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Abortion – It’s Still Legal, Why Change It?

Audience: People who are against abortion or who do not know the facts about abortion.
Abortion. The word is on the mind of pro-life people who scream that it is murder and on the mind of pro-choice people who scream for women’s rights. The fact

is that abortion has been around since ancient times, and even if it is made illegal, it will continue to be around. In earlier times, women found ways such as different herbs and procedures to get rid of an unwanted child. There is no way to stop a woman who does not wish to keep her baby, even by making abortion illegal. Women have and always will be creatures of determination. The reasons abortion should be kept legal are simple: first, women have the right to choose what to do with their body; second, if a woman does wish to have an abortion, she should be able to get one in safe conditions, and lastly; no one is really sure if the fetus is considered a human being or not. For these reasons, along with many others, abortions should not be made illegal.

One reason abortions should not be made illegal is that women have and always will have a right to choose. Their body is their own and no one should tell women what to do with it. This means that women must fight for their rights, their right to privacy as well as their reproductive rights. One pro-choice person says this, “as Americans, we have made much progress in preserving the rights of women to make their own reproductive decisions. But pro-choice Americans still must fight to protect this most cherished freedom” (Ritter A11). This “cherished freedom” that Ritter is talking about is not only reproductive rights but our right to privacy. As Carrier states, “courts have upheld the legality of abortion based largely based on the defense of privacy” (1). If women choose to have an abortion, it is exactly that, their choice. They make that choice in private and it should stay there. No one, not the government, not their husband, not their boyfriend should take away rights that women have gained through the years.

Another reason women should have the right to decide to have an abortion is because if a woman does not want to continue a pregnancy (for whatever reason), she should have the freedom to end it, safely and easily. In 1973, the Supreme Court made it legal for women to have safe and legal abortions in the case Roe v. Wade (Keown 1). If this decision is overturned and abortion is made illegal, women will find other ways of ending an unplanned pregnancy. For example, if abortion is made illegal, women may opt to get a back-alley abortion. Back-alley abortions are dangerous procedures that would most likely put the woman’s life in danger. If women do not have a safe, secure place to receive an abortion, they may resort to these so-called back-alley abortions (Ellington). No one can say for sure if they will or not but the fact remains: women who have an unplanned pregnancy will do whatever it takes to make her life normal again. When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, if she does not wish to keep the baby she should not have to resort to extreme measures to get an abortion.

Another reason to keep abortion illegal is no one, not even doctors or lawmakers can decide when a fetus actually becomes a human being. In all reality, fetuses are masses of cells forming a life. They are forming a life; it is not actually a life. Fetuses to not think; they do not feel; and they do not breathe. For these reasons alone it is not a human being. The defintition of a fetus is a developing mammal, after the embryotic stage and before birth. This definition states that the fetus is developing, not that they are actually alive. The definition of murder is the killing of another human being. How can abortion be called murder, if the fetus is not yet alive? Abortion is a method used to stop creating a human life as well and it is one of the few choices a woman has in ending an unwanted pregnancy.

Many pro-life supporters, who are mostly religious, believe that abortion is murder. As stated above, people have not been able to determine when exactly a fetus becomes a life. Those people also may argue that an abortion completed in the third trimester is murder because the fetus may be able to live out of the mother’s womb. However, in the United States, 90% of abortions take place in the first trimester, in which there is no way a child could live outside of the mother’s womb at that time. After 1973, American abortion law is substantially controlled by the Supreme Court of the United States. As some states pass new laws they are usually subjected to review by the Court, which decides whether they comport with the federal Constitution or not. Today, there are laws banning partial-birth abortions. In some states such as South Dakota, people “have proposed a law banning all abortions except to save a mother’s life”(Cupich 2). What those people do not realize is that having an abortion of an unwanted child will actually be the reason women’s lives are saved. Women will not be forced into an unwanted pregnancy and a child will not be born to a mother who does not even want it.

Many people against abortion want to shut down abortion clinics in the hope of reducing the number of abortions in the United States. However, this raises the question of whether this will be an effective method or not. Before 1973 abortions were illegal, yet the number of women who sought abortions did not decrease (Bennett 1). Before the Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal, thousands of women died or suffered serious medical problems after attempting to perform their own abortions, or going to untrained doctors who performed cheap abortions with uncivilized methods or in unsanitary conditions. If clinics are closed, women will continue to attempt, and succeed, in ending unwanted pregnancies just like before 1973. Women will risk their health and possibly even their lives. By keeping these abortion clinics open, it ensures a higher probability that the women who do have abortions will be in a safe, sanitary environment, and therefore injuries will be fewer in number.

Critics against abortion also believe that the advantage of closing abortion clinics could be that women will be forced to take the responsibility over their baby, and give their unborn child the right to life. However, closing the clinics cannot be seen as something entirely positive. Getting an abortion does not always mean that the woman is only thinking of herself, she also thinks on behalf of her baby. Abortion clinics do not make the choice easier, nor do they force the woman into the surgery. People who are against abortion have the choice not to have one. It is not fair to take away the choice of people who do want one.

In the end, it will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court and state governments decide on the abortion laws. Making abortion illegal will bring on a wave of controversy and keeping them legal will probably just spark more argument. No one will ever be satisfied with the law. Pro-life people will continue arguing against capital punishment, gay rights activists will still fight for gay marriages, and anti-war protesters will continue to protest (Romney 21). Democracy is a well-oiled machine, but even with
today’s technologies, machines have flaws. Our laws are not perfect, but they are the law. The Supreme Court did not decide to make abortion legal on a whim; they made it legal based on the facts and on our Constitution. The Court ruled making abortion illegal is unconstitutional and the fact is that in any future abortion cases whoever is on the Court will look to the Roe v. Wade decision, which will have precedent over their decisions. The fact is if abortion is already legal, why make it illegal and bring on years of appeals and “back-alley” abortions.