abortions (known as back alley abortions). In the U.S. before the legalization of abortion many women were forced to employ alternate methods of obtaining abortions. Many women did not have the means to have the safest type of illegal abortion, thus restoring to unskilled doctors using barbaric methods. While there were women who had money and could go overseas or pay skilled doctors in the U.S., the majority of women found it nearly impossible to arrange and pay for safe abortions. This notion of the majority having unsafe abortions is a claim that the pro-choice side has clung to as support for why abortion should not
be banned. However, Dr. Frank Beckwith who is the associate professor of Philosophy, Culture, and Law points out “those horror stories of back alley abortions are just ridiculous”(1990). In his article answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights he notes “it is misleading to say that pre-Roe illegal abortions were performed by back-alley butchers with rusty coat” (1990). Physicians in good medical standing did 90% of all illegal abortions (Tribe, 1990). With this inline one can see that if abortion was banned it would not stop women from having the procedure. As to say, looking at illegal abortion in general one can see that the procedure will never be stopped. Women should be given the right to choose from a group of licensed doctors working under legal circumstances.
We have seen the general argument for both pro-lifers and pro-choice, noting that both sides have valid arguments for their views. Our exploration of D&X or partial birth abortion render that the procedure has been deemed illegal, which is a victory for the pro-life advocates. After looking at both sides of the debated, in regards to many of the controversial issues one can choose either side, pro-choice or pro-life. I find that the choice should be up the women and not up to the government.
Alcorn, R. (2000). Prolife answers to prochoice arguments. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Banird, B., Rosenbaum (Ed.). (2001). The Ethics of abortion. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.
Eilperin, Juliet. (2003). Good times for abortion foes. The Washington Post June 8, 2003: 2
Franci, B. J. (1990). Answering arguments for abortion rights. Christian research Journal (fall p.20). Elliot Miller, Editor-in-Chief.
Frank Talk About Abortion. (November 30, 2003). [Editorial.] The New York Times Company. Retrieved Dec. 2, 2003. www.nytimes.com
Peikoff, L. (2003). Abortion Rights are Pro-Life. Retrieved Nov. 29, 2003, from www.capmag.com/article.asp”ID=2404
Robinson, B.A. (1996). D & X / PBA procedures. Retrieved Nov 29, 2003, from www.religioustolerance.org
Tribe, L. (1990). Abortion the clash of absolutes. New York, : Norton & Company.