By: Julia L., Seventh grade, Krieger Schechter Day School of Chizuk Amuno Congregation
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade. Recently, however, President Donald Trump has vowed to ban abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or situations in which the woman’s life is in danger.
President Trump appointed two Supreme Court Justices who oppose a woman’s right to choose, and last spring, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a draconian bill into law that could punish doctors who perform abortions with a life sentence. However, according to a New York Times article “Alabama Abortion Ban Is Temporarily Blocked by a Federal Judge,” the federal government has temporarily thwarted the law. As more and more people write bills to restrict abortion, we need more supporters to fight them.
Even though no laws that prohibit abortions have been put into place, women do not have it easy everywhere. According to CNN, six states in the U.S. offer only one abortion clinic. In addition, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana have passed bills that prohibit abortion after about six weeks. Furthermore, according to Amnesty International, a global movement that protects human rights, another issue making it difficult for some women to seek abortions is that 27 major U.S. cities are not within 100 miles of an abortion care facility.
Studies from The Lancet, a science journal, have shown that the abortion rate is higher in countries where the procedure is banned than in countries where it is permitted. In addition, conservative, pro-life leaders, such as President Trump, are trying to cut funding for social services, such as the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid. These programs help children in low-income households.
Abortion is a human right. Women have the right to liberty, privacy, equality, and freedom from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, “The right to safe and legal abortion is a fundamental human right protected under numerous international and regional human rights treaties and national-level constitutions around the world.” Many religious people oppose abortion because they feel that it is a violation of their religious doctrines. However, the first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” In this respect, a law prohibiting abortion based on religion violates the first amendment. We need to make sure that our most basic right, to control our own body, is protected.
A common misconception is that women who seek abortions regret their decision. However, according to the New York Times, 95% of women who get abortions do not regret the decision. While women who undergo abortions often face some psychological distress, women who are denied abortions display much more psychological distress.
Restricting abortion will increase deaths and the dangers involved in illegal abortions. A New York Times article, “I’ll Never be Ashamed of my Abortion,” states that “the mortality rate [among women] dropped significantly, from about 70 patient deaths per 100,000 cases before the ruling to 1.3 [deaths per 100 recipients of abortion] after the decision of Roe vs Wade.” The Roe v Wade ruling saved many lives, and increasing restrictions on abortions will increase deaths caused by illegally obtained abortions. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 23,000 women die of unsafe abortions each year, and tens of thousands more experience significant health complications. The Center for Reproductive Rights notes that “legal restrictions on abortion do not result in fewer abortions; instead, they compel women to risk their lives and health by seeking out unsafe abortion care.” Legal and unrestricted access to abortion will save lives.
Abortion opponents often say it is murder, but that is untrue. According to Harper’s Bazaar, “Medical evidence tells us fetuses cannot live unsupported, even with a respirator before 21 weeks.” Fetuses cannot feel pain because they do not yet have the brain connections to do so. According to Harper’s Bazaar, pro-life supporters say that “any fertile egg is a human, ignoring the fact that the majority do not make it to birth.” Also, according to Harper’s Bazaar, it is safer to get a legal abortion than to go through the process of childbirth. In fact, 95% of women who give birth for the first time will experience vaginal tearing. In addition, vomiting, gestational diabetes, hemorrhoids, bowel problems, incontinence are all common conditions resulting from pregnancy and childbirth. In the United States, the mortality rate is increasing.
Women who are denied abortions also are significantly more likely to experience extreme poverty. According to The Lancet, 73% of women get an abortion because they do not have the finances to care for their child. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, restricting abortion will lead to fewer black women graduating from high school. If they do not graduate high school, their economic situation will likely worsen. They will not be able to provide the financial needs to their child nor pursue further education. Some people say to put the child up for adoption; however, there are more children who need to be adopted than people willing to adopt. What about foster care? Putting children in the foster care system is setting them up for failure. According to Foster Focus, a foster care news site, the child will constantly change homes and is likely to become homeless, continuing the cycle of poverty.
In conclusion, restricting abortion access violates human rights laws, does not decrease abortions, increases poverty, and leads to more deaths. We need to ensure that women are able to make decisions about their own bodies without government intervention.
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