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The Pro-Life Arguments on Abortion Policy in the United States

Updated August 1, 2022
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The Pro-Life Arguments on Abortion Policy in the United States essay

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A complicated debate arises when legislation and morality become unavoidably linked, as in the case of abortion rights. It seems contradictory for people to state that the law should not legislate morality, when all acceptable law involves positive ethics (Cline). When discussing abortion rights in the United States, it has come down to choosing between protecting the well being of the mother, or protecting the well-being of the fetus. Throughout this research paper, arguments for and against abortion rights will be made, as well as my personal opinion on the matter and ways in which I came to this conclusion. Abortion policy in the United States has caused constant commotion due to its highly sensitive subject matter, and it is hard to say if a policy everyone can agree on will ever be created. First, we must take into account the factors that affect a woman’s decision on whether or not to carry the pregnancy to term after becoming pregnant. In 1973, through Roe V. Wade, abortion became legal in the United States (with some restrictions based on individual state legislature). This provided women with an option other than carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term, however, according to National Abortion Rights Action League, “approximately 1 million women had abortions annually until the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, and abortion had become the leading cause of maternal death and mutilation” (Luhrmann).

Clearly, a large number of women were willing to take massive risk to acquire abortion procedures even before they were legal. Some factors women must take into account when making their decision include “relationship status and stability, career and education goals, and caring for dependents” (Cowan). For some women, due to their current statuses involving these factors, unwanted pregnancy can be overbearing and negatively affect their wellbeing to the point where they become unwell. This brings to light the argument for and against abortion. Whose rights are more important, the mother or the fetus? Pro-life arguments include the belief that life occurs at conception, that laws should consider embryos and fetuses as human beings, that abortion is murder, and that “the comparison between a baby’s rights and a mother’s rights is unequal. What is at stake in abortion is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life” (Alcorn). Regardless of how these pro-lifers felt, “the Supreme Court decided in 1973 that the unborn fetus had no constitutional rights until the third trimester (24-28 weeks), as it is incapable of functioning independently from the mother until that time” (Luhrmann). After this ruling, pro-lifers began pushing for restrictive abortion laws and policies such as “waiting periods, informed consent, and clinic regulations” (Halva-Neubauer). Pro lifers believed that imposing these inconveniences upon pregnant women seeking abortion would cause them to rethink their decision.

Another tactic pro-lifers use in the battle against abortion is setting up “crisis pregnancy centers” within a five-mile radius of abortion clinics. These centers pose as abortion clinics in order to get women inside so they can covey their pro-life messages to the women in hopes that the women will choose life over abortion. Extremely vulnerable women come in contact with these deceptive establishments because these crisis pregnancy centers advertise to women wanting an abortion. “Pregnant? Scared? Call us! Free pregnancy tests available. You have options” the billboards read; but the only option these centers promote is continuation of the pregnancy. These centers are wonderful for needy women who already wanted to continue their pregnancies, as they offer baby clothes and other useful items for mothers of newborns, but the true underlying reason these clinics exist is to preach pro-life sentiment. “Once the woman is through the door, she finds a clinic-like environment full of “counselors” who may fabricate or overemphasize the physical and mental health risks of abortion” (Gilbert).

Women who walk inside are usually forced to watch an anti-abortion video, and receive a ultrasound. Some women make it through the entire process without yet realizing that this center is not actually an abortion clinic, only to be sent out the door with a flyer and a heart full of guilt. These clinics cause even more distress in women seeking abortion because they even go so far as to wrongly date their pregnancies in order to prevent these women for continuing to seek abortion. While pro-lifers believe “the fetus must be accorded the same constitutional rights as its mother” (Luhrmann), pro-choice advocates believe the constitutional rights belong to the woman that is carrying the fetus. While pro-lifers maintain that the mother will experience severe psychological pain after abortion, “an unwanted child may be born into a household with an equally heavy psychological toll” (Luhrmann). While enormous emotional strength is required to go through abortion, the same applies to bearing and raising a child. Some believe “pro-choice forces create a false antagonism between a woman and her fetus, that abortion is a violent choice, and that, ultimately, abortion harms the woman” (Halva-Neubauer). While abortion is a negative situation for everyone involved, it may not produce as negative an outcome as pro-lifers may believe. “Inconclusive studies linking abortion to a higher risk of breast cancer have also been appropriated by some pro-life groups to support the rhetorical strategy of connecting harm to the fetus with harm to the woman” (Halva-Neubauer).

