The conflict against abortion has been a major social problem not only in America but worldwide. There are two opposing ideologies, the pro-choice and the pro-life. The latter believes that as long as the law supports abortion and people continue to do it, the conflict shall continue. It is also true that even if the law bans it, abortion shall always be practiced. The conflict is not ending in the near future, and this is the reason I decided on the topic. This paper focuses on the historical background of abortion and highlights the key controversies that lead to the conflict against abortion.
Since 1973, abortion has been legal in the U.S. after the Supreme Court declared most of the abortion laws unconstitutional. Abortion was legalized during the first three months of pregnancy. To date, the decision has been opposed by various conservatives on various grounds. The key controversies are centered on the issues of life (such as when life begins and the right to life), the right for a woman to control her own body (the right to privacy), and social issues (such as poverty, abuse, overpopulation, the risks of abortion, and unwanted kids.
According to the pro-life, the beginning of life should not be subjected to any religious, personal, or moral debate; it is a simple biological fact. Life begins at conception, and every individual has the right to life. Abortion, therefore, takes away someone’s right to life (Gans & Balch, 2012). The pro-choice believes otherwise. Fetus is not a human being, thus, doesn’t deserve to be entitled to same rights as everyone else.
The right to privacy presents another conflict against abortion. Constitutionally, individuals have the right to control their own personal and private affairs without government intrusion. Women have the right to control their own bodies. This includes the right to decide whether one wants to have an abortion (BBC Ethics Guide, 2012). Abortion is an individual’s choice, and everyone has the right to choose. According to pro-life perspective, a woman may have the right to control her own body, but not the right to kill the fetus through abortion. They insist that the right to control one’s own body is limited and doesn’t include abortion.
Reasons behind abortion generate great conflict. The pro-choice believes that abortion may be carried out when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape. However, the pro-life advocates believe that two wrongs do not make a right. The tragic and horrible crimes such as rape (or taboos such as incest) should never be translated into another deliberate crime: killing. Furthermore, statistics show that only 1% of abortion cases result from rape or incest, thus, should not be used to justify it (Hopely, et al., 2006).
Economic status is another reason for abortion. Statistics show that almost 25% of abortion cases are due to the fact that the women cannot afford taking care of the babies due to poverty. Those against abortion argue that problems like poverty and job security should not be used as excuses for abortion. Killing the fetus doesn’t change the economic status of the woman (Hopely, et al., 2006).
Whether abortion is legal or illegal, women would still opt for it. Unwanted pregnancies would always drive women into abortion. The nine months of pregnancy, including mental and physical burden, can bar a woman from achieving her potential. Besides, banning abortion may put the women at greater risks as they would resort to illegal abortionists. The pro-life, however, argue that instead of abortion, the unwanted children can always be adopted or put in foster care clinics.
BBC Ethics Guide (2012). Arguments in favor of abortion. Retrieved September 7, 2012 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/mother/for_1.shtml
Gans, O., and Balch, M. S. (2012). “Abortion Responses.” National Rights to Life. Retrieved September 7, 2012 from http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/abortionresponses.html
Hopely, E., et al. (2006). The Abortion Debate. New York University. Retrieved September 7, 2012 from http://www.nyu.edu/classes/jackson/social.issues/papers/AbortGrB.html