Roe v. Wade is the case that was in the Supreme Court in 1973 to prove the necessity of legal abortions and restricting them would be unconstitutional (English, 2019). When the Supreme Court made the ruling, Roe v. Wade was one of America’s most volatile and controversial cases about the right to life of the unborn child. Also, the controversy extended to the right of women to cut short the life of the developing baby in her womb. Most people believe that the life of a human being starts at conception. At the same time, other people believe that life begins when the fetus begins to have a heartbeat. On the other hand, also others believe that the life of a human being begins after the child is born. Christians are the people who say that life begins in the womb after conception and should be protected until the time to be delivered. Christians hold this belief because of their faith in God that He placed that life within the woman.
Those who oppose this argument say that a woman has a right to do what she likes with her own body, and the government should not be in a position to restrict her on what to do. Roe V. Wade was the initial foothold that women needed to secure this fundamental right, and with this right being questioned even now, it is essential to keep abortions legal and safe for all (English, 2019). This argument means that women have a right to do abortion, killing the fetus inside her womb with its DNA, blood, and brain because it is inconvenient in some way. In every argument, some different opinions and judgments differ. The issue of Roe v. Wade and the right to women to do an abortion has caused a lot of disagreement in the country. This disagreement has made many people have public protests. Other protests have led to violent demonstrations across the country. Several countries are banning abortions outrightly or with certain time restrictions like the presence of a six-week fetal heartbeat. The states that have currently refused the process of abortion include Iowa, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, North Dakota, Texas, and Tennessee. Texas stands firm on the matter, and some of the other states are still battling legally. Some states like South Carolina have banned abortion except under special occasions like rape. Currently, few states have banned abortion at the time of conception. These states include Utah, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. However, some states appear to recognize that abortion is legalized murder.
The fight against abortion continues in the court of law and many years to come (Greenhouse & Siegel, 2012). This is a sensitive matter that takes a stake in the unborn child’s life and holds the right of women in taking her free will. Pregnancy is defined as having offspring developing in the body, with young or child, as a female or woman mammal. Those who are against pro-life would argue that an unborn child is like a lump of tissue inside a woman’s body. This argument means that the woman has a right to terminate the life of an unborn child in her body. If someone kills a pregnant woman, the fetus also dies. The person will be charged in a court of law with double murder. This paper will explain why the unborn child is living in the womb, why it should be scared, and that a woman should not have the right to kill the child growing inside her body.
Some differences exist about the regulation and laws about abortion in the world. For example, it is illegal for some countries to do an abortion. In some countries, it is legal to do an abortion if the woman is in danger or affected by severe medical conditions. However, these laws and regulations impacted public health in developed and underdeveloped countries. According to Aghaei, Shaghaghi & Sarbaksh (2017), induced abortion is when pregnancy is terminated intentionally by surgical or medical means before the fetus is fully developed. Unsafe abortion is the termination of pregnancy when the woman does not use the required medical procedure. The administration of unsafe abortion is done either on unfavorable environmental conditions or hazardous medical standards. In some countries where abortion is illegal, women try to have a clandestine abortion that is unsafe and dangerous to the woman’s life, or it can have serious health complications to the woman.
Unsafe abortion contributes to approximately 13% of maternal deaths globally (Aghaei, Shaghaghi & Sarbaksh, 2017). These statistics mean that in every 22 million abortions carried out every year, 47000 women die, and 5 million other women receive complicated health conditions. Unsafe abortions contribute to hemorrhage, incomplete abortions, genital injury, and post-abortion sepsis. It is predicted that 5 million women are admitted to hospitals in developing countries because of unsafe abortion complications every year. This may result in long term health complications like infertility.
Different positions state how human life begins. The genetic view says that human life begins at fertilization. At this stage, there is the unification of the genetic material from the sperm of a man and the egg of a woman. The merger of the egg and the sperm creates a complete human combination of the genetic material that makes a growing organism (English, 2019). The embryological view states that human life starts fourteen days after fertilization. At this stage, the embryo attaches itself to the uterus wall, which marks the beginning of the central nervous system. The source cannot split into two to form twins at this stage. Another view states that life begins when the fetus develops a heartbeat. Four to five weeks of development is when the heart starts to beat. Finally, the neurological view states that human life begins when the brain develops. The early neurological idea said that the eighth week is when the nervous start to grow and the brain forms.
