By Lara Schuman ‘18
Abortion is one of America’s most controversial issues. Abortion is a very controversial issue because it challenges people’s core beliefs. The Supreme Court made abortion legal with Roe v. Wade in 1973. Roe v. Wade declared it a violation of privacy rights to deny women the right to have an abortion.
The Supreme Court allows states to put restrictions on abortion. For example, 26 states have laws that prohibit having an abortion after 24-26 weeks.
Any woman should have the right to decide what she wants to do with her body. If she does not want to bear a child, she should not be forced to. Women may also have health issues, which may cause their pregnancy to be dangerous. Also, a woman may become pregnant and may not be able to support a child. Although adoption is a possibility in some of these cases, the woman may not be able to get proper health care during her pregnancy.
Anti-abortion advocates believe that a fetus has rights, specifically the right to live. Many religions teach people to believe that women should not have abortions because it is morally wrong. The only exception to this is in cases of rape or incest. However, some religions do not believe women should not have abortions regardless of the circumstances. Not having abortion is a right as well, and those with the religious inclinations can follow their beliefs. However, we have a constitutional right to not be subjected to other group’s religious beliefs.
Many states, knowing they can’t make abortion illegal, have focused their efforts on restricting abortion as much as possible, to the point of making it virtually unavailable.
In “Abortion: Every Woman’s Right,” on November 1, 2013, Sharon Smith said, “Thirty-seven states do not provide abortion funding for poor women’s abortions. And 32 of these won’t even fund abortions for poor women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or in cases of a severely deformed fetus.”
Recently Ohio has taken steps towards imposing tighter regulations on abortions. The state senate proposed the Heartbeat bill, which would make it illegal to get an abortion after there was a fetal heartbeat. The fetal heartbeat is usually present after around six weeks after the woman becomes pregnant.
According to Christy Osler, a student Boston University in “7 Things to Know About the Ohio ‘Heartbeat Bill’” in USA Today on December 8, 2016, if this bill was passed it would be considered a fifth-degree felony resulting in jail time, for the doctor, if an abortion procedure was performed after a fetal heartbeat was detected.
The people who proposed this bill say that having an abortion at any time is be inhumane. However, at the time the embryo is be aborted it would not have developed into a fetus.
This bill would give women very little time to decide to have an abortion. Many women do not find out they are pregnant until very close to six weeks or after six weeks. Finding out too close to six weeks does not give the woman time to process what she wants to do, let alone make an appointment and if it is later, she would have no choice to have an abortion.
People have argued that there are signs of pregnancy during the first six weeks, such as, morning sickness, missed period, increased urination and physical showing. However, these signs may not occur during the first weeks of pregnancy. Even if women do show signs of pregnancy, many of these signs are also common to someone who is not pregnant.
The Heartbeat bill declares an arbitrary boundary to consider that a fetus is a “human life”. If the fetus is not viable outside of the womb, is it really a living human being? The beating of the heart is just one stage of development to becoming an independent being.
The governor of Ohio, John Kasich, vetoed the Heartbeat bill, however this bill may influence other states to propose more bills like this in efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. However, Kasich did sign another bill, which restricted women to getting abortion within 20 weeks of fertilization.
Abortion being legal benefits every woman regardless of whether she wants to get an abortion or not. It gives women the ability to choose what to do with their bodies. We need to retain our abortion rights.
Hillary Clinton said in an interview on NBC on April 3, 2016, “This is a choice, not a mandate.”