ABORTION as conflicts between rival interpretations of

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Abortion refers to termination of pregnancy with the consent of the mother. Therefore even when the mother herself is demanding abortion, pro-lifers maintain that termination must not be allowed because it violates basic rights of the unborn child. Pro-choice quarter on the other hand, advocates a mother’s right to health and feels that an unwanted child would only lead to numerous economic, social and emotional problems for the woman. The paper therefore addresses both sides of the issue and also briefly mentions that the role of the Supreme Court in this area.
Abortion is one of the most critical issues on each American administration’s agenda. This is because while every politician would love to avoid the issue altogether, public wants to know exactly what the government’s stand on this particular issue is so that they would be able to judge it better. This is quite strange how stance on abortion has become an important criterion for judging a government and it can either turn people in favor of it or completely against it depending on how government interprets its own stand. From this it is evident that people attach great degree of significance to this issue because it somehow is related to their sense of morality and tolerance. Let us understand what exactly abortion is and what is the significance of Court in this particular area of conflict.

Abortion refers to termination of pregnancy at any stage and people are divided on this issue because the pro-abortion quarter thinks right to termination is connected with women’s basic rights while the pro-life quarter maintains that we must also think of the child that is growing in the womb. Jerry Z. Muller (1995) writes:
“In contemporary American political debate, usually treated as conflicts between rival interpretations of individual rights. Those who favor abortion most often invoke the “right to choose” of the woman who has conceived the fetus. Those who oppose abortion focus on the “right to life” of the fetus.” (Muller, 1997: 27-28)
There is little that one quarter can do to convince the other that its stance is more appropriate because they both have valid arguments in favor of their views on the subject. But it pays to enlighten ourselves regarding both sides of the issue because if we have an open mind, deeper knowledge of the subject might help us at reaching a more a more objective balanced conclusion.

This quarter maintains that every child whether born or unborn has a right to life and health; therefore it is absolutely immoral for her mother to deny him this right especially when the child has not even entered the world. In other words, this section feels that if a mother has the right to life and if she could terminate the pregnancy because of her health, how she could be allowed to deny her unborn child his right to life. It is extremely important to understand that there is nothing wrong with the views of this quarter because though it may appear to be based on religious beliefs; this view is actually developed on the lines of civil rights. There are certain people in this section that would probably be atheists and still against abortion, this is because they feel that termination of pregnancy is another name for murder. They have adopted several ways of making their presence felt. Not only do they repeatedly participate in rallies and demonstration, but also some extremists among this group would actually target anti-abortions clinics and there have been several cases of arson and violence. David Whitman (1998) writes about anti-abortion violence that has peaked during the last few years:
“While most types of antiabortion violence have ebbed over the years, disruptive tactics like picketing, hate mail, and bomb threats reached record highs in 1997. The most common tactic, by far, is picketing–NAF reported more than 7,500 incidents of picketing during 1997. Clinics in 21 of 43 states surveyed by NAF last year reported weekly or daily protests.”
The pro-choice movement on the other hand advocates rights of the mother. It maintains that a child in the womb is not a fully developed person and therefore his rights are not as important as that of the mother and similarly it is her life and health, which must be kept in mind, when decision regarding pregnancy is being made. (Gordon, 1995) Logically speaking, this group appears to have more valid and reasonable arguments in favor of its stance in the subject but there are certain extremes, which are to be avoided by this group. This is because it is the extreme views, which have turned pro-lifers against pro-choice group. The extreme involves not considering the unborn child a human being even in the final stage of pregnancy. It is true that a child cannot be called a person in prenatal stage, but still he is a fully developed human being when pregnancy has reached the end of its term. Therefore to support abortion at this stage is absolutely wrong because it would be the same thing as killing a human being.

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This group also maintains that every child coming into this world should be wanted’. In other words, they feel that if a mother wants to terminate pregnancy, it means that she doesn’t want the child she is carrying and therefore bringing such a child into the world would only result in numerous problems as the child would not be provided with loving care that he deserves. But this argument appear to be a rather weak one because we have noticed that many unwanted children have gone on to live a very productive life and thus if we kill all of them, we would probably also kill people like Beethoven too. This is because Beethoven was born when her mother already had 14 children, father had a chronic drinking problem and the family was living well below the poverty line. In this case, most of us today would have suggested an abortion but then we would have killed the greatest symphony creator.

