It is evident that the debate concerning abortion is getting tighter and tighter. There is an eminent gap between those who support abortion (pro-choice) and those who do not (pro-life). Moreover there differences have become too fundamental for compromise. The issue of abortion has also been taken up by politicians as most Americans continuously tune in to this hot debate. However, putting aside all matters dealing with personal opinions, there are numerous important issues that deal with the balancing of personal rights with potential new life. Notably, the laws that govern abortion in the United States today seem very controversial. There is disunity among the various states concerning laws that define a legal abortion, which brings out the society’s conflicting regarding abortion. According to the constitution, abortion laws have three main parts. The first part deals with the definition of what an illegal abortion is, the second deals with legal abortion, while the last deals with notice and consent. There are also small sections that deal with waiting periods, penalties for violating the law, abortionists’ licensing requirements, and residency requirements. However, despite the sections clearly defining themselves, they are impossible to compare. This is due to the fact that the Supreme Court has caused the laws to be unsettled through inconsistent rulings. It is evident that numerous state legislatures have not yet enacted legislation as they wait for the outcome of different federal legislation and lawsuits. Furthermore, the Court has preempted the states’ power to legislate in areas like spousal notification, waiting periods, and others as well.
Notably, all the states work with the presumption that abortion is a crime; unrestricted abortion is not legal in any of the states. However, all state statutes have definitions of legal abortions. There are some states that define an illegal abortion in terms of legal abortion, for example, they define it as the failure to meet the criterion of legal abortion. Notably, the definition of legal abortion is given as the destruction of a nonviable fetus. There are other states in the East and the South, which define illegal abortions without any reference to legal definitions of abortion. As a fact, some of the states include the statement that abortion will be illegal if the mother dies. The remaining states define abortion with limits that apply to when an abortion can be acceptable. There are those that define an illegal abortion as an activity with the intention of destroying an unborn child or produce an abortion if the mother dies unless it is meant to save a mother.
The universal definition of legal abortion is in terms of the mother’s health or convenience. Few of these definitions mention about the health or life of the fetus, however, they refer to its viability, without any other attempt to define the term, as a standard for when an abortion can be carried out with impunity. Notably, the definitions are objective by the fact that there are specific time parameters set, which abortion cannot be legal outside them. However, there are states such as Alaska and Hawaii, which define an illegal abortion openly. They define that any act that is contrary to the legal definition will definitely be illegal. Something common with all states is that they give extra instances when abortion may be legal after establishing the viability. The additional instances are usually to save the mother’s life or if severe defects are detected in the fetus. Another subject that has become controversial in numerous states is the issue of partial birth abortion. This term refers to the abortion in which the individual performing the abortion intentionally or deliberately delivers a living fetus for the purpose of performing a procedure that the individual knows will kill the fetus, goes ahead with the procedure, does away with the fetus, and completes the delivery process. Recent years has seen numerous states limiting or banning the practice of this procedure altogether. Notably, the regulation of abortion had been left to individual states before 1973. However, things changed in the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court in 1973. It decided that the Constitution did protect a woman’s right to abort, a right that was to be found in the unstated right to privacy, and from state regulation during the first three months of pregnancy. Besides that, the Court also held that the states had an important, as well as, a legitimate interest into protecting the potentiality of human life. A common factor is that the abortion issue has always been revolving around the various states’ consequent attempts at protecting the life that is unborn. After the Roe incident, the Supreme Court has made abortion to be an area of law that is highly unsettled.
What is evident is the fact that numerous statutes reflect attempts by states at balancing the right of a woman to decide on abortion with the interest of the states in protecting the life of a fetus. There are some statutes in the state codes that may become unconstitutional if they are challenged. There are several general areas dealing with the legislation of abortion, as well as, the Supreme Court’s treatment of each. In Parental Consent, states may require that a minor who seeks an abortion have the consent of an older person like a parent or a guardian keeping in mind the presence of an adequate judicial bypass procedure. In matters dealing with Informed Consent, a state may require that a physician avails a woman with information such as sources of financial aid, alternatives to abortion, the gestational stage of the child, and the development of the child. In Spousal Consent, a state can require that a married woman obtains the husband’s consent before performing the abortion. In Abortion Method, a state may not require the medical practitioner performing the abortion to make use of a method that provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive the abortion. Parental Notice states that a state may require a parent be notified of a minor’s abortion and not two. In matters dealing with the Waiting Period, a twenty-four hour waiting period is not involved with an undue burden on a woman who has decided to abort and hence becomes constitutional. In Second Physician, a state may not require that another physician be present at the abortion to be in charge of a live child as a result of abortion unless there is an exception for when the mother was in danger.
