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Persuasive Essay Abortion: The Moral Dilemma


This article was written my senior year of High School for my government class, I'm sure there are many grammatical errors but if someone would like to edit it for me that would be great. (I'm too lazy) Please keep in mind that this is a subjective persuasive essay so please don't be offended.



Persuasive Essay Abortion:
The Moral Dilemma


The argument over abortion has been a subject for dispute for a long time. The arguments span over many issues. All these have been, and are currently being debated. But the issue that is of most concern is the question: is abortion moral? That is the question I will try to answer.

Even though the Supreme Court found that a Stateís Criminal Abortion law violates a personís fourteenth amendment right, a woman still has to decide if her decision is right and whether it will affect others than herself. Thus, is it right to have an abortion?

A young woman gets pregnant with her boyfriend, both are too young and immature to raise a child, so she decides to get an abortion. This decision is made out of haste due to her youth and immaturity. She decides that the solution to the problem is an abortion. Itís quick, and not many will know. Like many girls of her age, this is viewed as the solution to premature sex pregnancies. But I wonder: if she were ten years older, would her decision be different. Has her lifeís experiences equipped her to make a decision that will follow her the rest of her life? The problem is that she has made a selfish decision resulting from a selfish choice that she made. Why make the baby suffer? One option would be for her to have the baby, and give it up for adoption. There are thousands of couples that want to have a child but canít. Another decision could involve the commitment to not to having sex until sheís ready to be a parent; i.e. being married. Others might elect to employ a dependable form of birth control. By deciding in advance, consequences that impact an innocent life can be deterred.

What is abortion? Clinical abortion is the voluntary destruction of the unborn fetus with the use of surgical means or pills. This is not to be confused with spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage.

Some of the arguments towards anti-abortion range from the motherís right to choose, to medical reasons. Pro-choice (for abortion) groups would say that the motherís decision to have an abortion is hers. According to the 1973 United States Supreme Court ruling concerning the Roe vs. Wade case, they decided that a woman and her doctor may freely decide to terminate a pregnancy during the first trimester; state governments can restrict abortion access after the first trimester with laws intended to protect the woman's health; abortions after fetal viability must be available if the woman's health or life are at risk; state governments can prohibit other abortions. This landmark case meant that the government couldnít prohibit a woman from having an abortion due to fourteenth Amendmentís Due Process Clause. But recently Mr. Justice Rheinquist issued a dissenting opinion. He noted that there was no proof that Roe was in her first trimester when she filed her original suite. He said: "While a party may vindicate his own constitutional rights, he may not seek vindication for the rights of others." Noting that an abortion requires the services of a physician, he felt that such an operation is "not 'private' in the ordinary usage of that word. Nor is the 'privacy' that the Court finds here even a distant relative of the freedom from searches and seizures protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution." He felt that the court was not justified in declaring the entire Texas statute to be unconstitutional. Rather, it should have been declared unconstitutional as applied "to a particular plaintiff, but not unconstitutional as a whole." This means that with the writing and verbal context the court decision, it wasnít made on the current issues presented at that time.

These groups might also argue that the fetus isnít a real human, so it isnít murder. But isnít taking the life of a human murder? Which side of the womb the victim is on should not matter when it comes to the potentiality of life. At conception, all that is needed for a complete human being to form is present.

Some Pro-life group (against abortion) arguments are based mostly on religious principles and their moral beliefs. Some religions believe that life begins at conception, others teach that when the fetus develops a brain life begins while others hold that it starts when the baby is born. This is important so it can be determined when it is OK to destroy a potential life. But most go with the basis that it doesnít matter when life starts; itís taking away the chance for a person to live a full potential life. The Christian beliefs are based on the God of their Christian/Judeo heritage. They believe in what the Bible says. Some of their arguments are based upon verses that are found in the Bible. If you believe in God, thereís evidence that we are a human before we are even born. In Jeremiah 1:5 God states, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." This implies that we were loved by God before we were born and thus have a soul. Having a soul means that you are a human being. Another assertion is in Psalms 139:13: "For Thou didst form my inward parts, Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb.Ē This means that God created us before we were physically born of this world, and that we were meant to fulfill our life by being born. Abortion halts this process. If you donít believe in God, I hope that you would respect that it was important to the writer of these books that the life of the unborn child is valuable.

Pro-choice groups argue that abortion is good for the sake of the mother, the child, and society. It helps with ďpopulation controlĒ and other things. They argue the point that if a woman was raped, it can eliminate an unwanted birth that has resulted from trauma. But, what about the natural rights of humans? They say that abortion is the right of the mother, that itís her body, that the baby is merely fetal matter and that the mother has the right to the choice of abortion. What about the unborn fetus? Even though it isnít considered fully human yet, does it deserve a chance at life? Equal rights should be given equal time for the unborn child. According to Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, a fetus is not human. But if this ruling were to changed, millions of women would be considered to be committing murder under the law.

Some may ask if abortion isnít a sort of population control. The response to that argument is, the world is not over-populated. So using abortion as a form of population control isnít needed. There arenít any more babies being born now than before. So birth control couldnít be considered as a need for an abortion. The problem lies in the death rate. Everyone will die, of course, but for now this has resulted in increases in population. In recent years fewer people have died than have been born because the average age life expectancy has been extended. In the U.S., as well as in many other western countries the increase in population is due to immigration. More people want to come to the U.S. and Canada versus another country like Cuba or Russia. Abortion as a form of population control can not be an argument for this increase in population. There is enough food to feed the world. The problem there lies in distribution.