Jerry Muller explains the major difference between the stand of two groups on the issue of abortion:
“The right-to-life movement regards human “life” as a good–a claim most of us are broadly inclined to accept. But the right-to-life movement goes further. It regards all human life as a good, regardless of the mental, emotional or intellectual capacities of the individual. To right-to-lifers, keeping alive anencephalic infants (children missing all or most of their brains) is a moral imperative. The right-to-life movement regards every degree of human life as equal to the most complete development of human life: that is why the moral status of a fetus two weeks into its development is the same as that of children and adults.” (Muller, 1997: 27-28)
It is important to know how the Court has played an important role in this issue. In fact it was the Supreme Court decision of 1973 that turned this issue into major subject of political, legal and social debate. It was in 1973 that Roe vs. Wade case was brought to the Supreme Court where it was decided that abortion on demand should be legalized in all 50 states of the country. This was the first major decision in this area and also the most critical one. (Pollit, 1997)
The Court maintained that women should be allowed to terminate her pregnancy on the grounds of health. But even then, Court was not referring to physical health alone and gave women the right to interpret health’ in ways she deemed fit. Court said abortion was allowed, “. . . in the light of all factors physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” Doe vs. Bolton, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 70-40,
IV, p. 11, Jan. 1973
The Court also considered the pro-choice quarter regarding birth of an unwanted child and decided that abortion could be performed if the mother felt she couldn’t give proper care and attention to the child she is carrying.

“Maternity or additional offspring may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by childcare. There is also the distress for all concerned associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically or otherwise, to care for it…”.” Roe vs. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 70-18, p. 38, Jan. 1973
Since then several amendments have been made to the original decision and it has been turned into a more pro-life one in nature. This is because the successive administrations and judiciary officials felt that original decisions did not take into account issue of dignity of human life. And therefore introduced amendment of paramount importance in 1981 that altered the Supreme Court decision of 1973 to include pro-life arguments.

Now that we have examined the issue closely, it is clear that abortion is one of the most pressing contemporary issues facing the political, legal and social circles. While each person may have his own reasons for supporting or condemning abortion, still it would be important to find a middle ground for permanent resolution of this issue. We cannot remain impartial on this subject because it is certainly connected with our moral and religious values, but in order to avoid a major conflict, we must advocate tolerance and patience. No matter how we feel about the issue, it is certainly not socially or morally acceptable to hurt or harass people with conflicting views.
1)Muller, Jerry Z, The conservative case for abortion: family values vs. family planning. (The New Republic: 1995). 27-28
2)David Whitman, Abortion: the untold story. (U.S. News ; World Report: 1998), 20.

3)Gordon, Doris, Abortion and Rights: Applying Libertarian Principles Correctly Vol. 1, (Contemporary Women’s Issues Database: 1995). 134-140.

4)Katha Pollit, Abortion in American History; (The Atlantic Monthly: 1997). 111-115.
5)ROE V. WADE COURT DECISION: Available Online: http://www.roevwade.org/index2.html, (Accessed 16th July 2005)

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Abortion given the choice of abortion. In 1973,

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Many have pondered upon the meaning of abortion. The argument being that every child born should be wanted, and others who believe that every child conceived should be born (Sass vii). This has been a controversial topic for years. Many people want to be able to decide the destiny of others. Everyone in the United States is covered under the United States constitution, and under the 14th Amendment women have been given the choice of abortion. In 1973, Harry A. Blackmun wrote the majority opinion that it’s a women’s right to have an abortion. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Even though these people have been given the right, the case is not closed. Pro-life activists carry a strong argument, and continue to push their beliefs. They feel so strongly about these beliefs that violence has broken out in some known instances. Pro-choice activists, on the other hand, also carry very strong points. They believe that the child inside them is their property and it’s life doesn’t be until birth. In 1973, the United States Supreme Court decided that as long as the baby lived in the womb, he or she would be the property of the mother. Because of this decision almost every third baby conceived in America is killed by abortion, over one and a half million babies a year (Willke vii). Many countries have followed our decision on the abortion issue and some of these include Canada, England, and France. Other countries still believe abortion should be illegal, they include Germany, Ireland, and New Zealand. Although many believe that abortion is a women’s choice, abortion should be banned because its immoral and life begins at conception.

Abortion is the choice of a women whether or not she want’s to receive one. Under the 14th Amendment’s “personal liberty” women are given the right to receive an abortion. The 14th Amendment’s concept of “personal liberty” and restrictions on state action is enough to allow a women’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The right to choose to have an abortion is so personal and essential to women’s lives that without this right women cannot exercise other fundamental rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution (Paltrow 72). The state can’t interfere in the private lives of a citizen. Without the right to choose an abortion the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of liberty has little meaning for women. With the right to choose abortion, women are able to enjoy, like men, the rights to fully use the powers of their minds and bodies (Paltrow 73). A man can withdraw from a relationship as soon as he finds out about a pregnancy. There is no question of his involve t after that, he has made his choice. It is only fair to say that women should be given the same choice. If one doesn’t want to hold the responsibilities of a child than she should be able to have the choice of abortion in her options. ” Because contraceptives fail, and because they are not always available or possible to use, abortion is necessary if people are to be able to determine whether and when to “bear or beget a child”(Paltrow 72). Couples choose the alternative of abortion so they can start or expand their families when they feel most ready and able to care for them. Women choose to have an abortion because pregnancy and childbirth can prevent them from keeping their jobs, from feeding their families, and from serving others in ways they consider necessary and appropriate. Pregnancy and child birth may determine whether a women ever gets to start or complete her education, which will significantly influence her ability to support herself and her family. The availabilit y of abortion makes it possible for people not only to choose the number of children they want, but also to create the kind of family life they have always wanted for themselves, to meet their responsibilities. If a women cannot choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, she is denied the right to the “possession and control” of her own body. One of the most sacred rights of common law is to choose and if a women can’t do this than their most important possession is taken away. Abortion isn’t only a women’s right, it’s a women’s choice.