Lastly, in Fetal Remains, states may not require that fetal remains be disposed of in a humane and sanitary way. The main question that needs to be asked is why is abortion legal? Notably, those who advocate for abortion rights hold the idea that it is a personal choice for whether or not to continue with the pregnancy because it involves a woman’s body, health, and future as well. They also hold the belief that the lives of the parents and children are better when abortions become legal. This will go a long way into preventing women from doing illegal abortions that could be dangerous with their health. Moreover, they frame their beliefs in terms of individual liberty, reproductive rights, and reproductive freedom. However, individuals supporting abortion do not consider themselves as pro-abortionists. They consider abortion to deal with bodily autonomy as they find forced abortion to be indefensible. As some of them oppose some abortions on a moral basis, they believe that abortions do happen in any case. This means that legal abortion that is medically safe would be better than illegal abortion performed without proper medical attention. There are also others who argue from a philosophical point of view, that embryos have no rights due to the fact that they are not actual persons. Therefore, the embryo should not have rights that override those of the women until the point it becomes viable. Abortion rights activists argue that those who oppose abortion also oppose contraception and sex education, which increases abortion’s demands. On their part, those who support legal abortion support laws and policies that will end up decreasing the demand for abortion. Some individuals supporting abortion rights see it as the last option as they focus on other situations where abortion will be necessary such as to save a mother’s life.
Among the political scene, the Democrats endorse the position of abortion rights, claiming that abortion should be legal, safe and rare as well. However, there are some Democrats who feel otherwise. There are ethical questions that concern abortion. Is abortion acceptable if pregnancy would cause direct danger to the mother if the pregnancy is left to continue? Is the practice acceptable in cases involving incest, rape, or contraception failure? Is abortion legal or acceptable if the fetus were deformed? Does the woman have an absolute right to take control of her body and what she can do with it? Does the fetus acquire rights as it gets closer to being born? Should the idea that they are potential to be a person give unborn babies a right to life, and are they worthy of legal protections?
The large part of the debate concerning abortion deals with fetal pain. Many researchers believe that a fetus is not likely to feel any pain until after the sixth month of the pregnancy, however, there are those who disagree. Anti-abortionists have proposed that abortion providers tell the woman the fact that the fetus may feel pain in the process of abortion. Keeping this in mind, there are those who perform an abortion under general anesthesia, with those opposing the idea claiming that it would pose health risks to the mother. While both sides of the abortion debate agree to the fact that fetuses are of human species, they differ on whether a fetus is a person. Pro-life supporters say abortion is morally wrong due to the idea that a fetus is an innocent being or a potential life. Those who oppose this idea claim that a fetus is not a person with a right to life. They claim that a fetus lacks a right to life because it lacks rationality, self-consciousness, and autonomy. However, those arguing in favor of abortion bring the idea that, while a fetus may have a right to life, abortion is morally permissible since a woman has a right to control her own body and make decisions on her own. Most arguments against the right to abortion say that abortion is unjust discrimination against the unborn child. Those denying the fact that fetus has a right to life do no value human life as a whole; they give some humans more priority over others. They also claim that abortion is morally wrong since it deprives the fetus a future. Just as the rest of the humans, their future is valuable and has a number of highly valuable experiences. Killing a being that has a future will be doing serious harm to it and hence not right. Religious beliefs are varied on the abortion debate too, however, most like Christians do not condone abortion as they say the unborn are humans too. There are individuals who argue that, unless women are given the right to abortion on demand or walk away from parenthood just like men, their freedoms would be limited.
With this in mind, those governments that have banned abortion have placed a burden to women with duties that men are not held accountable, despite the fact that they are also responsible for the pregnancy. They see a denial of abortion as female oppression under a system that is patriarchal, which then perpetuates inequality between the two sexes. In my view, abortion should be legal under certain terms that concern the health of the child or the parent. It is important to note that abortion is something that goes on daily whether it is legal or not. Young girls end up going to perform an abortion on backstreets that end up damaging their health. It is only helpful if abortion was made legal, but with a few restrictions. Despite the fact that a zygote is alive, it should not acquire full human rights such as, not to be aborted during the gestation period. Notably, a zygote is not a person, but a potential person. The mark that defines a human and a person is conscious. The self-awareness quality of consciousness makes us different from the rest of the living things. It is also important to note we communicate, think about ourselves, and use language as we are aware of ourselves. This consciousness does not happen in unborn babies until later when they are born. In addition to all these, a zygote is not fully independent; it depends on the mother for all its nutrients and everything. This means that the mother and the fetus share the same risks. The physical dependence of the fetus to the mother poses a physical threat to the life of the mother. There are numerous women who die as a result of pregnancy-related complications. These mothers’ lives could have been prevented if they had abortions. People should ask if the rights of a potential person supersede that of the mother to control her body or protect her from dangers that are life-threatening. In my view, it is not murder if a mother performs an abortion to save her life or any other cases that pose risks to the unborn child or the mother.
In conclusion, as the debate concerning abortion gets tighter and tighter, there is an eminent gap between those who support abortion and those who do not. Moreover there differences have become too fundamental for compromise. The universal definition of legal abortion is in terms of the mother’s health or convenience, however, few mentions about the health or life of the fetus. They refer to its viability, without any other attempt to define the term, as a standard for when an abortion can be carried out with impunity. As the debate rages on, ethical questions that concern abortion includes: Is abortion acceptable if pregnancy would cause direct danger to the mother if the pregnancy is left to continue? Is the practice acceptable in cases involving incest, rape, or contraception failure? Is abortion legal or acceptable if the fetus were deformed? Does the woman have an absolute right to take control of her body and what she can do with it? Does the fetus acquire rights as it gets closer to being born? Should the idea that they are potential to be a person give unborn babies a right to life, and are they worthy of legal protections?