Dear Next President,
I’m a 9th grader at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans, LA. I have a question for you. Do you want to live in a world where a woman does not have full control over her own body? This is what will happen if abortion becomes completely illegal. This topic interests me because I used to be completely Pro Life, but recently my views have slightly changed. While I believe that women should be able to get an abortion if they want one, I feel that we must also take the child’s life into consideration and make sure that whatever happens will benefit both the mother and the child. Abortion is a very hot topic in our society. People get completely immersed in the idea that you must be either Pro Life or Pro Choice; either pro-abortion or anti-abortion. There are many stereotypes that go along with each point of view. It is usually thought that Pro Life supporters are conservative, old fashioned, religious people, and that Pro Choice supporters are young, liberal feminists. But instead of using pointless labels such as Pro Life or Pro Choice, what if we just made a compromise? Instead of investing all of our time and energy into choosing one or the other, could we instead spend more time on improving alternative options such as adoption and our foster care system so that women do not feel like abortion is their only option?
For years, abortion has been a common practice in our society. According to Planned Parenthood, a popular women’s health clinic that is most well known for performing abortions, “3 out of 10 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.” And according to the CDC, the abortion ratio in 2015 was 210 abortions per 1,000 live births. These numbers are absolutely shocking. This means that if you think about 10 women at the age of 45 or older, it is likely that at least 3 of them have had an abortion. Even though I know that abortion is sometimes necessary and that a woman's body should not be mandated by the government, we have to remember that these are real lives being ended.
Some people may say that these are not real children; that they are just a clump of cells. They may say that a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body and that abortion is a good form of birth control; that it’s better for both the mother and the fetus. But the truth is: by five weeks old, the fetus’ heart will begin to beat. If a fetus has a beating heart, it should be considered a life, don’t you think? When a person is presumed dead, someone will check for a pulse which signifies a beating heart. If they can pronounce a person as dead or alive based on their beating heart, I would say that a fetus should be given the same right. Once the fetus has a beating heart, it is its own living human. And while I do agree that a woman should be able to do what she wants with her body, the fetus is not a part of her body and its life should be taken into consideration as well.
While I hate the idea of abortion, I know that it is not practical to outlaw it completely. There are many situations where the mother simply can not properly care for her child. There are a multitude of reasons why a woman chooses to have an abortion. If a woman does not feel that she can properly care for a child, it is unfair to put the child at risk by leaving it with its mother. I propose that a bill be passed mandating that a fetus not be aborted after its heart begins to beat at 5 weeks of gestation. An exception to this law would be if the fetus was putting the mother's health at risk. After the 5 weeks have passed, clinics such as Planned Parenthood should begin to go over these women’s options and offer them the support that they need. This will hopefully make women realize that abortion is not the only option. There are other alternatives such as adoption.
Even though adoption seems like a completely logical option, it is not always as easy as it seems. According to PBS.org, 1.5 million children were adopted in 2001. This can cause a system overload of sorts. With so many babies, there are oftentimes not enough people looking to adopt. Many women do not feel right sending their children into the foster care system. I fully understand this point of view and believe that the system needs to be reformed so that these women can feel like it is a safer alternative to abortion. This can be caused by many things, but I would assume that the main factor would be cost.
With so many babies in the system, there are often not enough people looking to adopt. When you add up legal fees and adoption agency fees, it can cost around $30,000 to adopt a child. Bringing a new child into your home is already expensive enough with doctor’s appointments, food, clothing and other necessities, so adding $30,000 on top of this is unattainable to many people. It is heartbreaking that there are so many families who want to adopt but just can’t afford it. For example, I know a lovely couple who have been looking to adopt a baby from Ethiopia for many years. They are unable to have children on their own and believe that God is calling them to adopt, but they simply can’t afford it. They have been tirelessly fundraising for years now and still have not met the amount necessary to adopt a child. This couple would make amazing parents and might not get the chance due to the amount of money that is required.
The bill that I am suggesting would mandate that government assistance be given to adoptive families to assist in paying the fees necessary to adopt a child. Hopefully after this bill has been in action for a while, there will not be as many children in the foster care system and the government can put some of the money that is now in foster care into adoptive financial assistance. This bill would also benefit the already overloaded foster care system as it would allow for more children to be adopted. If this bill is passed, I believe that women will feel like they still have the freedom to get an abortion, but that it is not their only option.