A person should be able to make any decision they want concerning their own body. This idea seems rational and seems to make sense in the context of modern American culture. Many people make decisions every day regarding their own bodies, even permanent decisions such as the decision to get a tattoo or piercings. Individuals make other choices such as what they consume, which includes dietary choices, whether or not to drink alcoholic beverages, and even smoking. Adults are making decisions about intimacy: when to be intimate, who to be intimate with, and whether or not to use protection. Decisions regarding reproductive rights fall right into this area of intimacy. Not so long ago, in the 1960’s, it was illegal to take birth control pills in many states. Things have changed drastically since then.
Many of the examples listed above are decisions that many American take for granted and think of as an individual’s rights. One may judge another for the choices that they make, but these decisions are not generally brought into question in the legal world. When it comes to reproductive rights, however, there has always been much debate. Although birth control pills were met with resistance when they were first introduced, they eventually became accepted and now they are a completely normal thing for young American women to take. It is now widely accepted for women to choose to not become pregnant.
What happens if a woman becomes pregnant but does not want to have a baby? Is it her right to decide whether she becomes a mother or not? This is a highly debated and extremely grey moral area. This is an area where many people believe that another life is involved, which makes it not just a woman making a decision about her own body, but also making a decision for a person who has no voice of their own. Then there is a grey area about whether the growing fetus is actually considered a person or not, which leads to the question: at what point does life begin? Some people believe that life begins at conception, and there are varying answers that range all the way until the baby is actually born.
As a woman who has experienced motherhood and the love a mother has for a child, I cannot help but feel that my baby is alive as soon as it has a heartbeat. However, when I take a step back and look at things objectively, I know that if a woman goes into labor before she is 22 weeks pregnant, most doctors will not consider this a viable birth and medically it would be looked at as a miscarriage. At 22 weeks, the baby becomes viable for life and will be given a birth certificate, even if the baby only survives for a few short hours. This sets up a HUGE problem in trying to answer the question of when life begins. If a birth is not considered viable before 22 weeks, then wouldn’t an abortion at 20 weeks just be the equivalent of a forced miscarriage? That thought should be disturbing to everyone, but there are people who advocate late-term abortions.
Personally, as I have grown older, my views on abortion have changed with experience. With all the experience that I have now, I hope that my views on abortion don’t need to change anytime soon. I work at a high school and I have heard many students say that they are against abortion, but I have not heard any say that they are for abortion. As far as I can remember, I felt the same way about abortion when I was that young. As I got older, I began to feel that a woman should have the right to choose, but then I spoke with multiple ladies who were terminating a pregnancy, but it wasn’t their first time. I spoke to one lady who had four abortions. It became shocking and appalling that in an age where birth control is so readily available, that people would choose to use abortion as birth control.
We live in a culture that attempts to educate young women and young men about the risks of sex, including pregnancy. Young men and women are encouraged to use contraceptives if they decide to be sexually active. When there is so much information available, it is hard to believe that anyone gets pregnant on “accident”. I do understand that in the heat of the moment a condom may be forgotten, and if the woman is not taking some form of birth control, this may lead to an
unwanted pregnancy. I believe the woman should be allowed to decide that she does not want to continue the pregnancy, but then she needs to get on some form of birth control. The same person should not make the same “mistake” multiple times. Abortion should not be used as a form of birth control.
The biggest reason why I feel strongly that abortion should be available is for health reasons. Sometimes a pregnancy turns out to be unhealthy for the mother, so she has to terminate her pregnancy. This is actually a reason that is pretty widely accepted because it can lead to a life or death situation for the mother. This is not the same as when the unborn fetus is unhealthy, which I think is also a valid reason to terminate a pregnancy. A woman can find out that she is pregnant and feel so happy and so excited and go in to the doctor for a routine ultrasound and all it will take to shatter that woman’s world is just a look. The look on the tech’s face when she calls the doctor over to get a second look and the doctor tells an expecting mother that there is something wrong with her baby. They tell the mother the problem and give her some information in the office but they don’t try to sway decisions one way or another; they just give her the name of the defect and let her do her own research before making a decision. I do not think it would be fair to tell a woman that she cannot terminate her pregnancy when she just found out that her baby has a problem that is severe enough that there is a 90% chance of losing the baby. I don’t think it would be fair to tell that mother that she cannot choose to say goodbye to her baby now; to make her wait until she is farther along and more attached to the baby. That is emotional trauma that I don’t think a woman should be forced into going through and as long as abortion is legal, women won’t have to be forced into that trauma.