The right to choose is the foundation upon which this country was built. Those who are pro-abortion trumpet this slogan while proclaiming a woman’s ‘God given right’ to make her own choices without government interference. This simple ideology is embraced by some but the arguments are flawed when the realities of abortion are examined. Studies have shown that most women are coerced into committing this murderous act of a living human and that there is no such thing as safe abortions as many are led to believe. Pro-abortion proponents generally espouse that the rights of a non-living tissue that feels no pain are non-existent.
This discussion exposes these untruths that have been reported and are widely perceived as facts. It also explains the framers intent for the legal and moral direction of American society when they drafted the Constitution, the document that defines the laws of the nation.
There is little freedom of choice for women who are experiencing an unwanted pregnancy. The women themselves usually wish to bring their baby to full term. Other powerful influences in her life such as husbands/boyfriends, parents and friends are generally the forces that exact pressures on her to terminate the pregnancy. “Eight out of 10 women surveyed after abortion said they would have given birth if they’d had support and encouragement from family and friends” (Reardon, 2002).
It’s the abortion that, in many cases, is unwanted by the woman, not the baby. Most often, the father of the child, not wishing to accept responsibility, may beg or even threaten a woman until she agrees to the abortion. “In 95 percent of all cases the male partner played a central role in the decision” (Zimmerman, 1977). This and other studies have illustrated clearly that most women decide against their own conscience.
Legal abortion enables fathers to force their will on mothers. Some women resort to abortion in desperation because they fear continued abuse. That fear is substantiated as women who refuse to abort have been subjected to serious abuses which have escalated to murder if the women still persists in her refusal. Murder is the leading cause of death for pregnant women and for what other motive could there be? “Sixty-four percent of women surveyed report being pressured by others into unwanted abortions” (Reardon, 1992).
Immediately following an abortion, the one(s) coercing the decision are relieved and seldom, if ever, give the inconvenient issue another thought. Women, on the other hand, suffer long afterwards, racked by overwhelming guilt and agonizing over their irreversible decision. This pain may last a lifetime as they are never able to forgive themselves.
Another myth espoused as fact is that the aborted fetus is no more than a cluster of cells, a bit of tissue unable to even feel pain. A developing embryo has a unique set of fingerprints as well as different genetic patterns than its mother. It is a human being unto itself. If one defines death as the stoppage of a heartbeat and murder as the forceful and intentional stopping of a heart then abortion is surely murder. If the existence of heartbeat legally defined life, then almost all abortions would be illegal as the heart is formed by the 18th day in the womb.
A British medical journal reported that when a pin is stuck into an eight-week-old fetus, it opens his mouth in a crying motion and pulls his hand away. By week five, eyes, legs, and hands begin to develop. “By week six, brain waves are detectable, mouth and lips are present and fingernails are beginning to form. By the eighth week the baby can begin to hear. Every organ is in place, bones begin to replace cartilage, and fingerprints begin to form” (National Right to Life Foundation, n.d.).
‘Pro Choice’ activists argue that women should have access to safe abortions, that ‘a nation founded on and dedicated to civil liberties could allow its citizens to resort to dangerous self-abortion procedures.’ That too is a false premise. Ninety-seven percent of women who have had abortions describe intense pain experienced during the procedure despite the use of local anesthetics.
Studies also show that patients typically found abortion more painful than their doctors or counselors told them to expect and that younger women tend to have a more painful experience than older women. “Complications are common such as bleeding, hemorrhage, laceration of the cervix, menstrual disturbance, inflammation of the reproductive organs, bladder or bowel perforation, and serious infection” (Danforth, 1986). Overall, women who have abortions increase their risk of future miscarriages and sterility. Humiliated, scared and ashamed, a mother to be must, generally, go to a clinic, not a familiar doctor for the most traumatic experience of her young life. Women can suffer long term physical as well as psychological complications from an abortion procedure.
Various studies through the years have proven that abortion is a horrendous option for all concerned yet the ‘right to choose’ still exists because the Supreme Court has stated it cannot determine for certain when life begins. We have been at a 30-plus year impasse since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 which legalized abortion in the U.S because the court system is unclear regarding when human life begins. The ‘Roe’ decision invalidated any state law that restricted a woman to have an abortion or a doctor to perform an abortion during the first three months (first trimester) of a pregnancy. It also restricted abortions during the second-trimester unless a woman’s health was in jeopardy (“Roe v. Wade”, 1997: 312).
The Constitution does not directly address the issue but simply because the word ‘abortion’ does not appear, the Constitution is still the origin for legal precedence for this issue. The liberal interpretation of the Constitution in this matter (7-2 in favor) is at the heart of the legal issue. Because the Supreme Court has become more conservative in terms of overall ideology since 1973, many believe that soon this interpretation will closer resemble Justice Rehnquist’s dissenting opinion regarding Roe v. Wade. According to Rehnquist, “The so-called right to abortion is not what the majority makes it out to be. The Court must be wrong to find any basis for this right in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment” (Pavone 2005). There are those that argue that if the courts cannot decide when life begins and because the Roe decision has yet to be overturned even though it was not based on a solid constitutional reasoning, then the Congress, not the courts should decide matters such as this which have weighty moral implications. The Bible does not provide any assistance to the debate as it does not speak specifically of abortion, a practice that was seen as unthinkable even in those barbaric times.
Women would truly have the freedom of choice if not for the present way in which they are legally enslaved. The legality of abortions gives validity to this oppression and by the most inhumane of methods possible. It allows, even encourages, enormous pressures to be placed on a mother to kill her child. Legalized abortion deals a gruesome blow to the most vulnerable in our society for the convenience of those largely unaffected by the pregnancy.
Danforth, David N. (1986) Obstetrics and Gynecology. 5th Ed. Philadelphia: J.B. Lipincott. pp. 217, 257, 382-83.
National Right to Life Foundation. “Fetal Development: From Conception to Birth.” National Right to Life. (n.d.). Web.
Pavone, Frank. (2005). “Justice Rehnquist’s Dissent.” The Conservative Voice. Web.
Reardon, David C. (2002) “Aborted Women, Silent No More.” Springfield, IL: Acorn Books. pp. 11-21.
“Roe v. Wade: 1973.” Women’s Rights on Trial. 1st Ed. New York: Thompson Gale, 1997.
Zimmerman, Mary K. (1977). Passage Through Abortion. New York: Prager Publishers.