Abortion has been a known practice among women for thousands of years. It has been legal in the United States since the first settlers crossed the ocean centuries ago. There was legislation in the nineteenth century that made abortions legal in some states, but ever since the revolutionary Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade, women are given the right to decide to have an abortion or not. In recent years, abortions have become a safer way to terminate one’s pregnancy, and involve much less risk than in the past.
Women abort their fetuses for numerous reasons, including lack of money, cases of rape, and illness among other things. Medicine has developed safer ways to have an abortion, and it gives probable mothers another option when dealing with pregnancy. Abortion is morally permissible because women have the natural right to control their own bodies, and make respectful decisions for the good of themselves, their body, and their health. First off, the United States Supreme Court Case Roe vs. Wade gives rights to women on abortions.
The decision clearly outlines that “states were forbidden from outlawing or regulating any aspect of abortion performed during the first trimester of pregnancy, could only enact abortion regulations reasonably related to maternal health in the second and third trimesters, and could enact abortion laws protecting the life of the fetus only in the third trimester” (McBride). The supreme governing body of the United States gave the full right to women to decide what is best for their bodies during pregnancy. Any people who believe this is an issue need to look at the precedent set by those Supreme Court judges back in the 1970s.
To go against the ruling of the Supreme Court is going against the given autonomy of the people of the United States. It is their right to decide, and that right should not be challenged nor changed. Additionally, abortion is morally permissible because fetuses are not considered human beings while in the wound. Anti-abortionists often talk of “quickening,” which is the point they believe that the soul enters the body, and is normally the point when the woman can first feel their fetus start moving. The rough estimate for this is from 12 to 20 weeks.
This is an 8-week time span, and in the grand scheme of development of the baby, the first movement means nothing but what it actually is – the baby moving. The fetus while in the mother is nothing more than a lump of developing cells. If people believe that getting rid of a “lump of cells” is immoral then maybe medical professionals should not remove cancerous tumors from people’s bodies because that too would be immoral. During the gestational period, the baby is merely developing off the mother’s nutrients, not developing a sense of moral worth and soul.
The fetus is not autonomous, and is still reliant on the mother for survival; therefore, the mother has every right to decide what she wants to do with the fetus. If she does not have the financial stability to raise a child, she has the right to abort. If the fetus is the result of rape, she has the right to abort. If it is known that the child will have some debilitating birth defect, she has the right to abort. If the fetus was unplanned and gets in the way of work, school, or any other life plan for the mother, she has the right to abort.
It is scientifically proven that fetuses cannot feel pain while in their mothers’ stomachs so there is no issue in preforming an abortion within the time limits set forth by the government in Roe vs. Wade. Anti-abortionists often argue, “The loss of one’s life is one of the greatest losses one can suffer” (Marquis 462); however, who is to say that if every child whose mother debated abortion was born instead of aborted that the rate of infant mortality, homelessness, or child abuse would not rise.
Some mothers abort their babies because they know that they cannot provide a nurturing and caring environment for their child. As Mark Brown states, “the potential future of value of the fetus is no less dependent upon favourable external circumstances” (Brown 467). There are mothers out there who are brave enough to decide that they are not capable of caring for a child, and they should be given the utmost right to uphold that decision, and terminate their fetus. Finally, the decision to be pro-choice or anti-abortion often becomes a matter of religion.
The idea about abortion ties closely with the beliefs of the Christian religion. Our country has long had an established difference between church and state; this is a main reason why many settlers migrated to North America in the first place. They were in search of religious freedom – they wanted to choose how to live their lives according to their beliefs, not anyone else’s. To make the matter of abortion into a federal law would be going against the ideals of our founding fathers.
The First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Bill of Rights). Certain religions, like Christianity, believe that abortion is wrong, and to make abortion legal would be promoting that the United States aligns itself with the Christian religion, which is outlined as illegal in the United States Bill of Rights. Abortion is a matter of personal belief, and that belief has to be respected, because that right is given by the government.
The right is backed up politically in the Bill of Rights and in the Supreme Court. It is supported medically, through new technology that allows for abortions to be safer for the woman than ever before. Prominent ethicists support and argue for the rights of women to be able to decide for themselves. Abortion is a personal struggle that women deal with each in their own way. Some may be scared, some may keep the decision secret, and for some it may be against their religion, but for all women it is their right to choose to have one.