One of the major social issues that attract a great deal of controversy in America is abortion. Both supporters and opponents of abortion offer a wide range of arguments to support their position. These opinions have been influenced by several factors such as personal belief systems, life experiences, and degree of religiosity. While most people may have strong opinions on the issue of abortion, some may still be undecided. But whether one has already reached a position on the issue or is still trying to make up his/her mind, it is important to be aware of arguments on both sides of the issue. This will increase the probability of adopting more objective position on abortion issue.
One of the arguments made by supporters of abortion is that unwanted pregnancies increase the probability of poverty. They even contend that the healthcare system should cover abortion or at least make it affordable because many teenage girls from poor background do not abort unwanted pregnancies because they cannot afford the costs . If teenage girls are allowed abortion, their probability of completing high school and even going to college may be higher but if they cannot abort unwanted pregnancies, not only they are more likely to end up in poverty but the same will also be true for their children . This argument implies that there are huge economic costs for not allowing abortion or making it affordable.
The supporters of abortion right also believe that the controversy is being extended unnecessarily because as far as they are concerned, the issue has been settled. In order to support their argument, they point out to Roe v. Wade case in which Supreme Court defended the right of women to have abortion . Thus, even the highest court of the land has recognized women’s right to have abortion and a ban on abortion will be a violation of a constitutional right of women.
The supporters of the women right to have abortion also claim majority of the Americans hold the same position. According to a joint poll by NBC News and Wall Street Journal, 54 percent of Americans unconditionally support the right to abortion while 44 percent support it in certain circumstances such as rape and health risk to the mother. 70 percent of the respondents also voiced support for the ROE v. Wade outcome . Thus, supporters of abortion believe their voice is the same as the voice of the majority of Americans and the voice of the majority should be heard in a democratic society.
The supporters of abortion believe that banning abortion will not only be wrong but also impractical because abortion activities will only move underground and expose women to unhealthy and even life-threatening procedures. The supporters also claim their position is sensible which may be why even though religious institutions like the Catholic Church opposes abortion, most of the church adherents support abortion .
The supporters of abortion reject the solutions offered by opponents of abortions such as abstinence only educations because supporters claim these solutions do not work. They point out the fact that research has found conservative states to have higher teen pregnancy rates on the average than the liberal states and if abstinence only programs really worked, the findings would have been totally opposite.
Those who oppose abortion believe that life starts at the conception, thus, abortion is akin to murder. The opponents also believe that life is given by God and only God should have the right to take away life. The opponents believe that a child in the womb should have all the rights that a living person has . This argument by opponents of abortion has its origins in the religion and it is reasonable to assume that it is the position taken by the majority of the conservative Christians and probably from strict adherents of many other religions as well.
The opponents of abortion also argue that the majority of Americans do not unconditionally support abortion and they also point out to polls such as the 2012 Gallup Poll according to which 60 percent Americans believe abortion should be illegal after first three months of pregnancy .
The opponents also believe their opposition to abortion is shaped by their desire to protect families. They argue that the supporters of abortion frame the issue as one of women’s right but this issue is about protecting family values. According to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, politicians who oppose abortion should be more vocal about their position because opposing abortion is not a political liability as some has come to fear .
The opponents of abortion believe that there are other alternatives which are less extreme such as abstinence only education. The opponents fear that access to abortion promotes risky sexual lifestyle because young girls and adult women know they can always get abortion. If one makes mistakes, one should take responsibility for her actions. A ban on abortion will promote more responsible attitudes towards sexual lifestyle.
It is clear that both supporters and opponents have strong beliefs about their respective positions. The supporters of abortion believe abortion is a constitutional right, helps the economy prevent huge economic and social costs, and is practical solution to unwanted pregnancies, especially among young teens. The opponents believe abortion is a sin against god, weakens family system, and alternatives such as abstinence only programs should be implemented to discourage liberal attitudes towards sexual lifestyle.
- Brace, A. M., Hall, M., & Hunt, B. P. (2008). Social, Economic, and Health Costs of Unintended Teen Pregnancy: The Circle of Care Intervention Program in Troup County, Georgia. Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association, 1(1), pp. 33-46. Print.
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