New abortion laws spur debate
June 11, 2019
Laws regarding abortion have been changing rapidly over the past year. The debate over abortion access seems to be the most controversial of all political debates. While some states, including Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina, have passed, “Heartbeat Bills” banning abortions after six weeks, some states, like Illinois, Vermont, and New York, have expanded access to abortions or refused to restrict it. As of May, the state of Alabama has passed the most restrictive ban on abortions to date, making the practice illegal for both those receiving the abortion and the doctors performing it with no exceptions (cnn.com). It is important at this time to understand both sides of the debate, so as to lessen the political divide between the people of the United States.
Abortion law con
In light of recent events, the debate over abortion laws has skyrocketed. The divide separating pro-choice and pro-life believers is at an all-time high, and neither side appears willing to compromise. Whether any specific person wants to have an abortion or not should be up to them personally, but these laws do not allow for a decision to be made. It is a woman’s constitutional right to decide what can happen to her body, and these laws bring women’s rights directly back to the Roe v. Wade court case in 1973, a time when sexism was at large.
The Heartbeat Bill, passed in four states so far, restricts abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. For those that do not know, a woman is only capable of conceiving during the five days of ovulation after her menstrual cycle. Many women do not even know they are pregnant until their next missed cycle, which is typically four weeks after the previous cycle. This means a woman would only be two weeks late for her cycle before she cannot legally have an abortion. Being late for a cycle is extremely common, meaning at six weeks, most women would not even know that they are pregnant.
On top of the four states that have passed Heartbeat Bills, Alabama will restrict anyone from receiving an abortion at any time, regardless of the circumstance. That means that a woman of any age that conceives through rape, incest, or undesired circumstances must follow through with the pregnancy and could be jailed otherwise. For example, an 11-year-old child and a victim of rape will be forced to follow through with the pregnancy and birth of her rapist’s child, and if she receives an abortion illegally, she will most likely be put in jail longer than her rapist. If this sounds like a nightmare, it’s the reality for women in Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, and many other states now and in the future.
According to many pro-lifers, the woman is not the only party involved in the making of a child. While it does take two to conceive a child, none of these recent laws passed require the male to do anything at all before or after the child is born, and places all of the responsibility on the woman. In most cases of unwanted pregnancy or rape, the male is not present at any time, leaving the woman to care for that child alone, regardless of the mother’s age. If the woman must follow through with being a mother, then the male involved should have to follow through with being a father as well.
Now, pro-life believers may say that it does not matter the circumstance, but what about after that child is born? If that child is born disabled, gay, or of color, will pro-lifers care about their lives then? Or if they become one of the 443,000 children in foster care in America, will their lives be regarded with as high importance as when they were an embryo, a simple ball of cells? Forcing women to carry out their unwanted pregnancies will not solve problems, but create many more, like increased violence, mental health problems, and especially unsafe at-home abortions.
A person that cannot conceive a child should not have a say in what a pregnant woman can do, and if a pregnant woman disagrees with having an abortion, she should not get one, but the option should be available to her and all women. The solution to this problem is to make birth control more accessible to everyone, and allow women to make their own decisions regarding their bodies, instead of passing laws that take America back to a time when women did not have rights.
Abortion law pro
Anybody scrolling through their social media feeds in the past week may have come across uproar over Alabama’s recent Human Life Protection Act, a law designed to challenge Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. It almost seemed like the entire world was exploding over the passage of the law, with pro-abortion activists flooding their social media accounts with posts deriding and condemning the law, and anti-abortion activists firing volleys of argument back at them. Abortion is such a polarizing issue that it almost seems impossible for either side of the argument to understand why the other side thinks the way it does. It is important that people who call themselves pro-choice understand the mindset that pro-life people are in when they argue banning abortion; this would make the world a better place.
Many people on the pro-abortion side of the argument are young women who believe that laws like the Human Life Protection Act are infringements on their Constitutional Right to bodily autonomy. After all, it should be the right of a woman to pursue happiness and decide when she wants to be pregnant, right? That’s too simple of a way of looking at the complex topic of abortion. First of all, in any pregnancy, there is more than one party involved. There is the mother and also the father. Both parties made the decision to commit an act that could result in a child being made, and they do not deserve any get-out-of-jail-free card that can bail them out of their situation. Pro-life advocates do not want to impose the burden of a child on just the mother, because the father is just as accountable in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. Having an unwanted pregnancy does not mean having a ruined life. When one puts their life on hold to raise a child, they can still accomplish great things by becoming a great parent and a pillar of their community.
Not only must the father be taken into account, but the innocent life of the child being aborted must be taken into account as well. One will often see emotionally distressing hypotheticals and anecdotes being thrown around in defense of abortion such as, “What if the mother was raped? Should the baby, in that case, be aborted?” In the awful and disgusting case of rape, the innocent child conceived is the last person who should be considered for the death sentence. Pro-life advocates believe that because life begins at conception, abortion is murder. If life does not begin at conception, when does it begin? When the baby’s heart starts beating? Well, that would deny personhood to anybody with a pacemaker. There’s a place where one has to draw the line. Murdering a living human being is murder, no matter how good the motive.
At the end of the day, no emotionally disturbing hypothetical can justify abortion or any other form of murder. Both mothers and fathers must be held accountable for the decisions that they make. People must take responsibility for the life they live. Otherwise, our world may be overrun by people who will never comprehend the consequences of their actions, who choose pleasure over the sacrifice and hard work that gives life meaning.