One question that no one asks is: can a fetus feel pain? The answer to that is, yes! At some stage during pregnancy, a fetus becomes capable of feeling pain. But, there appears to be no consensus among experts about the point in the pregnancy when this happens: Many physicians and researchers into fetal development, who are not pro-choice, believe that synaptic connections within the fetus' brain are necessary to perceive pain. These are not formed until well into the third trimester, when fewer than 1% of all pregnancy terminations are done. Others, who tend to be pro-life advocates, believe that a fetus as early as 7 weeks after conception can feel pain. Thus, they believe that a fetus can feel pain part way through the first trimester, when most abortions are performed. It would appear that some of the experts' opinions are so heavily biased by their pro-life/pro-choice stance that they are incapable of making objective observations. Pain in an adult, child, newborn or late-term fetus originates as an electrical signal in the body's pain receptors. This signal is sent via nerve pathways to the spinal column, then to the thalamus- an egg-shaped structure within the brain. Finally, the signal is transferred to the cerebral cortex where it is sensed as pain. In a fetus, the pain receptors develop around 7 weeks after conception; the spino-thalamic system at about 13 weeks. Finally, the connections to the cortex are established at about 26 weeks into pregnancy. Some pro-life advocates believe that pain can be felt by the fetus when these systems are only partly formed. Most pro-choice advocates believe that the complete system has to be "wired up" before the fetus can feel pain; i.e. at about 26 weeks into pregnancy. But, no doubt, the fetus does feel pain. And depending when you have the abortion, you have the possibility of hurting that fetus. This is another indication that a fetus is more human than we treat it.

The final argument that is most widely argued is: if a woman gets pregnant through rape, couldnít she have an abortion due to the fact that it was conceived illegally, against her will? Well, if you look at the facts: The Justice Dept., from 1973 to 1987, surveyed 49,000 households annually, asking questions on violence and criminal acts. The results of those reported were: 1973ó 95,934 completed rapes; 1987ó 82,505 completed rapes. The study stated that only 53% were reported to police. Accordingly, the total numbers were: 1973 ó 181,016; 1987 ó 155,667 The Washington Times, Jan. 14, 1991, A-5

A more recent Justice Dept. report, using a study designed differently with more direct questions, returned a result of 170,000 completed rapes plus 140,000 attempted rapes. Nat. Crime Victim Report, US Justice Dept. Aug. 95, R. Bachman And how many pregnancies resulted from them? About 1 or 2 for each 1000. Using the 170,000 figure, this translates into an overall total of 170 to 340 assault rape pregnancies a year in the entire United States. Proportionally, this isnít a lot. The reason is: There are about 100 million women in the United States old enough to be at risk for assault rape. Letís use a figure of 200,000 forcible rapes every year. The studies available agree that there are no more than two pregnancies per 1,000 assault rapes. So much for the numbers. Of these 200,000 women who were raped, one-third were either too old or too young to get pregnant. That leaves 133,000 at risk of pregnancy. A woman is capable of being fertilized only three days out of her 30-day month. So divide 133,000 by 10, and 13,300 women remain. One-fourth of all women in the United States of child-bearing age have been sterilized. That drops the figure to 10,000. Only half of the assailants penetrate her body and/or deposit sperm. Cut it in half again. We are down to 5,000. Fifteen percent of men are sterile; that drops the figure to 4,250. Fifteen percent of non-surgically sterilized women are naturally sterile. That reduces the number to 3,600. Another 15% are on the pill and/or are already pregnant. Now the figure is 3,070. It takes from five to ten months for an average couple to achieve a pregnancy. Using the smaller figure, to be conservative, divide the 3,000 figure by 5, and the number drops to about 600. In a healthy, peaceful marriage, the miscarriage rate ranges up to about 15%. Consider finally that the woman is experiencing inconceivable emotional trauma. Her body is upset. Even if she conceives, the miscarriage rate is higher than in a ďnormalĒ pregnancy. If she follows the statistical pattern of 20% of 600 miscarrying, 450 women are left. Finally, we must factor in one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that is psychic trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get pregnant and stay pregnant, a womanís body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily influenced by emotions. Thereís no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one really knows, but this factor certainly cuts the last figure by at least 50%, and probably more, leaving a final figure of 225 women pregnant each year, a number that closely matches the 200 found in clinical studies.

Through this long explanation, this show that the likelihood of getting pregnant from a rape is slim and thus limits the need for rape abortions. But for those small percentages of pregnancies from rape, the study showed that the victim who didnít choose abortion and instead gave birth to the child, became closer to her family due to the trauma she went through. This is an example that abortion isnít a choice to an unwanted child.

My beliefs are that every child that is conceived deserves a chance at life. He might someday grow up to find a cure for cancer, or be a homeless bum. But with my religious beliefs, I feel that everyone is born with for a reason, and deserves a chance. This holds forth no matter what the outcome might be. Everyone is entitled to birth.




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