10 Reasons Abortion Should be Illegal
America has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. However, ever since it became legal in 1973 Abortion has been one of the most hotly contested topics in both American day to day life and American politics. Pro-choice, Pro-life everybody seems to have an opinion and some people are not afraid to use violence against those who disagree with them.
In a country where feelings are strong it seems to be impossible for those on either side of the fence to sit down and have a rational debate on the issue, sadly the unborn fetus at the center of the dispute and most affected by the debate is unable to speak up.
We do not wish to address the difficult questions of pregnancies which result from rape or incest – these should form a separate category and be considered on their own merits. With that in mind and in an attempt to bring rational discussion to this issue we have listed our top 10 reasons why abortion is wrong and should be illegal.
10. The Legal Decision in Roe v Wade is Wrong
Roe v Wade was a landmark in 1973 and paved the way for abortion to become legal in the US. The decision declared that it was a ‘Fundamental Right’ for a woman to have unrestricted access to an abortion in the early weeks of pregnancy and the restricted ability to abort in later weeks. The decision was based on a right to privacy which was declared by the Supreme Court (7-2) to cover the right to terminate a pregnancy. However later Supreme Court Justices have considered that the 1973 Supreme Court went beyond its remit because the US constitution has no guarantees as to privacy and abortion is an issue for legislators not judges.
Many US States felt uncomfortable with this decision and have passed laws to require women seeking an abortion to pass through several steps. This can include having a pre-termination ultrasound or attending a counselling session. The pro-choice movement is uncomfortable with these state restrictions and characterizes several States as ‘hostile’ to abortions. However these restrictions, when seen in a worldwide context, are not unreasonable. In many countries similar to the US access to abortion is much more difficult; in Ireland, for example, abortion is illegal in all but the direst of circumstances such as where the health of the mother is compromised by the pregnancy.
9. Abortion denies the fetus the right to life as safeguarded in the US Constitution
When the United States became an Independent Nation the Founding Fathers declared ‘All men are created equal…with certain unalienable Rights…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution provides that no person should be ‘deprived of life’ without recourse to the due process of the law. At conception a new life comes into being, one with a unique genetic code and the unlimited potential for greatness that is latent in all humans, the development into a baby, then toddler, child, teenager, adult is inevitable.
However, aborting a fetus deprives it of life and the ability to enjoy its future liberty and the pursuit of happiness. An abortion deprives a fetus of life without any recourse to due process. The fetus is unable to defend itself. Roe v Wade held that a fetus does not become a person until the moment of birth. This can, however, lead to bizarre situations where doctors in one room of a hospital will be attempting to save the life of a premature baby while doctors in the next door operating theatre are performing an abortion on a healthy fetus of the same age
Attempts have been made to persuade law-makers to declare an unborn fetus a person for the purposes of the 14th amendment but they have not, to date, been successful. Since 2010, however, increasing restrictions on access to abortion have been implemented in a number of US States.
8. Abortion is Murder
Unborn babies are protected from murder and violence by the federal act ‘Unborn Victims of Violence’. The act considers an unborn baby to be a human being and imposes penalties on those who inflict harm on a fetus otherwise than through an abortion. In addition to the Federal Act 38 US states have separate fetal homicide laws. The laws of 23 of those states protect the fetus from the very earliest stages of pregnancy, regardless of viability outside the womb.
These laws make it clear that most people find the killing of a fetus to be repugnant and its life worthy of protection. These same laws, however, permit a mother, one of the two people in the world who should be protecting the fetus and putting its interests above anyone else’s, to have an abortion. If it is unacceptable for a stranger to kill a baby why is it acceptable for a mother and her doctors to do so?
The father of an unborn baby is considered a victim when it is killed by a third party but has no rights at all to prevent or argue against the mother of his child having an abortion.
7. Abortion is not Contraception
US statistics show that 21% of all viable pregnancies end in abortion and half of all the women arranging an abortion have had at least one abortion in the past. In 2010 over 8% of all women having an abortion had had three or more in the past. This is not just a problem in the US, in the UK (where condoms, hormonal contraception of the woman’s choice and emergency ‘morning after’ contraception is provided free of charge by the state) multiple abortions, sometimes as many as 9 are not uncommon.
These days a full range of contraceptives are available to both men and women together with training to ensure that they are used effectively. It is, however, not uncommon for these methods to fail when used incorrectly. The statistics for multiple abortions therefore suggest that some women prefer to take the risk of pregnancy to having to pay attention and use birth control effectively. This is backed up by the abortion statistics for the year following the decision in Roe v Wade where the number of conceptions was shown to have risen by approximately 30% but the number of live births fell by 6% indicating that abortion was seen by some as an insurance policy and an acceptable form of birth control.
Some extreme pro- choice supporters publically promote this stance. They consider that, as an unwanted pregnancy can happen easily, even when contraception is being used (half of all US pregnancies are accidental), abortion is the only reliable form of birth control.
Should a parent’s failure to follow instructions result in the death of a fetus innocent of any wrongdoing?
6. Selective Abortion is discriminatory and the modern day equivalent of eugenics
When we look back at the Eugenics movement of the early part of the last century most modern people are appalled. Eugenics legitimized condemnation of mixed race marriages and called on society to ‘weed out’ those who were less than perfect. Several schools of thought were promoted that suggested that undesirable traits such as a tendency towards criminality could be bred out of humanity. In countries such as the US and the UK the ‘poor’ were seen as particular targets for eugenics and in the US social undesirables were sterilized by force.
These countries were not, however, alone. Under the Nazis Germany took the concept of Eugenics to an extreme which resulted in forced sterilizations and later in all those who failed to meet set criteria being set to concentration and death camps. This included not only Jews but also gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally disabled and so on.
These days discrimination on the grounds of race and gender is illegal. Full rights and protections are also afforded to those with disabilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990. These days pregnant women are given access to a range of screening tests designed to monitor her health and the health of her baby. These tests can identify heartbreaking conditions like Edward’s Syndrome, many of which are incompatible with a healthy or pain free life after birth, many parents who receive the news that their babies are suffering from such conditions make the difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy and they should certainly not be criticized for the hard but legal decision they have taken. However care has to be taken with these tests, they are not always accurate and if used by untrained or unregulated personnel can give false results which result in a distraught parent arranging for an abortion of a healthy fetus.
One of the conditions regularly screened for is Down Syndrome, while this chromosomal disability can present with a wide range of symptoms and effects many babies born with Down Syndrome are able, with support, to go on and lead a happy and productive life with their families, some are even able to attend main stream school, hold down a job and live independently. However, despite this more than 80% of pregnancies where babies are diagnosed as having Down Syndrome are subsequently aborted. These abortions have reduced the US rate of Down Syndrome births by 15% between 1989 and 2005 when, had testing not been in place, the number of Down Syndrome births would have risen by over 30%.
Legislation prevents any person, from the moment of birth, from being discriminated against but, it seems, these protections do not extend to unborn children. We may condemn the practice of eugenics but we enable it by the back door when we allow selective termination to take place.