Opinions on Debatable Issues #8
Roe v. Wade decides that a woman’s right to choose an abortion was protected by the privacy rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, the ruling was made on a false premise because it only upholds if abortion is a privacy issue. However, abortion is not just about personal preference or subjective opinion, it is a moral perspective that has an objective ethical rightness or wrongness.
To determine whether abortion is moral or not, we need to examine the essence of a fetus’s life. Any abortion supporters argue that fetuses are not fully human and are not under the protection of the law. Nevertheless, scientific findings show us unequivocally that fetuses are humans, which make abortion the act of murder. Fetuses have their DNA with complete 46 chromosomes, and their own body distinct from their parents and develop their own legs, arms, brains, nervous systems, hearts, and other human organs. They also meet the biological criteria for life because they grow by reproducing cells, metabolize, and respond to stimuli. According to the textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, “Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote”, which is “marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
Some argue that the fetus’ brain is not fully developed so abortion would not be killing a human. However, human deaths are related to the brain is because the human body can no longer function as an integrated whole without a brain. If the body can still function, then it would not count as a death. Since “very young embryo does not require it in order to function as an organism and direct her own growth (including the development of her brain)”, despite having no developed brains, fetuses are alive. Therefore, abortion supporters are, in fact, advocating that fetuses, despite being alive and having all human characteristics, do not deserve human rights because they are not considered “human” or “alive” in this philosophical sense. That is morally wrong.
One argument held by lots of abortion supports is that in the first trimester of development, the fetus is inviable, which is to say that “the fetus is not sufficiently developed as an independent being deserving and requiring the full protection of the law”; as a result, they argue that abortion at first 6 months of pregnancy is legit. However, this standard is not invalid because the reasoning behind it is circular, according to Francis, Beckwith. She argues that to say “a nonviable fetus should not have legal standing because it is not an independent organism” is the same as to say “a nonviable fetus should not have legal standing because it is nonviable”.
Also, according to this reasoning, only when an organism is by itself independent that it deserves legal protection. As I mentioned before, fetuses are viable biologically even in the first 2 trimesters. Embryologist Maureen L. Condic, a professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, says “From the moment of sperm-egg fusion, a human zygote acts as a complete whole, with all the parts of the zygote interacting in an orchestrated fashion to generate the structures and relationships required for the zygote to continue developing towards its mature state.” This means no matter what stage the pregnancy is at, the fetus has “molecular composition and behavior characteristic of a self-integrated and self-directed organism”, which makes it viable and should be protected by the law as a human being.
If the case was overturned, Pre-viability gestational bans and Trigger laws, also called Pre-Roe bans, would be re-enforced in 9 out of the 50 states. This helps people to make moral decisions, which is protecting fetuses regardless of the stage of the pregnancy.
Some worry that without abortion, mothers would fall into poverty and struggle for the rest of their life, so the fetus would be unwanted and should not be born in the first place. However, many women are just scared and confused to raise a child. Abortion gives them an easy way out and to avoid a responsibility that they are not prepared for at that moment. But all they need is the time to process the shock and be held accountable for their behaviors and the fetus. Maria, a 16-year-old girl got pregnant in 1996. Her father had died the year before and her family has six siblings. They struggled with poverty and her boyfriend’s father also brought the money to pay for a backstreet abortion. As she described, abortion “almost seemed the logical thing to do”. However, her family decided to keep the baby. 20 years later, Maria confessed, “my life as a teen mother was hard. But it was hard even before he came to my life.”
I am not saying that we should ignore the difficulties incurred by poor families bearing many children. However, the solution to this issue is not to avoid the burden at the expense of human lives. We should advocate for more financial aids and effective programs to help those families alleviate the situation.
Also, to clarify, overturning Roe vs.Wade does not mean abortion is illegal even when pregnancy is threatening the life of the mother. If the physician decides that the mother’s life is at stake, then abortion is justified.
Roe vs Rade is not an issue of personal preference, but one with a determined moral right and wrong. Since a fetus is a living human, it deserves the right to live and the protection of the law. A law prohibiting abortion is only unjustifiable if it limits the free agency/privacy of someone according to the 14th amendment. Roe v. Wade perceives banning abortion as an impingement of the free agency of the mother. However, abortion is the unjust limit and the hindrance to the actualization of the free agency of fetuses given that they are human beings as well. So, the ruling of Roe and Wade is contradictory to the 14th amendment since abortion impinges the fetus’ constitutional rights, which is stated clearly: “state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. If the state does not interfere with abortion, the fetus’ right to life is deprived of going through a trial.
With the above points listed out, the current ruling of Roe v. Wade is both immoral and unconstitutionl. Being a violation of the 14th amendment, it should be overturned to establish constitutional and ethical laws.
Check out other Opinions on Debatable Issues: - Nature vs. Nurture https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/07/09/nature-vs-nurture/ - The "Weaknesses" of DACA https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/08/25/the-weaknesses-of-daca/ - Why the US Should Hold Onto USPS https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/01/why-the-us-should-hold-onto-usps/ - Why No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a FAILURE https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/05/why-no-child-left-behind-act-ncld-is-a-failure/ - The Fairness of Progressive Taxes https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/12/the-fairness-of-progressive-taxes/ - Using MORE Nuclear Energy for Commercial Energy Generation. Yes or No? https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/19/using-more-nuclear-energy-for-commercial-energy-generation-yes-or-no/ - The United States Elections Should NOT be Run as a "Lottocracy". https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/09/26/the-united-states-elections-should-not-be-run-as-a-lottocracy/ - Parents Should NOT be Given the Legal Rights to Refuse Medical Treatments for Children https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/03/parents-should-not-be-given-the-legal-rights-to-refuse-medical-treatments-for-children/ - Halloween Amidst the Pandemic. Yes or No? https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/10/24/halloween-amidst-the-pandemic-yes-or-no/