The debate over abortion can get heated between those who oppose it and those who do not. Each side argues their points based on the points of human rights. The real question being asked by many is: When is a human a human?
The Views of Both Sides:
The advocates of having the choice to abort as an alternative to adoption claim that a fetus is just a fetus with no rights until it is born. The belief of the “pro-choice” group is that a woman should have the freedom to decide if she wants to carry a “fetus” to term in which it then becomes a baby upon birth. Most pro-choice proponents make the point that many women have died in botched, back alley, abortions because they did not have access to a legal abortion. One other key factor in their belief in the right to abort is that a woman’s body is hers to do with what she pleases, including being pregnant. Forcing a woman to be a mother is wrong and takes away her human rights, pro-choicers say. Some, on this side of the issue, counter their opposition with claims that they are already mothers or do use protection such as birth control but say that if that birth control fails, they will abort. Those same supporters of the right to abortion are in the majority of those that demanded women have access to birth control, at no cost to women, which was eventually signed into law by President Obama.
On the flip side of the controversial topic of abortion, those who call themselves “pro-life” are fervent supporters of a child’s right to live from the point of conception. They argue that once a human egg is fertilized, it becomes a human life with the same rights as those who are already born. They cite scientific proof that, at the time of the abortion, which is typically only possible after the 6th week of gestation, the fetus has a heartbeat and is therefore alive. Many pro-life supporters do not excuse the desire to abort a child based on their perception of a mother’s irresponsible behavior; although, there is a large number of pro-life advocates that do make exception in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother/child. Often times, the opposition to abortion is based on the fact that there is no excuse to have an unwanted pregnancy with the availability of cost-free birth control pills, other inexpensive forms of birth control, and alternatives available to the mother such as adoption.
According to the most recent study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost 800,000 legal abortions were performed on women aged between 15 and 44 years old in a one year reporting period. For each 1,000 live births, there were 227 aborted babies (fetuses). This number is considered the largest single year decrease in the abortion rate for 10 years. In the previous reporting year, 12 women reportedly died during or after a legal abortion procedure. No deaths were found as a result of any type of illegal abortion techniques.
In addition, the CDC reports that the largest contributor to abortion is unintended pregnancy which is rare when women use effective means of contraception.
The abortion rates reported by race or ethnicity show that the largest percentage of abortions are obtained by white and black women with Hispanics and other ethnicities rating up to almost 20% less. Among white and black women, white women had the lowest abortion rate per 1000 live births and black women had the highest. Of all race/ethnicity classified abortions reported, the decrease in the abortion rate was greater than 5% except for black women which decreased by only 1%. The ratio of abortion to live births did not decrease, however, for any group except white women. For black women, the ratio increased to more than 500 abortions obtained per every 1,000 live births and 195 for hispanic women.
85% of the abortions performed were to unmarried women. Of all abortions in the reporting period, 55.3% of women obtained their first abortion. Women who had one or two previous abortions amounted to 36.6% and those with three or more previous abortions was at 8.1%.
Probably the most telling statistic is that when categorizing by age, the least percentage of abortions was for those aged younger than 15 years old and the largest among women between 20 and 24 years old. Does this indicate a trend toward teenage pregnancy and births?
**I have included images that may be disturbing to some.
It has been my firm belief that abortion should not be a widely available tool for women to use when they have been irresponsible in their lives and do not wish to be burdened with the consequences of their actions. I believe that in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother/child, a medical abortion should be available to those women in a safe and secure setting such as a hospital that is well-regulated. Too many abortions are performed in small clinics that have no oversight from any government agency such as the CDC, the Board of Health, etc. Some clinics that provide abortion services have been found, after years of performing abortions for thousands of women, to be unsafe or practicing illegal abortion methods/timeframes.
Instead of attempting to teach young women to practice safe sex by using over-the-counter contraception or obtaining their, now free, birth control, we are teaching them that it is okay to be irresponsible because there is a way out. The statistics that show over 35% of abortions are received by women who have already had at least one previous abortion is disturbing, in my view. Even if I supported the right to have an abortion in cases of unplanned pregnancy, not as a result of rape or incest, the fact that so many women are repeat visitors to abortions clinics shows that many are not learning from their mistakes. If an unintentional pregnancy would be such a burden on the women seeking abortions, it would seem prudent for those women to seek out methods to prevent it from happening again until they were ready and responsible. The other statistic that bothers me greatly is that the majority of abortions are performed on women that are old enough to know how to obtain birth control or purchase contraception. This group of women, 20-24 year olds, are most likely going to college, working to support themselves, or both. The fact that these women choose not to practice responsible decision-making skills in regards to their bodies and sex lives is not justification to permit a free pass on the consequences of their mistakes.
