Abortion takes away the fundamental, unalienable right to life; therefore, it is legally wrong. Its effects on unborn children and women are both traumatic and long-lasting, which makes abortion the wrong choice physically and emotionally. Because it results in an unnatural and unnecessary death, abortion is morally wrong. For these reasons, abortion is wrong and should be made illegal.
Even though the verdict of Roe vs. Wade was rendered in 1973, the issue of abortion continues to be extremely controversial today. It is always a popular and important issue during presidential elections. Most people have a firm belief in whether or not abortion should be legal. While there are many other factors and issues, the debate about whether or not abortion should be legal is deeply rooted in differences of belief in two main areas. These differences are when human life begins and where government jurisdiction ends (Cozic and Petrikin 14).
Roe vs. Wade is the well-known Supreme Court case that gave women the right to have an abortion. The Supreme Court decided on January 22, 1973 that the right to have an abortion was protected by the United States Constitution. They had reasoned that "a woman's right to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy is a fundamental right, part of a 'right of privacy' the Court had recognized in earlier cases." Since the Court decided that the right to decide whether or not to terminate pregnancy is a fundamental right, only a compelling reason gives the government grounds to interfere with the right of women to have an abortion. In short, women have the right to an abortion, but it is not absolute. During the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman has the right to obtain an abortion without the interference of government. The only stipulation is that the abortion be completed by a licensed physician. During the second trimester, giving birth to a child is less dangerous for a woman than having an abortion; therefore, government has the ability to regulate abortion, but only in order to preserve and protect the woman's health. So, during the second trimester, government can only interfere to be sure that abortions are preformed safely in order to protect the mother. During the third trimester of pregnancy, the fetus is capable of living outside of the mother. This point is called fetal viability. At the point of fetal viability, starting at the beginning of the third trimester, the life of the fetus becomes a compelling reason for government to interfere in the decision to have an abortion. During the third trimester, government can regulate or even prohibit abortions. The only exception to government interference in the third trimester is the protection of life or health of the woman (Tribe 10).
While the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion was a women's right, in the following years, research and studies have been done on the effects of legalized abortion. With new information showing harmful and long-lasting effects on women, the case for abortion needs to be revisited. Given the detrimental effects of abortion, government not only has the right to interfere, but the responsibility to get involved. The government needs to protect everyone, especially those that are unable to protect themselves. This includes unborn children and women. Women are often encouraged by family or friends to get an abortion with little thought for the future effects. These women need to be protected by the government by making abortion illegal (Williams 39).
When Life Begins
One of the most difficult factors of deciding whether or not abortion should be legal is that of deciding when life begins. Supporters of choice will likely argue that life begins at the beginning of the third trimester or when a child is born and living without the assistance of its mother, but we must consider the possibility that life actually begins at conception. From the very start, a fetus is separate from its mother. The fetus has its own unique genetic code; therefore, it is a separate human being. A fetus should be considered a human being with rights from the time of conception (Hadley 59).
The most basic human right is the right to life. We are fortunate in the United States that human life is respected and treated with dignity. Abortion degrades and violates this inalienable right to life. Human life is sacred from conception to natural death; therefore, abortion is immoral. An unborn fetus has no voice. It is weak and defenseless, and therefore needs more than anyone to be protected (Williams 17).
Effects on Women
Not only does abortion kill the fetus, but abortion also causes physical and emotional harm to women. The effects on women caused by abortions include physical injuries, medical complications, and death. "Safe and legal" abortions many times result in the physical damage caused by complications that include uterine perforation, cervical laceration, hemorrhaging, anesthesia reactions, and infection. Abortion has even been linked to breast cancer. Even more long-term problems may surface in the future, as we will then have had time to study abortion's long-term effects (Williams 164).
While having an abortion may seem like the right thing to do at the time, many women will come to regret their decision in later years. These women are left to deal with long-term grief and psychological difficulties after having an abortion. In fact, "women who have had abortions are three times more likely to commit suicide, within one year of their abortions, than the general population and six times more likely than women who have given birth, according to an article in the British Medical Journal." Even as more time passes after the abortion, women continue to experience negative emotional effects. They grieve each year on the day that would have been their children's birthday. Women also experience emotional pain upon seeing other children who are the age that their children would be at that time. When anything reminds them of the children they aborted, these women often experience pain, doubt, and guilt (Williams 165).
Aborted Women: Silent No More is a book that contains true stories about women who have had abortions and now regret them. Many of the women in stories were coerced into having an abortion by someone in their family or even a health professional. Others were not informed about the risks and long-term effects of abortion. All of the women experienced physiological difficulties and regretted their decision to have an abortion. Unfortunately, this is the reality of abortion for many women (Reardon 21).
Those who oppose making abortion illegal will likely argue that abortion is a "necessary evil," because some women may die by attempting to get an illegal abortion. But, abortion is murder and the fetus will die without question. Abortion is murder of innocent, defenseless children simply because they are inconvenient or unwanted at the present time. If abortion were illegal, the death of women seeking abortions will likely increase, but the number of fetuses killed will definitely decrease. Therefore, the total number of abortion-related deaths, including women and fetuses, will decline if abortion is made illegal (Williams 122).
Alternatives to Abortion
If unwanted children grow to be a problem, then perhaps the adoption system should be changed. The term "unwanted children," here refers to children not wanted by their biological parents. This distinction is made because children not wanted by their biological parents are not necessarily unwanted by anyone else. In fact, there are currently millions of parents who desperately want to adopt children because they are unable to have biological children, or cannot do so without serious medical consequences. Unfortunately, the adoption process is difficult to maneuver and often takes years to complete. If the entire adoption system was to be given the overhaul…