Women’s rights have gradually increased for centuries. The reward of freedom that women today feel should be attributed to the fighting and numerous social movements that women have been a part of the last two centuries. One of the things that women have a right to today are abortions, or the right to remove a fetus from the womb before it is given birth to. Abortion is perhaps one of the greatest polarizing topics today, and with good meaning. There are some people who are pro-choice; these people favor the right for women to choose to abort their baby and favor abortion. There are others who oppose abortion because they believe that the baby inside the womb is indeed alive and living; these people call themselves pro-life, and many of them are pro-religion which ties into their choice to oppose abortion. Then there are the in-betweens, or the people who aren’t pro-choice nor pro-life; these people are actually in favor of cutting off the right to abort after some time period or indication that the baby can live outside the womb at a specific time.
In fact, a lot of Americans are in-betweens and believe that we can come to a solution when it comes to the abortion debate. In my opinion, abortion should be legal in the U.S. for numerous reasons. Women have lived with the right of an abortion for so long, as in 2013 there were 664,435 legal abortions which were reported to the CDC (“CDCs Abortion Surveillance” 4). In fact, there were 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women in 2013, and there were 200 abortions per 1,000 births as well. I believe that restricting abortion fully would actually make many women upset and ultimately destroy one of the freedoms here in the United States. In my opinion, abortion should be legal in the United States because it’s been ruled on by the Supreme Court and that it prevents children from being born with parents who don’t want them.
The Supreme Court, as we are taught in high school, is the Law of the Land. The Supreme Court doesn’t hear many cases per year, but the cases that it does hear shape American society and can have many consequences – both good and bad. Roe v. Wade was a monumental Supreme Court case which happened in 1971. Just some background, Roe, who we know as a resident of Texas, looked to get an abortion, but Texas’ law restricted her because her life wasn’t endangered. During that time it was illegal in Texas to get an abortion unless the women’s life was at stake. The Court wanted to answer the question of whether or not the Constitution supports a woman’s right to an abortion. The Court’s final decision was a 7-2 decision supporting the notion that a woman’s right is granted by the Constitution to abort. More specifically, the Fourteenth Amendment gives a woman both the right and the privacy to get an abortion. This Supreme Court decision allowed women total control over the first trimester and left it up to the states for the second and third trimesters (“Row v. Wade” 5). Now, the court ruled overwhelmingly that women should have the right to an abortion in the first trimester, and I think that this was the right choice.
The Court’s decision gave women more rights and gave them the right to abort while also not totally restricting the rights of the states. In my opinion, the country will never be able to come to a complete consensus on whether or not a baby is alive while in the womb, so it makes sense that the Court would rule on the first trimester and leave it up to the demographic territories (the states) when it comes to a more murkier issue: late-term abortion. Since the country has become more polarized (a consolidation of pro-life and pro-choice people in their respective states), the decision seems to have been a huge success. Even now, the Supreme Court is still ruling on abortion and cases of abortion clinics, but Roe v. Wade will be the most important abortion decision probably ever (Chappell 1).
Another reason why abortion should be legal is that it reduces the amount of unwanted children. That’s pretty obvious an undeniable. Why would a woman who wants to abort but can’t produce a child who would automatically be loved? The reason isn’t particularly the number of unwanted children would decrease but it would be the effects of this. In other words, unwanted children born in economic situations that are poor have a greater chance of becoming a criminal than an unwanted child born in a good socioeconomic situation. There’s an even greater chance when comparing that with wanted children born in good socioeconomic situations. According to an American Psychological Article, the greatest way to prevent child crime is to create an environment that is welcoming and fosters nurturing (“Socioeconomic status” 3). When the amount of crime rose in the 1970s and 1980s, but then in the 1990s it plunged (Stossel & Varney 1). While there has been a lot of debate on this, I think that some of the reason for this drop in crime can be attributed to a loosening of restrictions on abortion. The timing of this theory makes sense as well, as the Roe v. Wade case happened in the early 1970s, and the drop in crime in the early 1990s can be attributed to this.
- “CDCs Abortion Surveillance System FAQs.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Jan. 2017, www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm.
- Chappell, Bill. “Supreme Court Takes On Case About Free Speech And Abortion.” NPR, NPR, 13 Nov. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/13/563737297/supreme-court-takes-on-case-about-free-speech-and-abortion.
- “Roe vs. Wade.” Oyez, www.oyez.org/cases/1971/70-18.
Stossel, John, and Ann Varney. “Does Abortion Lower Crime Rates?” ABC News, ABC News Network, 14 Apr. 2006, abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=1843646&page=1.
- “Violence & Socioeconomic Status.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/violence.aspx.