Dear Future President,
Do children deserve to born into dangerous situations with a low quality of life because abortions are illegal? If an unborn baby is at a very high risk for having a fatal disease, should the baby and family of the baby need to suffer under an illegal abortion law? Should women who do not want to be parents be forced to risk their lives doing an unsafe abortion? The answers to all of these questions is no. Abortions need to be easy to access everywhere in the U.S..
I am 14 years old and the 2016 presidential election has made me think about many issues, one of them being abortion. I acknowledge that abortions are ethically tricky because no one wants to terminate a pregnancy; however they are important and need to be addressed.
The famous Supreme Court case of Roe v Wade gave women the right to an abortion protected by the right to privacy from the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This 7-2 decision in 1973 was a landmark in history, however it is still very hard for many women to get a safe abortion because of numerous restrictions that states can implement. I live in Connecticut and its abortion laws are less restrictive than most. According to the Guttmacher Institute, forty-three states have banned abortions after the fetus is viable with the exception of cases where the pregnancy could be detrimental to the mother’s health. Only seventeen states use their own funds to pay for the abortions of Medicaid recipients. On the other hand, thirty-two states prohibit the use of state funds unless federal funds are available in cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is a result of rape. This is an atrocious way for the states to work around the abortion legalization law. They know that if people cannot pay for the abortions, they are not going to be able to get them, thereby punishing the poor. Moreover, forty-five states allow health care institutions to refuse to perform abortions. This means that the abortions can be legal yet still unavailable to the women who need them. There are many more regulations including parental consent, counseling before the abortion, and a waiting period. These rules mean that even though abortions are legal, they are not accessible in many cases.
There are many reasons why a woman might elect to terminate her pregnancy. For example, a mother’s low economic status could lead her to choose to have an abortion because raising a child is expensive. According to the the Agency for Healthcare Research, hospital stays for childbirth can cost between $3,000-$37,000. The average cost of raising a child until adulthood for a middle-income family in the U.S. is about $245,340 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These costs can be too much for a mother poor, unemployed, or underemployed. It would be one thing if the people creating the regulations on abortions paid for the costs of raising a child, but that is not the case. Mothers need to be able to make their own choice about whether or not they can handle the financial responsible of having a child.
A woman may choose an abortion because she is not ready to become a mother, and she should be able to control her own life. Lack of proper education about safe sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies. Many women who are pregnant as teenagers are forced to choose between parenthood and education. Unfortunately, teens who choose parenthood have a harder time getting a good job without a full education. According to The Progressive Policy Institute, 38% of teens who get pregnant before the age of 18 have a high school diploma. These mothers lack the education needed to provide for their child and this is evident in the statistic that within three years of childbirth, one-quarter of teen mothers go on welfare. Teen pregnancies leading to undereducation are part of the vicious cycle of poverty. These teen mothers need an option of abortion instead of compromising their education.
Some opponents of abortion argue that the procedures are unsafe. However, abortions are in fact safe medical procedures, and they are unlikely to lead to other problems when performed safely. According to Time Magazine, a woman is fourteen times more likely to die from childbirth than from complications from an abortion performed by a trained professional. This is why, aside from the initial argument of whether or not it is immoral to terminate a pregnancy, they are very safe procedures. Banning abortions might lower the number of abortions in the U.S., but it would not stop abortions all together. Women would participate in unsafe abortions because they need to choose whether or not to commit to the responsibilities of parenthood. They want to be able to provide for it, teach it, parent it, and keep it safe, but if they know they would not be able to, they would need a chance to make the right decision. According to the Population Reference Bureau, between 10% and 50% of unsafe abortions lead to possibly fatal complications requiring medical attention. Banning abortions would increase the number of unsafe abortions and deny women a safe way to terminate their pregnancies. Restrictions on abortion need to be eliminated for the safety of women who would be forced into unsafe abortions.
There are many areas in need of improvement in the area of abortion. For the safety of mothers, states should not be allowed to add regulations to make abortions hard to get. All states need to fund abortions in all cases to even the playing field. Poorer women should not lose access to abortions because of their economic status. According the The New York Times, in President Obama’s proposed budget plan for 2017, he cut funding for abstinence only education programs. There has been $10 million per year coming from the Department of Health and Services to fund these ineffective programs. This means that students were not learning how to safely avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. This proposal is a very positive step in the right direction, but now the U.S. needs to not only retract funding for groups that poorly teach students to be safe but also come up with new methods. If students learn through strong sex education programs, there would be less pregnancies to abort. Making these changes will mean finishing the work that should been finalized after Roe v Wade.
I am asking that you use your power and make a change to support all of the responsible women who need abortions to be accessible to them.
Isabelle (A concerned citizen)