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ClarkieFinalPaperDraft

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 8 months ago

December 1, 2005

 

417 Curtin Hall

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

 

 

 

Dear Samuel Alito,

 

I am writing in response to the recent claims that you have been devising legal strategies to dismantle and eventually overturn the protections guaranteed under Roe vs. Wade. If you do replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, I know that the court will shift in the direction that jeopardizes the fundamental values of freedom and privacy that a vast majority of Americans want protected. I feel that it is very important that women do not loose any Constitution rights, especially the right to choose. Under the fourteenth Amendment, women were given the right to have an abortion, therefore, nothing should change with what stands today. I am asking you to please read the report attached that I wrote. My report defends the pro-choice side, with many valid arguments with ample evidence to back each up claim. I hope that this helps you understand the reasoning behind abortions and why they should stay legal. Thank you for your time.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Sarah Clarke

Student

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Project

The Abortion Controversy

 

 

Should a woman have the right to choose whether she wants to raise a child at a hard time in her life? What if a woman’s life is at risk if she continues to carry the baby? What if a woman is raped or is forced into incest? What if a girl is 16 years old and doesn’t have the time or money to raise a child? If abortions become illegal, then wouldn’t people participate in illegal abortions, which would be dangerous to the woman and the child? Or, contradicting this, is an abortion considered the murder of a human life? Is a fetus that is developed only in its first trimester considered a human life? As you can see abortion is a very controversial topic in society today. The actual definition of an induced abortion is the termination of an unwanted pregnancy by the destruction of the fetus (Simon, Rita J). The fetus or embryo may be terminated either through surgical or medical abortion. A partial abortion is when the procedure is done during either the second or third trimester because of the mother’s health, baby’s health, or for selectiveness of the child. These partial birth abortions are no longer an option in 23 states due to George Bush’s strong disagreement with them. In our government today, there are no laws against abortion, except for partial-birth abortions. In 1973, in the Roe vs. Wade case, the Supreme Court ruled that under the 14th Amendment in the United States Constitution women have the right to obtain abortions. I believe that these legality laws should remain in tact in our United States Government and that women should still have the right to choose how they treat their own bodies. In order to justify the current laws, I will evaluate them and explain that if they changed, it would hurt our society. If laws were made that made any type of abortion illegal, it would cause many deaths and injuries because women would choose to participate in them even though they are legal. I will explain that abortion isn’t murder, therefore is not unjust. Abortions are needed greatly in our society today, and without them, sooner or later people will have no say in anything at all. There are no flaws in our current laws, therefore no need to change them.

 

There are enormous physical, psychological, and socioeconomic consequences of an unwanted child. In order to dodge these consequences, the United States made abortions legal. An abortion is the termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus in a woman (dictionary.com) and in this definition there is nothing about “murder”. Abortions should remain legal in the United States due to the fact that it is not murder and this is because during the first trimester, the fetus is barely developed. There is no harm and aborting this fetus as long as it is prior to fetal viability, which is around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. Before fetal viability, the critical organs cannot sustain an independent life, and because its air sacs are not mature enough, the fetus wouldn’t even be able to be sustained with a respirator

(http://www.ppacca.org/site/pp.asp?c=kuJYJeO4F&b=13957). Because of these factors prior to fetal viability, in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade case, they said that a fetus was not a person and therefore not entitled to protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution until it reached this point of viability (Simon, Rita J). There is more scientific evidence that makes it clear that abortion is not murder. First of all, nine out of ten abortions are preformed within the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is still an embryo, which is nothing but a two inch “thing” that contains the basic cells to create a living thing. The fetus is only a potential human being and because the synapses are not yet well developed enough, it does not feel any pain, until the very end of pregnancy. Another reason why abortion shouldn’t be thought of as murder is because the most complex area of the brain, the cerebrum, is not formed until at least the sixth month (Stephen Currie). Another reason that abortion should not be considered murder is in the earliest stages of pregnancy, there is only a fertilized egg. Naturally, one third of fertilized eggs are aborted in some way, whether it is defective or just doesn’t survive the gestation period. In these cases, unless you want to consider nature “murdering” these fertilized eggs, there is no way you could consider induced abortions in the early stages murder (Stephen Currie). Along with abortion not being murder, another reason why abortion laws should not change is because it is currently very accurate and agrees with all rights of American citizens.

