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In Defense of Abortion

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In Defense of Abortion

For hundreds of years women helped each other to abort their pregnancies. Without legal prohibitions, women in Europe and the United States provided abortions and trained each other to perform the procedures. In the past century different states had begun to outlaw any procedure that would terminate or avoid pregnancy. In 1973(?) the United States Supreme Court asserted a woman’s constitutional right to abortion in determining Roe v. Wade. After several decades of quiet disagreement, abortion has once again become a political hotbed. Under the direction of religious fundamentalists and fanatical anti-abortionists, this privacy right is in jeopardy. While both sides present strong arguments, these same positions have already been exhaustively debated and ruled upon by the Supreme Court. To turn back the clock on this issue would discriminate not only against women, but even more so against those in lower socio-economic groups. Therefore, the United States should protect a woman’s Constitutional Right to choose.

Outlawing abortions will not make them go away. It will only increase the dangers and discrimination that have been associated with illegal abortions in the past. Should abortions be banned, then qualified medical care for abortions will either cease to exist or will be extremely hard to find. Today there are many books and organizations that offer free advice and counseling regarding pregnancy options. Without such services women will rely on potentially uninformed or misinformed sources. In the 1950’s and 60’s secret underground organizations like the Jane Collective existed but were very hard to locate. “In the 1950’s approximately 1 out of every 3000 illegal abortions performed resulted in the death of the pregnant woman” (Fried 293). Many woman experienced “widespread abdominal infections often resulting in sterility or chronic and painful illnesses” (Fried 410). As this history indicates, making abortion illegal will result in more deaths or serious injuries to many women. Wealthy women were able to travel to countries and receive professional abortive procedures which the minority and lower class females could not afford. Margaret Sanger saw first hand the plight of poor women who were either victims of illegal abortions or locked out of a chance to thrive due to continuous pregnancies. She wrote, “On Saturday nights I have seen groups of from fifty to one hundred with shawls over their heads outside the office for a five dollar abortion” (Rowland 39). As a result of an illegal abortion, Secretary of State Shelley’s mother “lay in a pool of blood for days and nearly died from a perforated uterus” (Marinucci A1). For women who were able to obtain abortions after they were legalized, the threat of severe infections, hemorrhaging and fever from illegal abortions became virtually extinct. Women were able to find trained professionals and the cost was considerably less than illegal abortions. Women should not be denied the right to seek the best medical care possible.

For the past quarter of a century Supreme Court Justices have ruled that women have a constitutional right to abortion. The Courts have rules that contraception and abortion are protected under the right to privacy or liberty as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment says that no one will be denied “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (Alderman and Kennedy 55). Over many years liberty has come to include privacy especially in regard to family matters and reproductive decisions. Additionally, the 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection of the law. Since men do not get pregnant, then a woman should not be required to risk her life, her health, her job, or her career because she had sex when I man does not have to risk his. Under substantive due process the Constitutional Right to reproductive freedom is implicit under the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of our homes, person and possessions. This is reflected in Justice Stephen Breyer’s opinion that if “a woman did not have the right to choose an abortion then, in effect, the government was taking control or seizing her body. A woman’s Constitutional Right to reproductive is implicit” (Rowland 106). Rights to reproductive choice have been established and reestablished in many cases. The Supreme Court Judges have debated, argued and given their legal opinion. Abortions have been deemed as a right under the Constitution many times over many years. The Constitution cannot be pulled to fit the current political atmosphere. In every single case that has been heard before the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade, the Constitutional Right of women to have abortions has been upheld and should continue to be upheld.

The current antiabortion stand regarding abortion as murder is highly controversial. As there is no purely

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