Dear Future President,
Abortion is a very touchy subject; it involves religious, moral and ethical views. Many people have hasty views on abortion--that it’s incredibly dangerous to the mother, or women will have an abortion because they’re scared of raising a child--but these views aren’t backed up by sufficient evidence. Often, they’re supported by their own religious texts, rather than our very own founding documents like the Constitution. Abortion must not be criminalized because of uneducated ideals and religious beliefs--it’s a right women deserve, one that shouldn’t be taken away because of fear and religion.
Abortion is not as deadly to the mothers as many make it out to be. According to a study performed in 2012 by Elizabeth Raymond, MD, MPH, and David Grimes, MD, a woman’s risk from dying in an abortion is 0.6 in 100,000--only a 0.000006% chance of death. In a safe, legal, professionally-performed abortion, there is a very low risk of the mother dying from an abortion. Furthermore, if abortion is banned across all states, it won’t dissuade women from getting one. According to Dr. Daniel Mishell, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, before abortion was legalized, women would often attempt their own abortions, using coat hangers, knitting needles, radiator flush, or acids such as carbolic acid. Some went to horribly unsafe “back-alley” abortionists. Prior to legalization, as many as 5,000 American women died from unsafe abortions. At home abortions and “back-alley” abortions are incredibly more dangerous than legal abortions, and if abortion is banned, women will have to resort to these unqualified and inexperienced abortions. A legal abortion is a much safer option for a mother who doesn’t think they can have a child, so if abortion is banned mothers will have to risk more dangerous abortions, putting their life on the line.
Women aren’t just looking for ways to get out of a pregnancy. Abortion is a serious, serious choice, and can leave devastating trauma. However, many women are forced into an abortion, as it can be the only way for them to survive. Raising a child in America to age 18 costs an average of about $245,340, which is about $13,630 a year, according to The Huffington Post. Add in the cost of childbirth, $8,802, and women face a grand total of $254,142 for having a child. However, Planned Parenthood offers abortion at a cost of $400 to $1000, depending on how late the abortion is being performed. According to The American Prospect, almost 42% of women who get an abortion are below the poverty line, and another 27% are within 200 percent of it. 69% of women getting abortions are getting them because they cannot afford the cost of raising a child. A mother may not want to abort their child, but sometimes they’re forced to do so--the cost of living with a child can be just too much, and forcing a mother to put up with high prices would be sentencing her to a hefty debt and a long life of climbing out of it. Oftentimes, a mother doesn’t even consent to having a child. One out of every six American women will be the victim of rape in her lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, which means some of those women, often 24 or younger, are forced to rapidly grow mentally and emotionally, and find a way to pay off the $254,142 of raising a child. Having an access to abortion allows these women to protect themselves from the trauma of raising a child they weren’t prepared for, and the cost of raising a child to adulthood.
Many people of faith wish for abortion to be considered a crime because they consider it the murder of an unborn human. According to the Bible, life begins at conception, and paired with the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, abortion should be considered murder. But the 1st Amendment of the Constitution says the government shall make no law, “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The government cannot outlaw abortion on the grounds that it’s murder because the government does not have a defined moment in the pregnancy where the fetus is considered alive. It would be relying on the idea that life begins at conception, a religious idea, and would therefore be a violation of the 1st Amendment.
Women have the right to chose what to do with their body; not a government made up of mostly men, and not a text only some live by. This war of ethics should not be in the hands of people it cannot effect. It should be in the hands of the people who have to deal with the repercussions of the verdict, of the people whom the verdict will actually affect. As a woman, I have the right to make whatever choice I wish in regards to my body, because it is my body, not the government’s.