 

The idea of abortion can be rooted from as far back as ancient time. From then up until about 1945, abortions were permitted by traditional common law and for the most part and people were very supportive of them. Tides started to turn and that year, the NOW (National Organization for Women) put forth many efforts, which caused the first of many states to modify their abortion rights (Langley, Winston E and Fox, Vivian C.). After 1945 most states did not permit abortions, but that did not stop people from getting them. By the 1960’s, there was one abortion for every three or four live births. In these cases, physicians were disregarding anti-abortion laws, and many women sought out unskilled practitioners (Langley, Winston E and Fox, Vivian C). By this time 41 states permitted abortion only if the life of the mother was in danger; the remaining states did so if the mother’s physical health was in jeopardy, which was a little more lenient. In 1973, the most important case in the history of abortion was brought up, Roe versus Wade. In this case, Roe challenged the abortion laws in her home state, Texas, saying that they were unconstitutional. Roe won the case and the Supreme Court ruled that under the United States Constitution and the 14th Amendment, women have the right to have abortions. Since then, there have been a few rulings in the 1980s and 1990s that have cut back on some constitutional grounds guaranteed. An example of this was in 1989, when a case barred the use of public-funded buildings or public funded employees for abortions (Simon, Rita J.). Currently, individual states are permitted to impose restrictions on abortion throughout pregnancy if they do not burden a woman’s right to choose (United Nations). The only major change that has occurred is in May 1997, when the United States Senate created a law that banned partial-birth abortions, which fell to a president’s veto, but only to be passed with President Bush in 2003 (Simon, Rita J.). There are some cons to this bill because partial-birth abortions are sometimes necessary in order for the mother to survive. This should not be too much of a worry due to the fact that of around the 1,529,000 abortions per year, only 16,000 are done after the 20th week of pregnancy. As you can see, the current laws are very specific on each aspect surrounding abortions. Why is there a need change anything? States have the right to make their laws a little stricter by instituting partial-birth abortion laws and by instating a shorter waiting period allowed for abortions. Another thing that states are starting to do is make it mandatory for minors to have parental consent before getting an abortion. This controls the number of young minors participating in risky sex because they won’t want their parents knowing that they are having sex, let alone getting pregnant. From ancient times until now, people know what is right for them, and that is to keep abortions legal. Not only is the idea of legal abortions an old concept, but since the Roe versus Wade verdict, it is a precedented topic as well, with no room to change.

 

In the 1973 case, Roe versus Wade, there was a decision to make induced abortions legal in the United States, and since that verdict, only small aspects have changed. This case has set a precedent for these past 32 years. People have followed this precedent and regardless of their feelings, there hasn’t been much they could do to change the law. There is no way the United States could make abortions illegal and overturn the current laws that came out of the Roe vs. Wade case. In order for the Supreme Court to overturn such a strong, precedent case, they would have to have ample evidence. Yes, the pro-lifer does have evidence, but the pro-choicer has just as much evidence to back up the Roe vs. Wade verdict, so there is no way they could get this overturned. Not only is it unjust for the government to try to dismantle and overturn the laws that came out of Roe versus Wade, there is no way that it could ever happen with the precedent that has been set. If the laws were to change and abortions were made illegal, our country would be filled with crime and illegal activity.

