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Abortion: Whose Choice is it?

Abortion is the ending of pregnancy before birth and is morally wrong. An abortion results in the death of an embryo or a fetus. Abortion destroys the lives of helpless, innocent children and it is illegal in many countries. By aborting these unborn infants, humans are hurting themselves; they are not allowing themselves to meet these new identities and unique personalities. Abortion is very simply wrong. Everyone is raised knowing the difference between right and wrong. Murder is wrong, so why is not abortion? People argue that it is not murder if the child is unborn. In my opinion, abortion is murder and it is taking of a life, because the fetus being destroyed is living, breathing and moving. In Introduction to Child Development, John says, ?The embryo is now about 1 inch in length. Facial features, limbs hands, feet, fingers and toes become apparent. The nervous system is responsive and many of the internal organs begin to function? (70-75), when the fetus in ten weeks old. ?Respiratory activity occurs in the fetus as early as the twelfth week of gestation and continues throughout its intrauterine life? (Fetus). The fetus has its own life. Therefore, why it is not a problem if the infant is destroyed a month before birth, but it is inhumane murder if killed a month after birth?

This question is very difficult to answer and may never be answered in our lifetime. But one thing we do know is we have our own opinions, ranging from completely anti-abortion (pro-life) to completely for abortion (pro-choice), and anywhere in the wide spectrum in between. Pro-choice supporters are individuals who favor a woman?s reproductive right. In contrast, pro-life supporters are individuals who oppose abortion except in extreme circumstances, such as when the mother?s life would be threatened by carrying a pregnancy. In The Terrible Choice, the author emphasizes, ?There has long been a consensus in our society that abortion is permissible under at least one circumstance ? to save the life of the mother, because if we do not, both mother and fetus die? (58). If we are from the morality point of view, abortion is inhumane because it kills a life. Pro-life supporters believes the fetus is a human being even it is inside the mother?s body, but pro-choice supporters argue the fetus is only a potential human being until it is viable.

Pro-life supporters and pro-choice supporters have two extremely points of view on pregnancy. Their debates were started from 1973; since the Supreme Court decided 7-2 in favor of Roe in the case of Roe v. Wade. The Court declared the right to privacy includes abortion (Roe v Wade). Then, abortion becomes one of the most controversial issues in the world today. Everyone has his own individual opinion. A woman?s body is hers and hers alone. Nobody has the right to make her do something that she does not want to. However, because we have freedom of choice to have an abortion in our country, the teenage pregnancy rate has dramatically increased these years. The age of teens that starts to have sexual activity tends to younger and younger. The figures in Teen Sex & Pregnancy show that:

? About 25% of 15 year olds have had sex

? About 55% of 17 year olds have had sex

? About 80% of 19 year olds have had sex

? About 20% of young people do not have sex while teens

The age of young people have had sex tends to as early as 15 today. With the teen sexual activity tends to earlier and younger; at the meanwhile, abortion also increases. ?20% of young women who become sexually active become pregnant within the first month of sexual activity. 50% become pregnant within the first six months? (Teen Sex & Pregnancy). Today, teenagers are getting mixed messages from parents, peers and media. This is the reason for the increase of birth rate. Therefore, abortion is being used as a method of birth control. One of the reasons teens give for having sex is the peer or social pressure. Parents and social workers need to pay more attention to this matter, in order to decrease the rate of teen sex and pregnancy.

The argument by the pro-choice side is that the unborn child is not truly a child. Many people who are pro-choice supporters belief the concept that a fetus is only a bob of tissue until it is born, or the statement: life begins at birth. Abortion is not as simple as removing a blob of tissue from a woman?s body. Abortion is the destruction, dismembering and killing of a human life, an unborn baby. ?But it is scientific and medical fact based on experimental evidence, that a fetus is a living, growing, thriving human begin, directing his or her own development? (Fetal Development).

Pro-life supporters believe that the fetus is more than a piece of tissue. It has its owns thinking and feeling. ?Current, valid science indicates that a fetus is not a senseless mass of tissue, as some people have believed in the past?, ?100% of a person?s genetic makeup is determined at the moment of conception. Science and medicine define being a human by genetic means. According to science and medicine, a fetus is a distinct organism? (Reasons Why Abortions Should Be Illegal). In the article of Abortion, the writer claims, ?the fetus has the legal right to life from the moment the egg and sperm unite?. In view of this, a fetus is also a life as well as a human like you and me. The fetus is alive and has the capacity to feel the painful abortion procedure. Some scientific records show that the fetus struggling to survive under the ultra sound while the abortion is processing. Therefore, abortion can be defined as the intentional killing of a human being.

Pro-life supporters feel that abortions should not be legal because of responsibility. They feel that in our society, abortion is becoming the careless solution to define a life, and I think there is some contradiction on their points because they would allow women to have abortions if they become pregnant due to rape, incest, etc. Compare to pro-lifer supporters, pro-choice supporters carry stronger points. They believe that the child inside a woman?s body is her property and it is not a life until birth. They feel that woman should not be force to have babies if they do not want to be, because it is worthless if to bring an unwanted human life into the world.

In this paper, I have tried to compare the points of view on a fetus between pro-lifer supporters and pro-choice supporters. I have tried to outline why abortion is immoral by guiding the reader through different views. I also tried to state some social problems that parents, teachers, social workers and government should be concerned, such as teen sex. Under the Fourteenth Amendment Section 2, ?No unborn person shall be deprived of life by any person: Provided, however, that nothing in this article shall prohibit a law permitting only those medical procedures required to prevent the death of the mother? (Abortion Law Homepage). As we can see in this amendment, abortion should not be allowed unless the life of the mother will be affected if continuing pregnancy. To rebut the pro-choice supporters have the freedom of abortion, Marshall in his book, The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion answers:

Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life. No doubt the mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body; everyone would grant that. But surely a person?s right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother?s right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it. (4)

A right to life and a right to decide what happens in and to one?s body have been the controversial issue for a long time. Everyone has his own opinion, but I would like to say, there is nothing more important than a life. ?What does it mean to choose life? Who chooses life? Where should the focus be on choosing life?? (Wilson). Only God has the right to give and take a life. Therefore, women do not have the right to have an abortion in order to kill a fetus. From all the above points of view, I will close my paper with the following statement. Each life has value, no matter how young it may be.

?Abortion.? Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. 1999 ed. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation. 1998.

?Fetus.? Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. 1999 ed. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation. 1998.

?Roe v. Wade.? Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. 1999 ed. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation. 1998.

Abortion Law Homepage. 3 May 2000 *http://members.aol.com/abtrbng/index.htm*.

Alvare, Helen, Wilson, Marle, Wolf, Naomi. ?Abortion: Whose Values? Whose Rights?? Tikkun January-February 1997: 54-60.

Cohen, Marshall, Thomas Nagel, and Thomas Scanlon, eds. The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974.

Cooke, Robert, Andre E. Hellegers, Robert G. Hoyt, and Herbert W. Richardson. The Terrible Choice: The Abortion Dilemma. New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1968.

Dworetzky, John. Introduction to Child Development. 6th ed. San Francisco: West Publishing Company, 1996.

Fetal Development. M. Terwilliger. 2000. 29 April 2000 *http://www.w-cpc.org/fetal.html*.

Reasons Why Abortions Should Be Illegal. 1999. Israel Steinmetz. Federation of America, Inc. 4 May 2000 *http://www.mrdata.net/books/9reasons.htm*.

Teen Sex & Pregnancy: Facts and Figures. 2000. Westside Pregnancy Resource Center. 29 April 2000 *http://www.w-cpc.org/sexuality/teens.html*.

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