The United States law states that life begins after conception. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 created a criminal penalty for anyone who caused death or injury to the unborn child (English, 2019). This act defines the unborn child as a member of the Homo sapiens species who is carried at the womb at any stage of development. This act avoids constitutional challenges by including exceptions that preserve abortion rights. Without including the exceptions, the penalty that has been imposed on a person causing death or injury to the unborn child is the same that applies if death or injury were to happen to the mother. This shows that the act treats the unborn child as a full-grown human being. If the unborn child does not have human life at the stage of development, then the defendants are punished unjustly. But if the unborn child has human life, then the defendants are punished justly.
There has been an increasing argument that human life begins after conception for a long time. However, these arguments may not hold what the Supreme Court states under the constitutional decisions about abortion and human life. A higher percentage of Americans believe that life begins after conception (English, 2019). The arguments on human life differ in how the Supreme Court uses it in Roe v. Wade, where they refer to theology and philosophy on the moral aspect of personhood. So respondents conclude that personhood begins at the onset of the heartbeat, which occurs around four to five weeks of development. When human life is used, philosophical and moral aspects are considered, not just genetic and biological aspects. If one thinks about science, it will be concluded that life begins at conception. In this regard, having an abortion means cutting the unborn child’s life short.
Applying Roe when talking about the issue of abortion, consensus will argue that the life of a human being begins after implantation or fetal heartbeat, if not after conception. The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act protects human life throughout the process of pregnancy, defining it as an unborn child (English, 2019). According to this act, the unborn child is the embryo or fetus developing at any stage. The degree of punishment is justified if the unborn child is a human life. Greater consensus exists to the views that human life begins when the fetal starts to have a heartbeat. The Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) defines death as the heartbeat is of life under the law (English, 2019). Also, USDA states that irreversible cessation of the brain’s functioning constitutes death. This means that life exists at the beginning of brainstem activity. Given this consensus, abiding by Roe, the court could have concluded that human life exists at the beginning of conception. This means that the unborn child has a fundamental right of protection of life.
The attitude towards abortion constitutes two aspects. They include attitude towards abortion as a choice and attitude towards abortion as a procedure. Out of these two aspects, there are two groups of people: regulated people and dilemma people (Rye & Underhill, 2020). The regulated people believe in abortion positively, but they think that abortion should be controlled and should not be made a personal choice. Dilemma people are the ones who believe in abortion negatively, but they are optimistic about the choice they make about abortion. People in this situation hold different opinions and individuals regarding abortion. The sample of the study group that was done found out that there existed regulated and dilemma groups. The people who endorse pro-life and pro-choice opinions about abortion are different from those who have abortion attitudes.
There are some countries where abortion is entirely illegal. In these countries, abortion is only done if it will preserve the life and save the mother’s life. Most South American, Central America, and African countries have made abortion completely illegal. In those countries, a woman does not have an option when she conceives. She should carry the unborn child until the right time to give birth. Most women who participate in unsafe abortions suffer from health complications like sepsis, hemorrhaging, and trauma to several organs (Akaba, Adeka, & Ogolekwu, 2013). Unsafe abortions that are performed cause a high death rate among women in society. According to Akaba, Adeka, & Ogolekwu (2013), preventing unwanted pregnancies is one way of controlling the speed of abortion but having safe abortion accessible to all is to keep maternal is to lower the rate of morbidity.
Roe considered the rights to women to have an abortion, but he did not feel the anti-abortion movement in the United States. The trajectory of Roe also crossed the national borders that initiated contrary opinions seen in a court ruling against abortion. For example, The German Constitutional Court and the European Commission discussed and referred to Roe’s decision to restrict the right to abortion (Chao-Ju, 2013). The United States’ foreign policies prohibit women from having an abortion. This means that American law has influenced the world in enhancing these rights of reproduction. Roe does not promote women’s reproductive rights outside and within the United States. The way Roe is associated with the privacy-right framing has been contested for a long time. Some studies show that framing women’s right to abortion was the option in court and acted as feminists at the time. Besides, several constitutional researchers have shown the possibilities when the ruling is made in court.
The criminalization of abortion has a long history for some countries like Taiwan (Chao-Ju, 2013). In Taiwan, abortion was punished if abortion results in the mother’s death and abortion were done as an assault. Abortion remained illegal in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule, but the crime of doing abortion was re-defined. Later, the Japanese colonial project modernized the criminal law setting more legal restrictions on abortion. Later, the criminal code of the Republic of China-made criminalized abortion (Chao-Ju, 2013). The legislators during this time were concerned about protecting the life of an unborn child and the mother. The main intention of the legislation was to maintain good social customs and protect the public interest. This demonstrates that the modernization of the abortion law in Taiwan was not for the welfare of the women but for the nation’s interest. However, as the enforcement against abortion was poorly done, some people obtained it privately. This poorly enforcement of the law did not remove the need for legalizing abortion for women. The government’s lack of legal protection and support on illegal abortion was expensive and put women’s lives at stake.