Are we really teaching our daughters that they have no responsibility for their actions in life?
Scientifically, I believe that at the time of a physically and medically possible abortion, the fetus is indeed alive. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks and definitely by 8 weeks of gestation. Because the largest number of abortions occur at less than 13 weeks, it is apparent that the large majority of those pregnant women had the heart of a small human being, beating, inside of them. An abortion can only be performed after the physician or clinic staff confirms there is actually a pregnancy to terminate. This is done by either intra-vaginal ultrasound or external ultrasound. The biggest indicator of pregnancy that a physician finds is the presence of a heartbeat. How can anyone say that a tiny heart is not proof of human life?
For those women who choose abortion later in their pregnancy, a small percentage, some as late as 24 weeks of gestation, I cannot find an excuse for their lack of humanity. Unless it is deemed that the pregnancy would be deadly to the mother or child which is, most of the time, determined earlier and earlier due to medical advancements, there should be no legality in late-term abortions. These are no longer ‘fetuses’.
They are babies with arms, legs, ears, facial features, and quickly developing internal organs that are sometimes capable of supporting their tiny bodies in the event of a premature birth. These little lives are cruelly and viciously destroyed in the process of a late-term abortion because why? Because the mother has decided that, after four or five months and possibly even feeling a kick or hiccup from the child inside of her, she cannot afford to give birth or does not want to lose her personal freedom to do what she wants without regard to another life? How is this justifiable? How can ripping the limbs from a body and sucking the life from their destroyed heads be allowed for anyone who had the poor judgement to have unprotected sex or the inability to make a responsible decision about the pregnancy in more than three months? It’s these types of abortions that infuriate me even more than the multiple abortions per woman statistic. The debate on when life begins can go on forever but there is no question on the presence of life in those late-term abortions.
Late term abortion doctors, nurses, and staff have all reported, over the years, of babies subjected to this brutal practice as having twitched, taken a breath, cried, or grasped a finger. In the case of a normal birth by a loving mother, these things are cherished and valued as the first moments of their child’s life. In the eyes of the staff who perform these abortions, these are just involuntary muscle movements and mean nothing when deciding the viability of the “fetus”.
For these people, they must have no heart themselves and are the prime example of a lifetime of involuntary muscle movements not induced by any brain function. I hope that one day those workers are subjected to a law that bans these abortions completely and categorizes those who perform them as murders eligible for the death penalty.
The Gosnell trial that has been in the news…well the local news and Fox News Channel…shows that the late-term abortion procedures are violent and too easily available through “doctors” who have no morals, conscience, or sense of humanity. The fact that Gosnell killed one mother during the process shows that it is even dangerous and deadly to the mother, not just the infant.
Gosnell’s staff has also testified to the fact that the infants cried out, took a breath after his snipped the spine (left), or twitched during the spine snipping process. They were alive! The lack of media coverage from left leaning outlets such as MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC are proof that the pro-choice supporters are unwilling to accept the practice of abortion as anything other than the right of a woman to end the parasitic existence inside of them. *No kidding. I have actually been told by a pro-choicer that a fetus is a parasite!*
Read the article in the Atlantic Wire today.
The debate on whether it is a baby or a fetus, a life or a parasite, a right or a responsibility, will most likely not end anytime soon, if ever. Humans will continue to have different opinions because that’s what humans do. However, there must be limits and a consensus on how long is too long to be pregnant before the opt-out option is no longer available. How many times is too many before the law says you have exceeded your limit on irresponsible acts of sexual conduct? Nobody is telling women that they cannot have sex, that there will be a sex monitor in their bedrooms to insure they have used protection, or that people do not make mistakes. The issue in our society today is at what point do we decide it is okay to make this mistake without having to bear the consequences but demand responsibility for other mistakes? Which actions are allowed to be worry-free while others come with steep repercussions? This is the question I pose to both sides. I know what side of the issue I fall on.