Abortion in the United States

Abortion in the United States

I realize this is dangerous territory.  But part of the reason the topic of abortion is so divisive is because we don’t talk about it.  It is an emotionally charged issue.  That being said, I think we, as Americans, need to be willing to discuss it.

Below, I will be exploring several things.  

First, I will be sharing some information about our country’s view on abortion.  The data comes from Gallup and Pew Research Center polls.  The information includes pro-choice vs pro-life as well as differences of opinion when it comes to the mother’s well-being and the child’s well-being.

Second, I will be doing my best to present the arguments for both pro-life and pro-choice.  Like yourself, I have my own opinions and it may be reflected in my presentation of the arguments.  I’ll do the best I can to be objective in this section.

Lastly, I will be sharing my own opinion on abortion and what I believe the future holds for this topic.


Pro-life vs Pro-choice

Abortion views in America

The large gap in 1995 appears to be an outlier.  Since 1995, the numbers have been remarkably consistent.  Roughly 45% identify as pro-choice, and same for pro-life.    

Abortion view by age

Different views in different circumstances

Rape/Incest

When asked whether abortion should be legal or illegal in cases of rape/incest, 72% believe abortion should be legal in the first trimester in cases of rape/incest.  In cases of rape incest, 59% believe it should be legal in the third trimester.

Health of the Mother/Child

People are more likely to support abortion when it is the mother’s life or wellbeing in jeopardy.  When it comes to issues such as the child having potential issues, the support drops.

  • Over 80% believe abortion should be legal when the mother’s life or her physical well-being is in danger with about 15% believing it should be illegal
  • Only about 50% believe abortion should be legal when the child’s mental or physical well-being may be impaired.

Looking at this from the pro-life perspective, it does show that people value the life already in existence more than the potential life.  It could also be looked at in a similar fashion as self-defense.  If the mother’s life is in danger then the abortion can be more readily justified.

If you care to explore the views in different scenarios, check out the Gallup information yourself.

I’m going to move on to my summary of the “two sides” on abortion.  As with any discussion, there are varying degrees between the two extremes.


The Debate

Pro-life

To sum it up, the pro-life crowd believes that the fetus is a life, usually from conception.  Because it is a life, it should have the same rights as any other individual.  The rights of the mother stop at aborting the child because it is impeding the right of the child.

Pro-choice

This is the belief that the mother’s rights supersede the rights of the unborn child.  The child is nursed to health by putting immense stress on the mother, both physically and mentally.  No one, including the fetus, has the right to demand this stress of the mother.

Misrepresentation

This is where the abortion debate goes awol and hostile.  Just like other passionate debates, abortion discussions can easily devolve into mudslinging and trying to define the other side, especially at the national level.  Neither side can clean their hands of this trapping.  It is important to note that a lot of this misrepresentation is because of the different language the sides use.  

The pro-life crowd, as stated above, believes that the fetus is a child and should be protected.  Therefore, when they throw around the term baby killer and address Planned Parenthood as a genocidal fetus factory, they are describing it from their point-of-view.  Individuals who believe the unborn is a life and should be protected see abortion is an abhorrent act to be discouraged or even condemned.

On the flip side, the pro-choice crowd believes that the fetus has no rights.  The rights of the mother reigns supreme.  Because of this perspective, it is not uncommon for them to throw around pro-birth or anti-woman labels.  As a result of the divide being wider among political lines, it is also said that pro-lifers want “government so small it fits into the uterus.”

The only takeaway I want to share with this is that both are ineffective.  It only reinforces the divide.  

If we are to discuss abortion, we need to do it from a perspective of understanding.  Rather than grabbing at the labels, we need to discuss.  As an example, I am going to share my own personal views on abortion.  You are free to agree or disagree, and I would love to hear your thoughts.  Either way, I hope that I present my case effectively.


My view on abortion

I hate the pro-life and pro-choice labels, but I have used them because that is the language we’ve adopted.  They will be avoided going forward.  

I am going to address three questions and suggest you think about them as well:

  1. Is the fetus a life?
  2. In what situations is abortion acceptable/unacceptable?
  3. What role does the government have in abortion legislation?

Is the fetus a life?

Yes, the fetus is a life in my eyes.  The unborn child should have its rights respected.  I believe that the intentional abortion of a fetus is denying its natural right to life.  Just as we don’t have the right to impede on each other’s rights, we don’t have the right to impede on the unborn’s life.

In what situations is abortion acceptable/unacceptable?

The only situation that I believe abortion is justified is when the mother’s life is in danger.  When the mother’s life is in serious jeopardy due to her carrying a baby, then I see it as a form of self-defense.

Almost any situation beyond an immediate threat to the mother’s life, abortion is unacceptable and ghoulish.

The financial burden is not a reasonable justification for theft or assault, so why should it be justified to abort a life?

As for abortions in cases of rape or incest, I don’t have much of an opinion.  I don’t support abortion in those situations, but I also can’t say it is unacceptable.  I’ll just leave it at that.

What laws do I support?

As you will see in the final section, I don’t believe our country is ready to adopt any major legislation in the realm of abortion.  However, there is one piece of legislation that has been widely accepted for several decades.  That legislation is the Hyde Amendment.

After the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment which barred tax dollars from funding abortions.  

I support the Hyde Amendment but believe it needs to be reaffirmed.  No tax dollars should go to any institution that provides elective abortions.  If tax dollars go to an organization that provides elective abortions then they are funding abortion.  If $100 goes to Clinic A for other services, that frees up $100 of Clinic A’s finances to be redirected towards abortion.  In effect, any tax dollars going to clinics of this kind are funding abortions.  It is an oversight which needs addressing.


The future of abortion in America

I’m going to start this section off with a weird disclaimer: I do not believe that abortion and slavery are comparable in their effects on the country.  This is an important disclaimer because I believe that public opinion and legislation of abortion is on a similar trajectory.

Right now, it appears that abortion is in the spot that slavery was during the American Revolution and the framing of our Constitution.  Although a very passionate topic, it is mostly left alone.

We have abortion abolitionists, but the nation is not ready to completely abolish.  We have abortion supporters, but the nation as a whole is not willing to expand it.

Overturning Roe v Wade comes up during political discourse, especially during Supreme Court vacancies.  Abolitionist beliefs came up during political discourse during our founding.  They are/were brought up to excite the passions of the people, on both sides.

I don’t believe that the debate on abortion will result in a civil war, but I do believe that the abortion issue will be resolved by invoking the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.


Recommitting to the Declaration of Independence

Throughout our history, the Declaration has always been the focal point of major progress.  Lincoln referred to it repeatedly towards the end of slavery.  Martin Luther King Jr. used it as the guiding light towards the Civil Rights Act.  Our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the reaffirmation of our inalienable rights will lead to abolishing abortion.

In 1865, slavery was abolished in the United States.  152 years later, we look back at slavery and realize how barbaric and unjust it was.

I believe that 150 years from now, the citizens of this nation will look back at abortion and have those same thoughts.

Thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed this, please give it a like and share.  Even if you disagree, consider leaving a comment.  I am always open to discussing ideas.  On the passionate issues like this, it will probably be more common to agree in disagreement than sway each other.  Disagreement should not discourage the discussion.  This debate will continue beyond our own lives.


 

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