Population control policy attributed to most governments to legalize abortion (Chao-Ju, 2013). In some countries, government-sponsored birth control campaigns promoted economic growth. This means that women were used as an instrument for population control instead of embracing women’s reproductive autonomy. The philosophy of international agencies and population organizations argues that the spontaneous increase of population was a third-world issue. This thinking led to the assumption that western birth control services can be taken to third-world women through a top-down fashion. Also, it has been argued that the population program was made by the elite western people who were part of the domestic epistemic community. The United States was the leading actor in formulating the measures that will be used to address the global increase of population. The U.S. funded and facilitated the production of demographic knowledge that initiated the modern ways of controlling the people, like the use of family planning. Then later, the knowledge was made the official policy that resulted in Congress funding the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) and Freedom for Food Bill to assist in the population programs (Chao-Ju, 2013).
As America sponsored the family-planning programs, abortion was not promoted. However, some experts and public officers knew that abortion contributed to population control. Then later, the legalization of abortion was announced through the Guiding Principles of the Population Policy of the Republic of China that enabled the woman to have an abortion if she had complications like genetic diseases. The Eugenics and Health Protection Bill (EHPB) considered abortion a way of reproductive control through the population policy (Chao-Ju, 2013). Then later, it tried to legalize abortion, but it did not identify how to advocate for it. Taiwan supported the criticism that the population control program was western centered, and it did not give the local women a chance to have their rights and autonomy.
Harrison is a renowned world feminist and a Christian who believed that men had no right to determine a woman’s choices regarding her reproductive body (Ellison, 2013). He said that it is the women who get pregnant, and men are the ones who determine the abortion laws and morality nature of it. She believes that women have a right to decide if they want to have sex for pleasure or procreation. The choice is based on the options of effective contraceptives and safe abortions in case of unwanted pregnancy. Abortion remains a secret because the world takes it as a shameful and inappropriate action. But the question that remains is why they are legal if they are morally and ethically wrong. The federal judicial system is the reason why abortion was legalized. Much repeal was brought to court in several countries with the hope that repealing Roe v. Wade would take away the right of women to choose an abortion if needed basing the idea that fetuses would have the right to live from the time of conception (Hittinger, 2010).
The scholars sometimes assume to include the morality policy that advocates the contradiction between religious and fundamental moral values. A new fundamental standard in sixteen states where abortion is legal but limited advocates believe that morality comes when the rights of the woman and the fetus are looked at (Mucciaroni, Ferraiolo & Rubado, 2019). Every year more than 4 million Latin American women do abortions. Most of the procedures performed are done under unfavorable conditions that endanger the mother’s life. This has made the region have a serious public health issue that threatens women’s lives. Most abortions are done secretly because of the limitations and restrictions of the law. In some parts of the region, the doctor may legally perform the abortion if the pregnancy was characterized by endangering the mother’s life or having fatal complications.
The high level of illegal abortions is not something new because the policymakers have been aware for more than 30 years. The community survey conducted in Chile shows that most women have more than two abortions before their childbearing years. Also, studies done in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru show that in the year 1970, an average of 1.5 induced abortions were done in the woman’s reproductive life (Deirdre, 1996). Currently, the highest rate of abortion is done in Chile and Peru, and Mexico experiences the lowest rate slightly. Suppose these rates prevail continuously for the next 30 years. In that case, the average of women having an abortion by 49 will be very minimal compared to other regions like Chile and Peru (Deirdre, 1996). However, in these regions, abortion is done through some vegetable products and herbs. These products used are believed not to affect the mother. Some women use foreign objects to destroy the fetus on the uterus or apply oral or vaginal pharmaceutical products to eliminate the embryo. In urban areas, women who have money can attend the clinic and perform the abortion safely using curettage and dilatation.
Most women hospitalized for abortion say that they cannot raise the child, others give family reasons, and others say they are in an unstable relationship. The majority of the women attribute to difficult economic and social status makes it hard for them to have a baby (Deirdre, 1996). Induced abortion remains a normal practice in the Latin American region. Despite the negative implications of abortion, the procedures followed nowadays seem safer than what was used in the past.
In conclusion, many factors make a woman opt to use an effective contraceptive as a way of abortion because of adequate social and family support. In developing parts of the world, the role and responsibilities of women are changing. These changes place some women in a better position to improve their economic status. Consequently, some conditions limit women from improving their fundamental economic and social quality. The policymakers and other stakeholders should formulate better ways that can impact the lives of women in urban and rural areas to be in a position of planning well her family life. Governments should review laws that contain strict punitive measures against women and other people who facilitate illegal abortion.
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