State of the Conversation

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Abortion continues to spark heated controversies around the world. This is the stance of the vast majority of governments around the world. Before the landmark case Roe vs. Wade in 1973, this was the case in the United States. The aforementioned event marks a watershed moment in the abortion debate. However, pro-life philosophy is not the most widely held belief in the United States. Sure, it has broad support from the government, as well as from Republicans, Libertarians, and people of most faiths. In recent years, a new trend has gained traction in Western countries, fuelled by a rising tide of feminism and other political ideas. The pro-choice ideology supports the view that the mother has the right to self-determination as far as abortion is concerned.

The literature on the issue of abortion is extensive. The internet is obviously the largest source of information. So, anyone looking for information on the issue can conveniently browse the information online. Abortion is controversial issue for obvious reasons, that is, it involves the lives of two parties, a mother and her unborn child. In 1973, the Supreme Court made a ruling that reduced the huddles to procuring an abortion. A study conducted in 1988 found that pro-life activists tend to be more passionate than their pro-choice counterparts. Another study found that societal attitude was changing in favor of pro-choice ideology. This was attributed to the spread of liberal or progressive ideas such as feminism that promote self-determination in women. In addition, it was also found that most individuals chose a neutral position or the ‘middle ground’ as far as abortion concerned. Literature review also shows that religion plays an important role on the choice of a pro-life or anti-abortionist stance. In addition, previous research has been done to gauge the attitude of the public political or sociological or psychological reasons. The aim of this paper is to add to the existing academic knowledge.

The pro-life movement in the United States is also known as the right to life or anti-abortion movement. The argument behind this stance is that because biology proves that life begins at conception and that abortion is thus murder. After all, it takes away the fetus’ or baby’s right to life. Anti-abortionists or pro-life activists advocate for more regulation or prohibition of abortion on sectarian and moral grounds. This ideology is older because it is tied to religion and the sanctity of life. This view enjoyed widespread support in legislation and implementation all over the United States until 1973 when the Supreme Court did away with most of the laws regulating the first trimester of pregnancy.

Proponents of the pro-life view are of the opinion that abortion by a mother is equivalent to murder ethically. The government has the right to protect the right to life and should therefore make it difficult or illegal to procure an abortion. Pro-lifers also show opposition to other life-threatening practices such as euthanasia or mercy killing. The central point of this spectrum of the abortion issue is whether or not the fetus has the right to life that every other person on the planet. The rationale is that life begins at conception. Morality is also a strong basis for a pro-life argument and abortion is seeing as morally and ethically impermissible.

On the other hand, the proponents of this ideology are of the view that the ultimate choice on whether to preserve or terminate a pregnancy on either elective ground, therapeutic grounds or for any other reasons lies with the mother. The case for abortion is that pregnancy is an individual choice rather than a communal or societal one. Furthermore, legalization of abortion serves a greater good. It reduces the risks associated with illegal abortion and promotes overall reproductive health in women. While the term pro-abortion refers to support for the right to abortion, the term pro-choice is used more expansively to refer to the reproductive rights, freedoms, and individual liberties of women.

The pro-choice wave is relatively young compared to the pro-life and it grew in popularity from the 60s and 70s as the United States adopted a more liberal or progressive attitude. As women gained more rights, freedoms and recognition in society, so did the pro-choice movement which encompassed more than just those in support of abortion. The pro-choice movement is about getting women more rights as far as their reproductive rights are concerned and is centered around the principle of self-determination. Self-determination means that the woman decides whether or not to have the baby without any external pressure or influence. Pro-choice activists support abortion as part embodying that reproductive freedom is key to gender equality. They believe that the government should not determine what is good for an individual. The right to abort should be available for every female for elective or therapeutic reasons.

From the discussion above, it cannot go without saying that reproductive politics cannot be overlooked in the modern world. Women tend to feel more inclined to take charge of their bodies and determine what’s best for them. This is the result of the feminist wave that swept the United States in the 80s. Whether or not abortion is murder or not should not be an issue. Looking at the pro-life and the pro-choice arguments, the issue of abortion is simply a discussion revolving the reproductive health of a woman. As such, more attention should actually be focused promoting females’ reproductive rather than whether a woman should decide what to do with the life growing inside her.

In conclusion, the issue of reproductive rights is a complex especially because it revolves around lives. Whether or not a woman reserves the right to an abortion will continue being a thorny one. In the United States, the issue is very controversial in religious and socio-political settings. Our attitudes towards abortion are shaped by our environment especially family and religious beliefs. The Roe vs. Wade case of 1973 served as a stepping stone as far as the rights of women in the procurement of abortion is concerned. There is still a lot that needs to be done and the only way may be to consider both the pro-life and the pro-choice arguments to get a middle ground to the issue of abortion.


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January 13, 2023

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