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One of the most controversial subjects a person can write about is a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy. I’m going to write about this difficult topic, because although it’s a polarizing issue it’s an important one. While abortion is not something I encourage, it’s a right I believe Americans should preserve for all women. In this essay, I will explain why preserving that right is a sensible, moral thing to do.
People who disagree with me will say, ‘A fetus is the same as a human.
Human beings have rights. The most fundamental of these rights is a ‘right to life.’ With that in mind, abortion is murder.’ While I respect anyone who wishes to dissuade women from having abortions, there are problems with that argument.
To begin with, some fetuses cannot survive outside of their mothers’ bodies. Unlike human babies, these fetuses are dependent upon their mothers’ bodies in every way. They receive the nourishment, oxygen, and life sustaining resources they need from their mothers’ bodies their hosts.
Even with advancements in science and technology, the youngest baby ever to survive premature birth was born 21 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy. While it might make an anti-abortion argument more convenient to humanize such fetuses, saying they are the same as babies human beings proven capable of surviving on their own is a stretch.
Secondly, even if a fetus is ‘the same as a human,’ being a human being does not entitle anyone to live by siphoning resources from someone else’s body.
As an example, consider an America with just two citizens. Imagine the first citizen contracting a disease that damages both of his or her kidneys. Now imagine the second citizen having two, healthy kidneys. Nothing about America’s Constitution or even America’s culture requires the second citizen to donate a kidney to the first. While it might be a nice thing to do, donating organs is not a practice most people argue in favor of requiring; rather, it’s a matter of personal choice. In fact, while many people say (in opinion polls) they support organ donation, those who sign up to donate are in the minority. It seems obvious, then, that no one has a legal or moral obligation to give up their own bodily resources to save the life of another.
Others may argue, ‘Abortion is dangerous.’ While this is true, so is pregnancy. In fact, complications from pregnancy are among the top ten causes of death among women ages 20 to 34. In addition, risks or complications of pregnancy include the potential for stroke and seizure. With that in mind, allowing abortions especially in cases where the lives of mothers are threatened is a moral choice. Certainly no woman ever consented to death simply by consenting to sexual intercourse.
Abortions as compared to pregnancy or other medical procedures are statistically safe. A recent study titled, ‘The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the United States,’ published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, concluded that 90 percent of abortions occur within the first three months (12 weeks) of pregnancies, and complications from these procedures are ‘rare.’
In summary, while the issue of permitting abortion in the United States is a hotly debated topic, it’s easy to see that many of the primary assertions by those who would deny abortion rights can be countered, rationally. Fetuses are not the same as human babies, especially before 21 weeks. Being human does not entitle anyone to live off of another person’s body; organ donation provides a reasonable analogy in favor of a pro-choice argument. Pregnancy can — and does — threaten the lives of would-be mothers from time to time, and it seems moral and sensible to provide such women with an opportunity to save their own lives, legally.
There’s one more argument the anti-abortion crowd often deploys. That argument goes like this, ‘No woman should allow herself to become pregnant without being fully prepared to carry a child to term, deliver that child, and raise that child to adulthood. Period.’ My response to that… ‘We can discuss that argument the minute you end the phenomenon of rape.’
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