Ultimately, it is the woman’s body that is being discussed, and it is difficult to legislate against the woman making a choice that is best for her own body. This, however, does not mean that it hasn’t been done. “When the drive for a constitutional amendment was abandoned, pro-life forces would devote more resources to incremental approaches that would regulate, but not prohibit, abortion; these policies included waiting periods, informed consent, and clinic regulations” (Halva-Neubauer). Some states have imposed 18 hour to three day waiting periods on women seeking abortion. Counseling is also required in some states. These policies require many women to make two trips to the clinic, which is costlier, and waiting longer into the pregnancy can be riskier. Informed consent policies require women seeking abortion to be informed by their healthcare provider information on options other than abortion such as adoption and financial aid. Many women have already made their decision on whether or not to continue their pregnancy before they enter the clinic, making these regulations harmful and unnecessary. In researching the history of abortion beliefs in the United States, it seems to be that pro-choicers were and still are largely feminists, who believe the woman carrying the fetus should be in control of what happens to it, and that under no circumstances should anybody (the government) be in control of women’s bodies, especially when it comes to carrying and raising a child. Pro-lifers tend to be more religious and conservative, arguing that all life is sacred, and that abortion is murder. While taking away the potential of the fetus is an unfortunate act, many other factors come into play when discussing abortion.

Factors such as what emotional, financial, and physical state the mother is in, as well as whether or not the pregnancy was wanted. “On any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States” (childrensrights.org). Much of the foster care system is made up of unwanted children. “Although we may feel morally constrained to protect the future child, the fetus does not have the right to force us to do so. In the traditional dichotomy of church and state, to restrict abortion is to legislate morality” (Luhrmann). My opinion on this issue leans towards pro-choice, however I am fully pro contraception, with the belief that proper contraceptive technique has a high chance of preventing the situation of abortion all together. More focus by the government should be placed upon providing accessible contraception, because prevent a pregnancy is much easier than terminating one. Studies show that “women with medical insurance are more likely to use highly effective contraception, and mandated coverage of contraception also increases use, as do other measures to decrease the cost of contraception” (Cowan). A study done by Marshall Medoff in Social Indicators Research shows that incre of abortion in certain areas leads to lower rates of teen pregnancy. This means that teens are educated on the cost of abortion, and that they should also be receiving constant contraception education from the resources they used to find out the cost of abortion. “The 2010 Affordable Care Act currently mandates that health plans cover all contraceptives approved by the US Food and Drug Administration” (Cowan), but clearly this is not enough.

The government needs to allocate more funding towards contraceptive advertisement and sex education for teens, who are vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy, in order to decrease abortion rates. When it comes to being pro-life or pro-choice, the general public “expresses qualified support for abortion rights: opposition to government prohibition, but less than unconditional approval of abortion” (Strickler). As part of the general public and not part of a pro-choice or pro-life movement group, I identify with these beliefs. I came to the conclusion that I am pro-contraception throughout my lifetime as I studied this horrendous never-ending cycle of abortion, children being placed in foster care, or children being neglected, and realized that neither of these three outcomes would become apparent if there never was an unwanted embryo created in the first place. Extensive research shows that “a rise in contraceptive use or effectiveness invariably leads to a decline in induced abortion-and vice versa” (Marston). Teens need to be educated on their options and government funded contraception needs to be widely available in order for abortion rates to decrease. I would even go as far as to say high school clinics should offer free contraception. “If one assumes this increased use of highly effective contraception, the resulting decrease in unintended pregnancy will lead to further declines in the abortion rate by decreasing women’s need for abortion” (Cowan).

The Pro-Life Arguments on Abortion Policy in the United States essay

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The Pro-Life Arguments on Abortion Policy in the United States. (2022, Aug 01). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-pro-life-arguments-on-abortion-policy-in-the-united-states/

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