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Abortion Essay, Research Paper

Many people believe abortion is a moral issue, but

it is also a constitutional issue. It is a woman’s

right to choose what she does with her body, and it

should not be altered or influenced by anyone else.

This right is guaranteed by the ninth amendment, which

contains the right to privacy.

The ninth amendment states: ” The enumeration in the

Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be

construed to deny or disparage others retained by

the people.” This right guarantees the right to

women, if they so choose, to have an abortion, up

to the end of the first trimester.

Regardless of the fact of morals, a woman has the

right to privacy and choice to abort her fetus.

The people that hold a “pro-life” view argue that a woman

who has an abortion is killing a child. The “pro-choice”

perspective holds this is not the case. A fetus is not yet a baby.

It does not posess the criteria derived from

our understanding of living human beings. In

a notable defense of this position, philosopher

Mary Anne Warren has proposed the following criteria

for “person-hood”:

1) consciousness (of objects and events external and or

internal to the being), and in particular the capacity

to feel pain.

2) reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new

and relatively complex problems)

3) self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively

independent of either genetic or direct external control)

4) the capacity to communicate, by whatever means,

messages of an indefinite variety of possible contents,

but on indefinltely many possible topics.

5) the presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness,

either individual or social, or both. (Taking Sides

-Volume 3).

Several cases have been fought for the right to choose.

Many of these have been hard cases with very personal

feelings, but the perserverance showed through and

gives us the rights we have today. Here are some

important cases: 1965 – Griswold v. Connecticut –

upheld the right to privacy and ended the ban on birth

control. Eight years later, the Supreme Court ruled

the right to privacy included abortions. Roe v. Wade

was based upon this case. 1973 – Roe v. Wade: –

The state of Texas had outlawed abortions. The Supreme Court

declared the law unconstitutional, but refused to

order an injunction against the state. On January 22, 1973,

the Supreme Court voted the right to privacy included abortions.

In 1976, Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (Missouri) ruled

that requiring consent by the husband and the consent from a parent

if a person was under 18 was unconstitutional.

This case supported a woman’s control over her own body

and reproductive system.

Justice William Brennan stated: “If the right to privacy

means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or

single, to be free from unwanted governmental intrusion

into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to

bear or beget a child.”

Abortion is one of the most controversial issues

in the world today. Everyone has their 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. The Supreme Court has stated

it is the women’s right to have an abortion, if she

so chooses, according to Roe v. Wade.

In later cases however, the Court has upheld Roe in

Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992).

In the same ruling, though, the Court gave states new powers to restrict

access to abortions. (Hardy, pg. 189).

Abortion deals with one’s private life and should have

nothing to do with the government. However, abortion

should not be used as a means of birth control, but if

a fetus will be unwanted, it is better to be aborted than to

be abused or neglected.

Many people try to force their beliefs on others and judge

them for their actions. These people need

to judge themselves before they start to judge

others. The bottom line is no matter what anyone

thinks the laws speak for themselves. It is a woman’s

right to privacy to control her reproductive system

guaranteed by the constitution.

Although there are some restrictions on abortion,

due to the states’ rights, it is still ultimately

the woman’s choice. It is not a requirement for

some states to fund for abortions, therefore,

especially in these states it should be the woman’s

choice. Abortion is an issue of women, and so it

should be the woman’s right to choose. She has the

free will to consider others views and opinions such

as that of the father, but it is her ultimate decision

guaranteed by the law.


Dana Pentoney

Karen Sipes

Jen Roane

Government in America

by Richard J. Hardy

copyright 1994

page 189

Taking Sides on Clashing Views of Controversial

Bioethical Issues

by Carol Levine

Volume 3

copyright 1991

pages: 4-8

The American Heritage History of the Bill of Rights

- The Ninth Amendment

by Phillip A. Klinkner

copyright 1991

pages: 31, 56, 75-78, 80-87, 110, 116


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