I would like to first point out the fact that abortion is one of the most controversial issues in the United States. The progressive left stands strong on the argument that women deserve the sole right to decide on abortion. As for the conservative right they base their judgment of abortion on religious aspects than on women’s rights. Whether your stance on abortion is pro or anti it is a legal operation in the United States. In the year 1973 abortion laws were decided by the states. Most of the states banned legal abortion unless the woman’s life was at risk. The controversial case Roe v. Wade changed the outlook on abortion. “In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the controversial case Roe v. Wade. The Roe decision acknowledged both a woman’s ‘fundamental right’ to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability and the state’s legitimate interest in protecting both the women’s health and the ‘potential’ of the fetus.
It prohibited states from banning abortion to protect the fetus before the third trimester of a pregnancy, and it ruled that even during that final trimester, a woman could obtain an abortion if she could prove that her life or health would be endangered by carrying the term”(Gordon, 214). This ruling gave woman the ability to make a decision of aborting a child based on their own rights and beliefs. As of 1973 to the present year of 2003 abortion is a legal procedure but is unfortunately looked upon by some, as murder.
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My standpoint on abortion is developed by both the progressive and conservative sides. I most definitely feel it is woman’s right to decide if she has a valid reason to abort a child. Although I feel it is the woman’s right on deciding this issue, the concern of whether it is a valid reason or not is a major issue. With out a doubt, if a woman is raped I believe abortion is the right choice, but on the other hand a bad decision made one evening, in my belief, is an unmoral reason to abort. I do not see abortion as a sin due to the good points Mary Gordon makes in “A Moral Choice.” The most important point she makes is stating, “The moral discussion of abortion centers on the issue of whether or not abortion is an act of murder. At first glance it would seem that the answer should follow directly upon two questions: Is the fetus human? And is it alive?”(Gordon, 223). These two questions can only be answered based on opinion. If you are an extremely religious individual you are probably more likely to say an abortion is murder. As for the less conservative citizens abortion is seen less as an act of sin. For example as Mary Gordon states “Our ritual and religious practices underscore the fact that we make distinctions among fetuses. If a woman took the bloody matter-indistinguishable from a heavy period-of an early miscarriage and insisted upon putting it in a tiny coffin and marking its grave, we would have serious concerns about her mental health.”(Gordon, 223). This is a very true statement. When woman we know have a miscarriage it is unlikely for them to be destroyed. It is an unfortunate occurrence but not a wrong doing that causes heartache. The discussion of miscarriage and deciphering at what point someone can declare a fetus human, is one of the biggest arguments of abortion. I believe that third trimester abortions should be banned. I feel this way because it is factual that a third trimester fetus can live outside of the mother’s body (Gordon, 224). Although third trimester abortions happen in rarity, late abortions in order to protect the mother should be decided case by case. “For myself, I am made uneasy be the third trimester abortions, which take place when the fetus could live outside the mother’s body, but I also know that these are rare and often done on very young girls who have had difficulty comprehending the realities of pregnancy. It seems to me that the question of late abortions should be decided case by case” (Gordon, 224). Gordon’s feelings on this specific issue are exactly the way it should be viewed. But with major technology on the anti-abortion side it may be difficult in the near future for even early abortions to be thought of as humane. Once scientists can prove a younger fetus can possibly live outside of the mother’s body, dramatic changes will take place on this topic (Gordon, 224).
Many of us can safely say that the media and press shape our perceptions on a daily basis. Since abortion is a very touchy topic and is based on moral issues, our perception is constantly changing. With the help of the media the anti-abortion group is one step ahead. It is very easy for this group to put graphic displays on the TV to help get their point across. As for the pro-choice side the position morally is hard to exhibit. “Anti-choice proponents can offer pastel photographs of babies in buntings, their eyes peaceful in the cameras gaze. In answer we can’t offer the material of an early abortion, bloody amorphous in a paper cup, to prove that what has just been removed from the mother’s body is not a child”(Gordon, 224). The most important point that needs to be understood is early abortion is a legal procedure. Abortion can not be debated upon whether it is legal or not. More scientific research needs to be done before people can make a definite decision on whether or not abortion is a murder. This research will help to clarify this topic on a wider basis. My opinion on abortion can be explained by simply saying it is a legal and moral choice decided by a woman. No one person has a say on a person’s decision or is fully informed on their personal issues. I feel strongly that banning abortion and possibly jeopardizing a woman’s entire future should not be permitted. Although Robert George defends the position of anti-abortion he clarifies the thoughts of the pro-abortion side very thoroughly in saying, “In contrasting the pro-life advocate with the pro-choice advocate by depicting (only) the latter as viewing abortion as ‘a decision to be made in accordance with the best scientific opinion as to when the beginning of life…occurs’ (George 217). This statement shows the number one argument amongst both sides. The anti-abortion thinking is that each one of us was a human from conception. “Conception was the occasion of substantial change (that is, change from one complete individual entity to another) that brought into being a self –integrating organism with a specifically human nature” (George, 220). The pro-choice advocates base all their feelings toward the life of a human entirely on scientific research.
Although the pro and anti abortion followers argue on where the human life actually begins, the other big discrepancy is moral choice. For example if a young girl exploring the sexual world decides to have intercourse, forgets the condom and becomes pregnant, should she be accountable? The anti-abortionists would declare this girl as irresponsible, selfish, and having heartless morals if she decided on an abortion. What if this young girl had an entire future ahead of her? If she wanted to become a doctor, nurse, or a lawyer her entire future would be destroyed. But the problem is the question of morals. If this young child didn’t want to jeopardize her entire future is that morally wrong? No, because how could you insist that a young girl has bad morals based solely on one bad decision. Some girls that get pregnant these days aren’t even passed the seventh grade. Put yourself back in the seventh grade and try to remember the important things in your life at that time. Unfortunately many of us knew little about sex and the consequences that may follow. These things need to be looked at in order to make a final judgment on abortion. My stand on this issue is very broad. I feel abortion is a right for woman. No other person should be allowed to make judgment on your body and decide for you whether or not to go through this procedure if necessary. Many close friends of mine had to go through this tragic experience of aborting a child. I think many citizens feel that women don’t really care and are completely heartless and self involved. That is not the case at all. One of my close friends made a huge mistake and did not use protection one night. Once finding out a month later she was pregnant, her life was a mess. She was not eighteen at the time so the court got involved. Not being able to tell her mother because she was a very religious person. Going to court and proving herself incompetent to have a child in her life was her only option.
Before knowing anyone who got an abortion and understanding this topic a little better is was very anti-abortion. After accompanying my friend in court for support, my thoughts and views on this topic completely changed. Abortion is something that needs to be decided upon based on a person’s own principles and beliefs. No one has the sole right to decide this for someone else. Basing abortion laws on religious and many views of men, is surely not the answer. This is the millennium many of us practice a certain religion but aren’t so involved, unlike earlier times. Another point to be made is that many men involved in politics are speaking out about this issue. What man should decide or even have a say of what a women should do if becoming pregnant. Does a man know what it is like being a young goal oriented woman having an entire future? Then she is suddenly faced with a difficult decision of choosing her future or having a child. You decide?
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