However, allowing abortion to be legal is immoral. A pre-born child is given the status of a “product of pregnancy” and never seen as the miracle only a women can create. Compassion for the small one is drowned out under a demand for “rights”, but what about the rights for the unborn. “A women has a right to her own body” is an idea more and more women are realizing, but that idea ignores the unborn child’s right to his or her body. Never, in modern times, has the state granted to one citizen the right to have another killed in order to solve their personal, social, or economic problems. the embryo is its own being that should have it’s own rights to protect it. The zygote is a unique genetic being (Zindler 27). If one was to abort an embryo than that embryo, that human life would nev…..er be duplicated. A scientist that may have found the cure to A.I.D.S. would be killed. There is a better way to solve our problems than by killing children. A fertilized egg is the most beauti , most innocent being that we could ever create, and can redeem even the worst of our mistakes. This fertilized egg is not just a mass of tissue, for if it were than there would be no debate. A fetus feels pain. Ultra sound, fetoscopy, study of the fetal EKG (electrocardiogram) and fetal EEG (electroencephalogram) have demonstrated the remarkable responsiveness of the human fetus to pain, touch and sound (willke 64). The fetus responds to light, heat, cold, and taste. Observations of the fetal movements in saline abortions indicates that the fetus experiences discomfort as it dies. One doctor who, the New York Times, wrote “conscientiously performs” saline abortions stated, “when he injected the saline, he often saw an increase in fetal movements” (Willke 64). In another case, a film using mew sonographic techniques, shows the outline of the child in the womb thrashing to resist the suction device before it tears off the head. Then you see the dead child dismembered child and t he head crushed (Edwards 40). This is murder. Nobody who sees this film will speak again of “painless” abortion. After the doctor who performed this procedure saw this film, he never performed another abortion again. But, many doctors still do perform abortion, and in some instances a live child is killed. “About once a day, somewhere in the United States, something goes wrong and an abortion results in a live baby” (Willke 76). Forty five out of six hundred and seven mid trimester abortions done in Connecticut in 1974-1976 resulted in live births (Willke 76). In these cases the child was killed in cold blooded murder. It is immoral to kill, therefore abortion is immoral.

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Finally, abortion should be banned because life begins at conception. The individual sex cell consists of 23 chromosomes. It is only through combination, however, that the sex cells contain the full complement of heredity units that defines a human being (Shettles 17). This procedure of combination defines conception. After the merger of the two sex cells 46 chromosomes are present. This is what makes a human being. The merger is complete within twelve hours, at which time the egg is fertilized and becomes known technically as the “zygote”. The inherited characteristics of a unique human being has been established, and in no circumstances will it change (Shettles 17). Nothing from this time on, until death, will anything be added. The definition of alive is that a being is growing, developing, maturing, and replacing its own dying cells. It means not being dead. At the very time conception begins the zygote is growing, developing, maturing, and replacing its own dying cel It’s alive. The single-celled fertilized ovum cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered part of a women’s body. This new living being has a genetic set up unlike anyone else’s, totally different from the cells of the mother’s body. It makes no difference to assume that human life is more human post-born than pre-born. What is critical to figure out is if it is or isn’t human life, and of coarse it is human life. At 18 days the heart is pumping through a closed circulatory system, with blood whose type is different from that of the mother. At 40 days the brain begins to function. In the 16th week motion has been detected. At 6 and 1/2 weeks all twenty milk-teeth buds are present. During the eighth week the baby’s stomach secretes gastric juice, and all it’s body system is present. The baby dreams, thinks, and feels pain. This is definitely a child, and no one on the face of this earth would be here if they weren’t conceived.

In summary, abortion can be justified by a women’s right to choose, but it should be banned because it’s immoral and life begins at conception. Women have been given the right to have an abortion under the United States Constitution, but this right is still being protested by the people that fight for the unborn’s rights. Pro-life activists claim that its immoral because it is simply defined as murder. Life begins at conception is another strong point brought up by pro-life activists. Before a child is born it is given all it’s necessities to survive. Notice the operative word is before. Before birth the childs heart beats, the gastric juices flow in the stomach, and all its necessary organs have been made present. This is a child that thinks, dreams, and feels pain. Yes, some women may look at having an abortion to solve her personal problems, but in all, women are abandoning the abortion because it weakens their great strengths: creation, compassion and the ability to loo eneath the surface of appearance of things. Maybe soon the abortion issue will reverse, and people will see the rights of the unborn as greater importance than that of a personal right.

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