Dear future President,
Abortion is a very controversial issue in the United States. It was illegal in the majority of the country up until 1972. Today, 44 years after it was legalized in 1973, people are still debating whether it should be legal. As a woman myself, I believe women should have access to a safe and legal abortion.
There are some things that happen unexpectedly in life. People make mistakes, sometimes a birth pill fails or a condom is faulty. Other times, a pregnancy can take a turn for the worst, and it can put both the mother and the child at risk. However, it is most heart-wrenching when a woman or girl is raped and conceives a child. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey by the Department of Justice, an average of 288,820 girls over the age of 12 are raped or sexually assaulted in the US each year. A thirteen-year-old Mexican girl was raped by her uncle and was refused an abortion. Abortions are illegal in Mexico unless someone is raped. While the young girl was raped, the judge reduced the charge of rape to a charge of sexual coercion and was refused an abortion. One of the most inhumane things anyone could do is refuse a woman’s right to choose. But what would happen if we do make abortion illegal, and refuse women their right to choose?
The answer? Women will continue to have abortions. Internationally, 50,000 women each year die from unsafe abortions; the majority of deaths in countries where abortion is illegal. Women will go to any lengths to get abortions. They will go to an unqualified person to perform the abortion, or they might perform an abortion on themselves. In Chile, the only type of abortion that is legal is accidental abortion, like getting hit by a car or falling down the stairs. Even then, the government is still debating if that should be legal. If abortion is illegal, abortions would still happen, but perhaps at the cost of the woman’s life.
The restrictions on abortion are currently perfect, and are mainly based on the viability of the fetus. A fetus enters personhood when it becomes “viable,” or can live outside the womb for a long period of time. The Supreme Court ruled that they cannot put the fetus rights before the woman’s before it is viable. A study shows that a fetus is not viable until the range of the 24th and 28th week of the pregnancy. Abortion between the 24th and 28th week is illegal in the majority of states anyways, so why make it entirely illegal?
What most people who are pro-life would say is, “Fetuses can feel pain before that.”
Dr. Paul Ranalli, a neurologist from the University of Toronto states “At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG).” When surgeons perform an abortion, they see the fetus flinch and move away from the objects. This evidence has given people more reason to make abortions illegal.
However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has evidence refuting that claim. Kate Connors, a spokesperson for ACOG states, "The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester (27 weeks)." This is due to the fact that the pain receptors in the brain, the cortex of the brain, aren’t fully developed until the 27th week. The only reason the fetus flinches in the womb is because of reflexes, such as when the doctor hits your knee, it moves on reflex, not necessarily pain.
Finally, the strongest argument a pro-life person could make is, “But they can give the child up for adoption.” Without proof, it seems like a valid argument. Why kill an unborn child when you can give it up for adoption?
The adoption and foster systems are very corrupt. Over 28% of foster children are abused. Children in the foster system are more prone to mental illnesses than a child that isn’t in the foster system, such as PTSD from abuse, and depression from being unwanted. A foster child is four times more likely to commit suicide compared to the average child.
Just because abortion is legal doesn’t mean every single woman is going to get an abortion. People are entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, and they should be able to make their own choices for their body. If a woman is personally against abortions and decides to keep the baby, that is perfectly fine. If a woman has complications or was raped and she decides to get an abortion, that is perfectly fine. If a woman decides to get an abortion after an accidental pregnancy, that is also alright. Why take away the woman’s right to do what they want with their body? Why do people have to push their beliefs onto others when it doesn’t effect them?
Abortion should stay legal. Not only is it safer, but it reduces the death rate due to unsafe abortions. Women who have complications or have been raped should have access to abortions, for it wasn't their choice to have a complication or to have a child. Even women who conceive accidentally should have a choice, due to the fact it's their body. Some people may argue, claiming that the fetus can feel pain. However, that isn't true. They cannot feel unless the cortex is developed, and it isn't until the third trimester, the point where it is illegal in most states anyways. The Foster System is a horrible place for a child to be, and the fact that they can actually feel pain at that point makes it worse. Please future president, will you ensure that women can continue to make their own decisions for their bodies? Could you keep these laws in place so women could have the right to do what they feel is best for themselves?
Thank you and good luck,
Foer, Franklin. "Fetal Viability." Slate Magazine. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_gist/1997/05/fetal_viability.html
Guttmacher Institute, “Induced Abortions Worldwide” https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-worldwide#r15a
Helping Hand Home. “Facts about Child Abuse and Foster Care" http://www.helpinghandhome.org/IMAGES/Facts%20about%20Child%20Abuse%20and%20Foster%20Care.pdf
Lakhani, Nina. "Mexican Rape Victim, 13, Denied Access to Abortion." The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/01/mexican-victim-13-refused-access-to-abortion
Life Science. "Do Fetuses Feel Pain? What the Science Says." TechMedia Network, http://www.livescience.com/54774-fetal-pain-anesthesia.html
MILES Chile, “Tutorial Abortion "Shoes" - #LEYabortoTERAPÉUTICO” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqC9mHVwnV4
MILES Chile, "Abortion Tutorial "Stairs" - #LEYabortoTERAPÉUTICO" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AVozmOcBzo
MILES Chile, "Abortion Tutorial "Traffic Lights" - #LEYabortoTERAPÉUTICO" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw8SFhOvEYU
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. "Unborn Babies Can Feel Pain." http://www.mccl.org/unborn-babies-can-feel-pain.html
PsychToday, “The Foster Care System and Its Victims: Part 2” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201201/the-foster-care-system-and-its-victims-part-2
RAIIN. "Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN." https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
Babbel, Susanne “The Foster Care System And Its Victims: Part 2" https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201201/the-foster-care-system-and-its-victims-part-2