The ‘Abortion Wars’ continue to heat up in America
By Robert Foreman
America’s ongoing debate over the issue of abortion is heating up in 2019 as some states have passed restrictive abortion laws known as ‘heartbeat bills.’ These states include Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana and Georgia. The legislation, also known as a ‘fetal heartbeat bill’, makes an abortion illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six or seven weeks into a pregnancy.
However, Alabama has gotten the most attention in recent weeks for their passage of what is being called the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the United States. Under the Alabama law, which does not go into effect until later in the year, any doctor that performs an abortion could be subject to a 99-year prison sentence. Alabama’s new law also does not make any exceptions for young girls and women who become pregnant due to incest or rape.
Not surprisingly, these anti-abortion laws are being met with numerous legal challenges by pro-choice advocates who believe these laws are unconstitutional. Of course, people on both sides of the abortion debate believe that these new anti-abortion laws are being aimed at overturning the landmark Supreme Court case of ‘Roe v. Wade’.
The now-famous ‘Roe v. Wade’ decision of 1973 stemmed from a woman ‘Jane Roe’, real name Norma McCorvey, who took action against Texas District Attorney Henry Wade. This was due to certain legal statues in Texas that essentially made abortion a crime in most cases. The Supreme Court ruled that those statutes that criminalized abortion were a violation of a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. Of course, ‘Roe v. Wade’ has only served to embolden both sides of the abortion debate instead of settling the issue.
Many pro-life advocates oppose abortion for religious reasons. They staunchly believe that life begins at conception and that no one should step in to interfere with God’s plan for life. In some cases, this belief extends to the strict opposition of any form of contraceptives. It seems strange that someone would be opposed to the use of contraceptives that could prevent an unplanned pregnancy. One would think that even the staunchest pro-life advocate would be in favor of someone using birth control to avoid getting pregnant. After all, if the unwanted pregnancies are avoided in the first place then that lessens the need for an abortion.
On the other hand, pro-choice advocates believe that a woman has the right to decide whether or not to have a child since it is her body and that is a personal choice. While pro-life supporters believe that life begins at the moment of conception, many on the pro-choice side tend to disagree. Some believe that if the pregnancy is terminated early in the process that you are only ‘killing some cells and not a human life.’ However, our bodies are made up of living cells and if those cells die then we die. So, when a pregnancy is aborted early in the process then something is being killed even if it is just cells and not a human being yet.
Now, as a man, I’ll never have to go through the process of carrying a child. While I consider myself to be pro-choice, I do not believe that abortion should be used as a form of birth control. When I was a teenager, I knew a girl who had multiple abortions that were all paid for by her mother. I knew another girl who gave herself a ‘home abortion’ with a wire coat hanger. Once I was approached by a friend who wanted me to loan him some money to pay for his girlfriend’s abortion. My response was ‘I didn’t make the kid and I’m not paying to get rid of it.’
However, I do find it odd that with all of the talk about abortion that there never seems to be any heated debate over whether a man should have a vasectomy. If a man gets himself ‘fixed’, so to speak, then he’s making the choice to not father any children. So, if men are allowed to make decisions about their own reproductive organs then it seems only fair that women should be given that same courtesy.
Regardless of where someone stands on the issue of abortion it should be agreed that a woman shouldn’t be forced to have to carry a child that was conceived through incest or rape. While the child that was conceived through those acts isn’t to blame should the mother really be forced to have to prolong the mental and emotional trauma if she doesn’t want to?
With America’s ‘abortion wars’ now heating up again on both the political and legal fronts, both sides will dig their heels in and stand their ground. Even if the opponents of abortion get their wish and legal abortions are abolished that doesn’t mean that abortions will end. It will only force women to take the dangerous route of getting ‘back alley abortions’ from unqualified doctors or finding ways to terminate the pregnancy on their own. This will only lead to more women and girls suffering serious injury and possible death.
The fight over abortion has raged for decades in America and will likely continue to be a contentious issue for decades to come. Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates make valid points that cannot be ignored. However, America is supposed to be the land of the free. That freedom means that a person should be allowed to make a personal choice regarding their own body regardless of whether anyone else agrees with it.
So, as the courts begin to weigh in on the abortion battle we should all ask ourselves one important question. Should our elected officials be focused on passing laws that benefit the public at large or simply passing laws that suit their own personal, moral and religious code of ethics? The answer to that question could have implications that will ripple through our nation for generations to come.