Abortion. Is there any other word that creates such hatred and charged emotion? The word abortion means the loss or removal of an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the mother s body (Day 7). The meaning of abortion, however, is completely different. To people who are pro-life, abortion is a vicious and murderous word dripping in blood and silent screams. To people who are pro-choice the word is just as emotional. It represents women being able to control their own thoughts, feelings, bodies, and futures. The question facing Americans today is, “Should abortions be illegal for women to obtain?” In the middle of the nineteenth century, the newly formed American Medical Association (AMA) placed restrictions abortions. This is exactly what is needed. With restrictions abortions can be performed safely and with as little pain as possible. Ending abortions is not the answer: abortions should remain a legal choice in the United States.
The government cannot have control over a woman s body. It is her body, her rights. The freedom to make choices and decisions for ourselves is the base of this country. Taking away the rights of the mother is a horrific mistake. To deny the basic freedom rights that our forefathers worked hard to obtain for America is a step backward in civilization, not forwards. Once the government can control the individual lives of people, where would the madness stop? In a few years Americans may face a number of children restriction and regress to the days when people looked to the government to see how to act and feel. No one wants another person to have ownership over his or her body.
The government cannot have jurisdiction because the fetus is not a living person. It cannot feel pain or live outside of the mother s body. Pain in a fetus starts as an electrical signal in the body s pain receptors. This signal is sent through nerve pathways to the spinal column, then to the thalamus an egg-shaped structure within the brain. Finally, the signal is transferred to the cerebral cortex where it is sensed as pain. In a fetus, the pain receptors develop around seven weeks after conception, the spino-thalamic system in about thirteen weeks, and the connections to the cortex are established at about twenty-six weeks ( Can a fetus feel pain? ). Many pro-life advocates claim the fetus can feel pain while these systems are partly formed and forming. Pro-choice advocates feel that it is necessary for the synaptic connections within the fetus brain to develop in order to feel pain. The issue is so heavily biased by a pro-life/pro-choice stance that the debators are incapable of making objective observations. A panel of experts appointed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists addressed the issue of fetal pain. The panel consisted of experts in fetal development, law and bioethics. They obtained people with both views and ideas on abortion so as to eliminate the bias that had occurred with the issue so far. The group determined that a fetus could only feel pain after the nerve connections become established between two parts of the brain: the cortex and the thalamus ( Can a fetus feel pain? ). This happens about twenty-six weeks after conception. Also before twenty-six weeks the fetus is unable to survive unless it is in the body of its mother. Therefore, the mother whom is supported and protected by the Constitution should receive the rights, not the fetus.
A common myth is that if abortion were outlawed, all of the unwanted children would be adopted. The cold hard fact is that unwanted children would cause more problems for our society. This statement is one that no one wants to hear. The idea of unwanted children scares many Americans, and thinking of what unwanted children must live through is even scarier. But however harsh it may be, it is true. It is a fact that in a perfect world every child should be a wanted child, but sadly Americans are not living in that perfect world. In 1900, in New York alone, more than 62,000 children were living in foster homes and over 129,000 child abuse and neglect cases were reported (Flanders 34). While the pro-life forces are claiming that the answer is adoption, not abortion, the reality of the situation is that all over the country children are being abused, abandoned, and neglected because no one will take care of them. In our country alone, 1.6 million abortions take place (Lowenstein 17). If the United States is facing problems now with the unwanted and abused children, think of the problems when 1.6 or more million babies are added to the picture.
Another common myth about abortions is that the only reason that they are being performed is for birth control. To choose to have an abortion is a very personal and very private decision, and no individual or institution has the right to question why a woman decides as she does. There are a number of reasons why a woman chooses to have an abortion, including health, family welfare, financial situation, and personal reasons, such as rape or incest. But no matter the reason, the decision itself is not one that is ever taken lightly. Pat Schroeder, a researcher and author in this subject, has a response to this myth: Saying that abortion is used as birth control is like saying why bother eating when you can have an IV in your arm? (Abortion Myths). Her statement illustrates the point that most women would choose, and do choose, to use contraception before undergoing any surgical procedure.
The safety of abortions if they were to become illegal is also an issue. One in every three pregnancies ends in abortion (Day 3). If abortion were to become illegal this number would not magically drop. Abortions would still be needed and thus performed. Abortions today are performed in well-lit clinics, with sterile equipment, with doctors and nurses in case of the slightest complication. Since 1973 women in the United States have been able to make their choices knowing that a safe legal abortion is available. It wasn t always that way.
Someone gave me the phone number of a person who did abortions and I made that arrangements. I borrowed about $300 from my roommate and went alone to a dirty, run-down bungalow in a dangerous neighborhood in East Los Angeles. A greasy looking man came to the door and asked for the money as soon as I walked in. He told me to take off all my clothes except my blouse; there was a towel to wrap around myself. I got up on a cold metal kitchen table. He performed a procedure, using something sharp. He didn t give me anything for the pain just did it. He said that he had packed me with some gauze, that I should expect some cramping, and that I would be fine. I left. (Abortion and Women s Health)
This was a viewpoint from Polly Bergen, discussing her illegal abortion in the 1940 s that rendered her infertile and nearly proved fatal. Making abortions illegal again would force mothers back to the dangerous days when abortions were very hush-hush and never spoken of. A doctor or unlicensed abortionist would use such methods as poison or inserting sharp objects into the uterus; performed in unbelievable conditions such as dark alleyways and upstairs attics. Even with these unsafe techniques and surroundings, the death rates for abortion was lower than those for childbirth. Safety reasons are just another reason why abortion should remain legal.
It is so important to America that abortion remains legal. One view that pro-life may feel is that pro-choice means pro-abortion. Those who are pro-choice are not necessarily saying that everyone must get an abortion. And they are certainly not saying that those who do not want abortions or feel that they are wrong, like pro-life supporters, must have abortions as well. They are merely saying that people should have the right to choose what is done to one s own body. No one can make that decision for another person, and no one should be able to!