Kylee H. California

Abortion: Whose Life is Really at Stake?

Abortion is known as the infamous baby killer, however, there's more to it than the life or death of a fetus.

Dear Future President,

Abortion is a controversial issue that plagues the American political system. The opposition to abortion should not be considered reliable due to its major contributors being religious groups and mainly male politicians. Religion should not be a deciding factor in political discussions due to the First Amendment giving Americans the right to worship freely and not follow one single religion with specific morals. Additionally the taboos associated with abortion drive women into silence allowing men to argue their fate.

First, it is important to understand why women would not want to have a baby. According to Johnston's Archive, the most common reason that women request abortions is not having enough money to have a child. 21% of women, when asked why they wanted an abortion, said they did not think they had enough financial security to properly raise a child. Another 21% of women said they were not ready to bear the responsibility of birthing and taking care of a child. The third most common reason for abortion is the concern over how a baby will change the lives of mothers, as represented by 16% of women who requested abortions. There are numerous other reasons for abortion including rape and incest, fetal and maternal health issues, and women being too young to have a child.

Telling a woman that she must have a child when she knows she is unable to support it is cruel. If a woman is forced to have a child and she cannot financially support it, the chances of that child not receiving enough food and comfort increases making future health complications inevitable. Along with the lack of finance, many women are harmed in the child birthing process when they’re unable to receive proper medical attention which then harms the child in question. This deduction nullifies the claim of those against abortion as “Pro-life” because instead of “killing” a fetus, the pregnancy kills the mother. Pro-life also raises the question, when does one truly become alive? With implications that abortion is murder from Pro-life advocates, they insinuate that life begins at conception however Pro-choice argues that life is not simply being but rather it has a complex definition. Life is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction”. Fetuses do not develop reproductive organs until 7-9 weeks into maturation, therefore, by Merriam-Webster’s definition, fetuses are not truly alive until 7-9 weeks into their development. Another approach to defining life is through the evolution of consciousness(self awareness), which doesn’t occur in fetuses, however fetuses do become conscious of pain about 29-30 weeks into pregnancy. The many different definitions of life make the claims of anti-abortionists (being “Pro-Life”) senseless, whereas there can be no logical argument against “Pro-Choice” because ultimately it should be the choice of the woman whether or not to have a child.

Pro-Life advocates would argue that if the mother didn't want to have the child and keep it, she could still put it up for adoption. While this may solve the issue of killing an unborn child, it does not take into account the psychological effects on the mother and child. The mother would have a child and after 9 months of carrying the child she may not want to give it up, even if she is unable to take care of it which then leads back to the first argument of the child being brought up in insufficient conditions. Also, a child put up for adoption will have to live their whole life thinking that their parents didn't want them even if that's not the case. Furthermore, not all children put up for adoption are guaranteed to be adopted and may remain in the foster care system until they are 18 years old. According to Show Hope, a movement to care for orphans, about 30,000 kids in the foster or orphanage system age out and continue into the world without a family. With so many children without families, the psychologic effects are indescribable. Why would we want to add to those numbers by outlawing abortion? Is living a miserable lonely life better than not knowing life in the first place? Of course you'll say yes, but if you didn't know what life was like then you wouldn't know what you're not experiencing, therefore putting the child up for adoption may be a successful solution for most children, however, the 30,000 that go into the world alone do not share that success story.

It is also crucial to take into account the religious or “moral” argument against abortion. A prominent source of opposition to abortion is religious implications that abortion is wrong.Religious affiliates will argue that because humans are made in the image of God it is “wrong” to practice abortion, however abortion is never mentioned in the bible. Arguably, the Bible is an advocate of abortion, there are many instances of abortion, infanticide, and child abandonment within the Bible. Even so, if abortion was mentioned in the Bible, with the implications that it is unjust, what makes the Bible reliable when dealing with 21st century issues? Throughout the history of people’s rights over the past few centuries the Bible has been used to argue against certain rights, this includes the argument that slavery is encouraged in the bible and so is the inferiority of women. Slavery is considered universally immoral, yet the Bible argued in favor of slavery, by this standard the Bible was wrong, so what makes it a viable source in the argument against abortion? It is not. Especially in the United States where the whole population does not abide by the same religious beliefs, making it unconstitutional to pass a law against abortion based on religion when people have the right to practice their religious preferences.

Finally, the choice of abortion should be up to the mother herself. Men have no say over what women do with their bodies and should therefore have no say in abortion. Even if the father wants the child and the mother doesn't, it is ultimately the woman going through the morning sickness, weight gain, and pain that goes along with bearing a child. Furthermore woman can suffer PPD, or postpartum depression, which severely affects the mother's quality of life. In the 21st century, women should be able to control what happens to themselves, however even in the most modern time to have existed there is still a patriarchal power oppressing the rights of women. Many, not all, men believe that they are entitled to women and all they have to offer, however this is not the case, women are their own people and therefore speak for themselves. When I was younger and went to a Catholic Church there was one mass that I will always remember. I wasn’t listening to the speaker but he must have been talking about abortion because my dad turned to my mom, my little sister, and I and said, “No woman in this family will ever get an abortion”. At the time I didn’t know what that meant so I didn’t really care, but now that I know what it means it infuriates me. What gave him the right to dictate what goes on with our bodies? This is a small scale representation of what is happening in the American government right now. Male politicians argue the morality of abortion yet they have no right to influence something that does not directly influence them. This relates to the arguments that lasted for years about same sex marriage; heterosexual individuals argued against it but ultimately it did not affect them so they were not a reliable source of opposition. In the end, same sex marriage was legalized in the US in 2015. This is a very similar situation with abortion because many men are arguing against abortion yet it does not affect them so they should not be considered reliable in regards to this topic.

If laws are to be passed restricting abortion there needs to be a compromise. Victims of rape or incest should be given the choice to abort the unwanted child instead of being stuck with a reminder that they’ve been violated for the rest of their lives. Additionally all mothers should be granted the right to decide their fate by allowing abortions for the first 2 months of pregnancy before the fetus is considered "life", by definition. After 2 months the fetus is considered "life" and it would be unethical to kill it. If there is one thing I want you to take from this it is that women have the only right to their own body and should not be subjected to laws that don’t allow them to live their lives to their full potential. For these reasons, abortion should be legal in all 50 US states.


Kylee H.

Newbury Park High School

IB Lang & Lit HL 1 - Period 3A (Lilly)

Newbury Park's period 3A IB Lang & Lit course

All letters from this group →