A Woman's Rights, Or The Right To Life?

  • Category: Govt & Politics
  • Words: 1462
  • Grade: 100

Abortion has been a heavily debated topic for many years in all aspects of society. Political parties, religions, and the federal government all have firm, and ever opposing views, regarding pro-life decisions. Growing up in American society, I have observed abortion from many different perspectives: attending a catholic high school, friends faced with abortion decisions, and less intimately on television. Everyone has their own reasons for the termination of a pregnancy, but in the end they are all committing the same irreversible, irresponsible, cowardly act of terminating their own pregnancy. I personally believe that abortion is morally, scientifically, and legally wrong. Worldwide millions of babies are killed each year. In the United States over 40 million babies have been killed in the 28 years since abortion was legalized and more than 1.3 million are killed each year (Solinger 87).
        Religion plays a huge role in the pro-life abortion movement. Constitutionally the United States government is purposefully separated from any type of organized religion. In our modern society, the teachings of any religion should not and do not dictate the laws of our government. However, our government official's moral values are influenced by their own religious beliefs, just as our decisions are in our own every day lives. Religion shouldn't be ignored in political decisions, because by affecting our leaders and the people they represent, religion impacts the laws that govern our nation.
        I'm personally a member of the Roman Catholic Church and far from an expert on other religions; however, Judaism discourages against abortion and many Protestant groups have condemned abortions along with the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church is one of the largest organized religions in the world and with that comes a great
deal of influence. Many people turn to the Bible for an answer from God, but there is no definitive answer. Any church-going person can tell you that the Bible is a symbol of God's will, not a rulebook. When looking for answers in the holy Bible, it's important to remember religion is a matter of doing God's will, no matter what the consequences, for the mother, for the unborn, or for society. God's will would best be summed up in the teachings of the Ten Commandments. When analyzing these commandments we are taught values such as honor the family, live life truthfully, and most relevant is thou shall not kill, and those who break these commandments, will be liable to judgement.
        Morals are dictated by the beliefs of a society. Most law-abiding citizens treat life as invaluable, irreplaceable, and as something that should be protected. This is ever so evident in our society after the attacks on September eleventh, as our government is implementing new legislation to protect the American citizens.
        Our federal laws are in contradiction by allowing abortions to remain a legal act. Many laws have been enacted to protect the rights of an unborn child, and still the law protects abortion rights. In certain states a women who takes illegal drugs can be prosecuted for delivering a controlled substance to a minor (Solinger 167). In 1974, the US Congress voted unanimously to delay the capital punishment of death for pregnant women until after the delivery of the baby in order to preserve the baby's life, regardless of which stage of pregnancy she was in (National Right for Life). This law was enacted to protect the fetus that wasn't responsible for its mother's actions, and therefore wasn't also punished. However, when a woman is impregnated through rape, the fetus is not responsible for the biological father's actions. So, why in this case is it legal for the fetus
to be punished by death? Abortion is a law that infringes on the most sacred right of all, life.
        In my opinion, human life biologically begins at the moment of conception. In the abortion debate this is widely contested, but an undeniable truth. At the moment of conception a new human life is created in his or her complete form. This child has a genetic code that is unique to the individual. No other human being ever has, or ever will match the same genetic code. Pro-choice activists argue that the baby is merely a part of the mother as though it was as simple as her appendix or spleen, and can be so readily removed and disposed of with little or no regard. In my opinion, the idea that the fetus has his or her distinct genetic code at conception constitutes it as a human being. If left to develop in the womb, the child has all the necessary tools to grow into a human being, an individual just as you and I, independently of the womb. Just because a fetus is dependent on the mother for oxygen and food doesn't constitute termination of a human life. People concur injuries every day that result in the use of a respirator and feeding tubes in order to save their lives. Does this mean since their codependent on someone or something else to live we have the right to pull the plug with no legal or moral consequences, when if given time they would make a full recovery?
        When we look at the development of a fetus, we see it resembles every aspect of a human being during the legal time frame for an abortion. According to law, abortions must take place in the first trimester. Based upon The First Trimester, by James Phillip, we will take a look into the first three months of a fetus's growth. Two weeks after conception the embryo has a developing brain and fundamental heart. Three weeks into
pregnancy the baby has a working heart, vertebrae are beginning to develop, and eyes, ears, and lungs are starting to develop. By the sixth week the baby has a fully developed vertebral column, ribs, four chambered heart, fingers, and nostrils. By now the baby has begun to develop a nervous system and brain waves can be recorded. Death is often defined as the cessation of brain waves; this in itself proves a fetus is a life. In week seven the baby has developed a bladder, pancreas, kidneys, tongue, larynx, and muscles begin to appear. By week eight all major bodyparts have developed or are developing. Week nine the baby can now sense pain. By week eleven the baby has fingerprints that will identify him or her for life. In week twelve gender is now identifiable and finally in the last week of the first trimester the baby has fully developed legs and can kick, sleep, and move its head. If this doesn't constitute a living person in your mind, then maybe you're emotionally dead.
        In today's society virtually everyone has an opinion about abortion. An unwanted child is a pitiful thing and the consequential social problems, including single motherhood, financial poverty, and child abuse, don't have easy solutions. However, the thought of terminating a fetus that in time will be a living human being independent of the womb, should give us something to reconsider. As this topic is debated I see no progress being made in the near future. The reason for this seems to be pro-choice chooses to focus on all of the social problems surrounding the issue; while, pro-life focuses on protecting the right of life for someone whom can't defend himself or herself. It seems as though one group is more interested in women's rights versus the right to life.

This entire issue comes down to the question: is the fetus a person? If you believe it's not a person, it's simply part of the female body and subject to her discretion. With this viewpoint making abortions illegal would be an infringement upon women's rights. If, however, you believe the fetus is a person you are then obligated to protect that life. Even if that means society needs to limit the options of the mother and deal with the resulting social issues.
A women faced with an unwanted pregnancy understands to some degree that she has created another human being. Her desire to terminate the pregnancy comes from a selfish act of self-preservation. She may feel as though her life will never be the same, and it won't, with or without the abortion. Feelings of her unfulfilled dreams don't justify any reason she may point to, or even begin to rationalize the death of an unborn baby. Whatever psychological turmoil a mother may face stemming from an abortion comes from understanding that she is ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of her developing child. In the end she is making a choice between her life or the child's life, a decision that has only one definitive and absolute answer, the right to life.         

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