by Sabrina Michelena
We should not be discussing this topic in 2021. The answer is simple and should be accepted. Women should be able to have control over their own bodies, in this case, having the choice whether they as individuals want to have abortions or not. It’s barbaric for a group of government officials, most of them being male, to decide what each woman in their state can and cannot do. The right to abortion is a fundemental human right, and should be regarded as such.
The controversy over this issue should have stayed in the past. The first mention of abortion in history was in the ancient Code of Assyria, in Mesopotamia, of the 12th Century. According to the nonfiction book, Abortion: A Social And Moral Issue by Sandra Alters, “[The Code] explicitely ordered that any woman who had an abortion should be impaled on stakes without the dignity of burial.” However, in Ancient Greece and Rome, abortion was acceptable to limit family size. As a matter of fact, philosophers like Plato and Aristotle approved of abortion to control overpopulation.
In the United States, abortion was completely legal until the early 1800’s when restrictive abortion laws began to be passed. For example, in 1828, New York passed a law that said whoever has an abortion conducted after sixteen to eighteen weeks would be charged for manslaughter, and before sixteen to eighteen weeks, the woman recieves a misdemeanor. Between 1860 and 1880 was the most prominent anti-abortion time in U.S. history. In 1878, the New York Times stated, “Thousands of human beings are thus murdered before they have seen the light of the world.”
According to the book, Abortion: An Eternal Social and Moral Issue. It wasn’t until nearly a century later that abortion was legalized. Yet, after the legalization, the discussion over abortion continues. States such as Missouri, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, Ohio, Alabama, etc., have pushed for bans or restrictions in the last 47 years. If abortion was accepted in Ancient Rome, Greece, and in the United States before the 1800s, then why is it a topic of controversy today?
Women have abortions for a variety of reasons. One reason why some women have abortions is because they’re too young to have children. They can be teenagers and if forced to have that child, there is a possibility that they will resent their child for forcing them to grow up too fast because they were forced to take care of them at such a young age.
According to the book, Abortion: An Eternal Social and Moral Issue, written by Sandra Alters, “Children of teenage mothers are also more likely to be abused and neglected and to perform poorly in school. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy also reports that the sons of teenage mothers are twice as likely to end up in prison than are the sons of older mothers and that the daughters of teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves than are the daughters born of older mothers.” The book reveals that children of teen parents sometimes aren’t well-cared for and grow up in neglectful households.
Another scenario is that the woman seeking the abortion has been raped. Rape is a traumatic experience that most likely affects someone for the rest of their life. If you have to give birth to that baby, the product of this terrible event, you could become very depressed. Having to care for that baby and being reminded of that scarring event every day is an unimaginable pain. And when the baby grows up, you have to ask yourself the question: “Do I tell them who their father is?” Or, leave that child in the dark, wondering who their father could be and possibly finding it out themselves as adults.
Another less extreme scenario is just not wanting to have a baby. Even if you’re married, financially stable, and become pregnant and then decide that maybe you don’t want a baby, you should be able to abort it. There are many reasons for abortion and that’s why women should be able to have the right to abortion.
Men are biologically unable to become pregnant, therefore, they should not be the ones to judge whether women should be allowed to have abortions or not. The fact is that times have changed and men don’t control women as much as they did in the past. Women have made breakthroughs, such as having the right to vote, having female congresspeople, and now having the first female Vice President of the United States. But, some conservative men don’t accept that so they try to strip us of our rights.
There is a common misinterpretation about people who are “pro-choice.” Those who are opposed to abortion and call themselves “pro-life” sometimes think that people who are pro-choice want to force everyone to have an abortion, which is simply not true. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines pro-choice as “believing that pregnant women should have the right to choose to have an abortion.” This means that those who are pro-choice believe in simply the right to choose. You want to have an abortion? Go for it. You don’t want to have an abortion? That’s okay, it’s your decision. It should be your decision. So we don’t force everyone to have abortions, we just believe in the right to choose for yourself.
This topic has been brought to debate once more because of the fairly recent appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She is known for having right-wing ideals and has been associated with an extremely conservative Christian faith group, in which they indoctrinate women into believing that the man is the head of the household, among other sexist values.
According to the Newsela article, “Amy Coney Barrett Signed Letter Urging End of 'Barbaric' Roe v. Wade.” She signed a letter in 2006 as an advertisement for an anti-choice group called St. Joseph County Right to Life, in Indiana. According to the article, “The Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion for any reason...It's time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children." This is a concerning issue since she is now at a very high state of power.
She may have the ability to be potentially biased if a case about abortion comes to her attention and rule based on her personal opinion. It is clear that she is strongly opposed to the decision of abortion for any matter. Even women, after being influenced by conservative groups and ideas, can be opposed to abortion, and if they are at a high state of power, like Judge Amy Coney Barrett, they can express their views by taking drastic actions.
It is a fundamental right to have the right to abortion. The right to choose for your individual self. If you don’t want to have an abortion, that’s perfectly fine. We’re not forcing anyone to. We’re just saying it should be our right to choose. So now that you have learned about this issue and you have heard my words, and you hopefully agree with me, don’t just walk away from this. Educate others if you hear them being ignorant. Even if it’s your conservative grandpa during Christmas dinner saying something like, “Abortion is murder,” educate him. Tell him, “No, Grandpa, it’s not murder,” and offer the right side of it. Because the more people we educate about this topic, the less of a problem it will be and the less of the risk that more than half the human population will have a basic right taken away.