 

If a law were passed that made abortions illegal, it would cause many disastrous, dangerous, and illegal things to happen. If made illegal, people would still have abortions, only under very risky circumstances. There is proof to back up this statement because of when abortions were illegal from around the 1950s to 1973. When anti-abortion laws were put in place, the mortality rate for an abortion was really high, lower than the rates for normal childbirth (Langley, Winston E and Fox, Vivian C). It is also now an established medical fact that until the end of the first trimester, mortality in abortions may be less than mortality in normal childbirth (Langley, Winston E and Fox, Vivian C). During this time the number of abortions did not decrease. There was up to an estimated 1.2 million illegal abortions per year between the 1800s and 1973 (http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/history_abortion.html). These abortions were called “back-alley” abortions and were not done it good atmospheres either which made it very dangerous. Many women died or suffered serious medical problems after attempting to self-induce their abortions or going to untrained practitioners who performed abortions with out-of-date methods or in unsanitary conditions. During this time, hospital emergency room staff treated thousands of women who either died or were suffering terrible effects of abortions provided without adequate skill and care (http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/history_abortion.html). As you can see, if abortions were made illegal, there is no reason why this wouldn’t happen again. Why would you want thousands of women to be harmed or killed when there is a safer way around it? Another problem that would stem from making abortions illegal is that women would inflict bodily harm on themselves, for example, beating or shooting themselves. If this woman really does not want to have a child, they could do anything in their “right mind” to destroy the fetus of the child. Once again this defeats the whole purpose of making abortions illegal. Another serious problem that would arise from abortions becoming illegal would be that orphanages and foster facilities would become even more overpopulated than they already are. Today, with abortions being legal, there are still thousands of children with no “real” homes or families. Only a small percentage of these kids are adopted into safe, comforting, supportive families. Why would you want a child to brought up unwanted and in a broken home with a mother who couldn’t support the child? I am not saying that abortions should be a means of birth control, but if Abortions were illegal, more unwanted children would be born, and these children would be more likely to be neglected and abused. It would be better off for these children to not have to experience this. If having an unwanted child brings enormous physical, psychological, and socioeconomic consequences, how will this child benefit in any way (http://www.pregnantpause.org/abort/choicarg.htm)?

 

My final argument that justifies why abortions should remain legal is that women should have the right to choose. Whether it is their bodies, their families, their jobs, according to the United States Constitution, they have the right to choose what they think is best for them. A woman has the right to her own body. Under the 14th Amendment protects all civil liberties of all American citizens, by prohibiting states from denying any person of his “life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying to any person within their jurisdiction in the equal protection of the laws.”

Through this amendment, a woman should have the personal freedom to decide if she is ready to have an unwanted kid, this is not the government’s job. Reproduction is a personal right that should not be influenced by anyone but the parents. Under this law, it allows the mother to make mistakes and learn from them. Having an abortion is not going to be an easy thing for anyone, and if she learns that she made a mistake after she had the abortion, then she will suffer. There is no need for the government to get involved in this and make the mistakes for you, before you even know you are making a mistake. These ideas are also protected under the 9th Amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”. This means that a woman has the right to privacy, regardless of morals, or other influences.

 

Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in the world today. Everyone has his/her own individual opinion, however, a woman's body is hers and hers alone. Nobody has the right to make her do something that she does not desire. The Supreme Court has stated it is the women's right to have an abortion, if she so chooses, according to Roe vs. Wade. In our government today, there are no laws against abortion, except for partial-birth abortions. In 1973, in the Roe vs. Wade case, the Supreme Court ruled that under the 14th Amendment in the United States Constitution women have the right to obtain abortions. I believe that these legality laws should remain in tact in our United States Government and that women should still have the right to choose how they treat their own bodies. In order to justify the current laws, I will evaluate them and explain that if they changed, it would hurt our society. If laws were made that made any type of abortion illegal, it would cause many deaths and injuries because women would choose to participate in them even though they are legal. Abortion is not murder, therefore is not unjust. Abortions are needed greatly in our society today, and without them, sooner or later people will have no say in anything at all. There are no flaws in our current laws, therefore no need to change them.

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