Abortions Give Women the Right to Choose
January 27, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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Since even before Roe v. Wade, the public has been divided on whether a woman should be allowed to terminate her own pregnancy. However, at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be up to millions of voters around the country or a bunch of balding men on the Senate floor. It should be up to the people who may become pregnant. No one should ever be forced or pressured to go through with a pregnancy she does not want. If it is in her best interest, a woman should be able to terminate her own pregnancy.
Many argue that aborting a child is immoral because it causes pain to the fetus. However, a website listing opposing points of view on the matter says that many neuroscientists believe that in order to feel pain, the cortex must be functional. The cortex doesn’t become functional until at least week 26 of fetal development (abortion.procon.org). Males are circumcised after birth, and those babies can definitely feel pain. So people think pain from genital mutilation is fine on a baby already born, living and breathing independently, but one shouldn’t touch an undeveloped fetus?
Denying the right to have an abortion would only force it behind closed doors. Banning abortion would only push back-alley abortions to become prevalent again, as they were before Roe v.Wade. Statistics and studies have shown that these kind of procedures are dangerous and can lead to death (choicematters.org). Pregnant women, those who are directly affected by the ban, would not be able to get the safe help they need and would risk death just to have control over their own bodies. Why should we risk an innocent woman’s life for a cluster of cells inside her body?
Additionally, not all those who need abortions are adults. Teen pregnancy occurs often in the United States, and according to the American Civil Liberties Union, it is the leading reason that females drop out of high school, a decision they often later regret. Without a high school diploma, these young women are unable to find high-paying jobs and too often create an economically-unstable existence for mother and child (aclu-wa.org). Instead, a child should only be welcomed into this world when a woman has decided that it is the right time in her life to have children. A girl should have the option to have an abortion, and no one should pressure her to go through with something so life-changing if she doesn’t want to or isn’t ready.
Furthermore, banning abortions would negatively impact the already traumatic lives of incest and rape victims. Though pregnancies arising from incest and rape make up only one percent of those terminated, but eliminating abortions would eliminate a source of hope and help for these victims (operationrescue.org). How could you turn away a young girl, a child, who’s been taken advantage of and burden her with caring for a new life when her own has been viciously ripped from her? It would be unfair to the baby and the mother to force the birth. Junior Josh Tan stated, “Abortions should remain legal because pregnancies are dangerous and rape is obviously wrong. If it were to be made illegal, there would have to be exceptions to the law.”
The legalization of abortion may be connected to the lowering of crime rates. In a study, Researchers Steven Levitt and John Donohue discovered that in the 18 years abortion had been legalized, the rate of crimes committed by males aged 18-24 (the age group most likely to commit crimes) dropped drastically. Many unwanted pregnancies occur in low-income neighborhoods. When those children are born, families have to struggle to survive, which leads to crime. Additionally, Levitt and Donohue confirmed that the states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and Washington as a whole experienced steep drops in crime 18 years after the legalization of abortion. There is a direct correlation between the number of pregnancies and crime rates (escholarship.org). Keeping abortion legal not only ensures the right to make decisions about one’s own body, but the right to safe and happy living.
Despite its vocal critics, abortion remains undeniably necessary. For the individual person, it means the difference between a life of hardship and a life full of opportunity. For society, it means the difference between public safety and public unrest. Abortion should remain available for those who want or need the procedure, and no one should be denied the right to put her own life first.