Rounding Up on Abortion
Fact is, about 1 in 5 sexually active girls ages 15 to 19 gets pregnant each year. In 1999 alone, 860,000 American girls became pregnant. The vast majority of adolescent pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted (Dolgin & Rice 2005, p. 111). Alarming as it is, teenage girls have a higher possibility of choosing abortion because of their “unpreparedness” to become a parent.
Abortion became a social issue as a landmark case of Roe vs. Wade (1973) moved the question of the legality of abortion from the state to the federal level. Debates regarding abortion have been split into two opposing views: pro-choice and pro-life. The pro-choice supporters are individuals who favor a woman’s reproductive rights, including the right to choose to have an abortion. On the other side are the pro-life advocates, who may oppose abortion for any reason or who may only accept abortion in extreme circumstances, as when the mother’s life would be threatened by carrying a pregnancy to term (McGee & Merz, 2005).
The right to life is the most basic and most important. Scientific advancement has shown that a fetus is a unique individual human being. It is not just a mass of cells or a parasite growing within the womb that has to be removed. It is not a disease that must be discarded or eliminated. The issue on abortion revolves around a human life capable of feeling and fleeing from danger. Based on this undeniable fact the right to life applies and must be weighed in against all other considerations (Sprengel, 1999).
However, an overwhelming majority of Americans are outraged about making abortion legal in the U.S. A Gallup Poll in 2003 informed that 70 percent favored and 25 percent opposed “a law that would make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as ‘partial birth abortion,’ except in cases necessary to save the life of the mother.” President George W. Bush, himself, even supported this common opinion, as he said, “Partial-birth abortion is an abhorrent procedure that offends human dignity” (Smith, 2003).
In the final analysis, it is up to the American people to decide about debunking the legality of abortion in our country. As a whole, the government should not decide on issues that dwell over matters of what the majority perceives. However, the best solution is always prevention. Inculcating the right knowledge to people in becoming responsible individuals would enlighten their overall awareness about the consequences of abortion.
Dolgin, Kim Gale and Rice, F. Philip. The Adolescent: Development, Relationships, and Culture, 11th ed. New York: Prentice-Hall – Pearson Education Company, 2005.
McGee, G., and Merz, J. F. Abortion. Microsoft® Encarta® 2005 [CD-ROM]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.
Smith, C. H. (2003, March 11). Should Congress ban so-called partial-birth abortions? The CQ Researcher, 13 (11).
Sprengel, Mark K. Fundamental Issues. (1999). Abortion Facts Website. Retrieved Online February 10, 2006 from http://www.abortionfacts.com/parsing_the_arguments/sprengel.asp