Pro-choice versus pro-life has been a continuous debate for years. The pro-life movement believes that human life begins at fertilization and that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being; on the other hand, the pro-choice movement holds the position that the women who are pregnant should decide whether or not they want to give birth. This debate is worldwide and abortion has different laws/regulations in every country. The rightful answer between this argument is the pro-choice movement; this is illustrated by the subjugation of women, sexual liberation, men, religion/politics, the pro-life movement, rape, forced abortions, financial need, women’s health and rights, and science.
Subjugation Of Women
Women have been treated unequally and subjugated for centuries all around the world. According to the Netflix Documentary, Reversing Roe, the Roe v. Wade Supreme court case of 1973 legalized abortion in the United States. To explain, the right to choose whether or not to carry a baby to term is legally protected by the US constitution. The right to decide is only one of the hundreds of issues women have been fighting years for, this is why the pro-choice movement is not just about having the right to abort, but about standing against and defeating the patriarchy. Time and time again women have been told their job is to give birth to a child and the pro-life movement, as well as society, has to realize that a woman’s purpose in life is not to have children, but to live her life the way she wants to. The argument between pro-choice and pro-life is not just a political conversation or a philosophical debate, but about women lives being shaped by misogyny since childhood and into adulthood. The pro-life movement is just another way a women’s rights are being violated and taken away from them. The pro-choice organization is a way to give women the right and freedom to determine what they want to do with their lives after centuries of oppression.
Sexual liberty has to do with the freedom of partaking in sexual activities without judgment and however someone wants; this means each person has the choice to have some sex, a lot of sex, or no sex. The article “The Pill and the Sexual Revolution,” explains, “Feminists asserted that single women had the same sexual desires and should have the same sexual freedoms as everyone else in society.”(1) This means that women have sex just as much as men and they should not be shamed or forced to carry a child because of it. The pro-life movement blames women for getting pregnant and tells them to stop having sex, but this argument is illogical because mistakes happen and sex happens. Society and the pro-life movement can not expect all woman who do not want children to be sexually abstinent. To put this in perspective, saying women should not be allowed to get abortions because they were the ones who had unprotected sex is essentially like saying drivers should not receive treatment in a car crash because knew the risks when they got a driving license. Access to abortion allows these women to do what they want, while simultaneously not having to worry about giving birth to a child they do not want.
Another perspective in the debate between pro-choice and pro-life is that of a man’s. There are men who believe that, as the father of the fetus, they should be allowed to decide whether or not a woman has an abortion. Men believe this because there are situations where a woman gets pregnant and does not want the child, but her husband or boyfriend does. An example of this is shown on the TV Show Grey’s Anatomy in “Season 8, Episode 1” between the characters Cristina Yang and Owen Hunt. There is a scene that takes place between Dr. Yang and Dr. Grey where Yang declares, “I really do not want to be a mother. I want to be a surgeon and please get it. I need someone to get it and I wish that someone was Owen... I’m scared and sad that my husband does not get that.”(S8 EP1) To explain, Yang does not want to raise a child because she wants to continue her career without the interference of a baby, but her husband does not understand or support her point of view, which happens abundantly in these situations. There is also another scene where Dr. Grey tells Dr. Hunt, "She didn’t have the abortion. She wants to and she can’t do it because of you, because she loves you and instead of loving her, you are punishing her... trying to pretend that she loves a kid as much as she loves surgery will almost kill her and it’ll almost kill your kid." (S8EP1) To break this down, when a woman is forced to have a baby she did not want it can deteriorate her career and negatively affects the child; no child deserves to be brought into a world where they would not be loved. The scientific truth is that a man’s role in the creation of a fetus is extremely minimal; all a man does is ejaculate, everything else regarding the conception is on the body of the women, so she deserves the final say on whether or not she will carry to term. Men have had control of a woman’s body for centuries, they do not deserve the right to tell a woman to go through nine months of intense change because they want a baby. A man will also never know the hardships of being a woman, just as a white person will never know the oppression experienced by a black person. Therefore, a woman does not and will never owe an explanation to a man, who does not have or uterus and can not get pregnant, on why they want to have an abortion.
Religion and Politics
The arguments that are proposed for and against abortion incorporate both religion and politics. As portrayed by the documentary Reversing Roe the majority of pro-lifers who believe abortion should be illegal are religious. Those religious pro-lifers believe that having an abortion is a sin in the eyes of God. The pro-choice movement refutes this argument by asserting the fact that the United States is founded upon the separation of church and state, so religious texts should not be used as the basis for or justification of public policy; therefore, any discussion about what the bible does or does not condone is a distraction. Regardless of the separation between church and state, faith has been shown to impact laws across all social aspects including abortion, gay marriage, and even sex education. The pro-life moment wants the number of abortions performed to decrease, but they are fighting for more abstinence-only programs that rely on inaccurate information and scare tactics. The only logical way to decrease abortions is to provide comprehensive sexual education in schools and religious compounds; also by ensuring that contraception and birth control is available to all men and women worldwide. Abortion is still used as a political stance in the United States; for example, pro-life is considered a republican trait and pro-choice is considered a democratic trait. Unfortunately, the people who are making the decision on whether or not abortion should be legal are mostly white males, which is unfair to the entire population of women. Our government needs to take into account that nature did not distribute the reproductive burden equally between men and women, therefore it is the woman’s opinion that matters.
The entirety of the pro-life movement is based upon the statement that “All Life Matters.” This statement brings out the tremendous amount of hypocrisy that resides within the pro-life moment. The website Children’s Rights claims, “On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States,”(1). To clarify, instead of rising up and finding a home for all these born children, the pro-life movement is trying to take away the right to choose; even if the pro-life movement helped, there would still be thousands of children with no homes and there is an extreme amount of corruption, abuse, and mistreatment within the foster care system. The pro-life movement also declares that adoption is a better alternative than abortion if you do not want a child, yet the adoption process is extremely expensive and difficult. In regards to adoption, there is also the fact that these same religious pro-lifers are the ones denying a gay couple the right to adopt children, therefore showing once more how they do not actually care about the life of a child, just their own religious agenda. According to a 2012 study conducted by the William Institute at UCLA Law, 40 percent of young homeless people identify as LGBT(4). As an explanation, the pro-lifers who advocate on the value of life are the same parents who throw their children on the street for not being heterosexual and loving whom they were born to love. On the subject of the LGBT community, there is also a devastating amount of transgender teenagers that are being murdered and yet there has been no outrage from the pro-life community to help these children. The hypocrisy continues because as mentioned before republicans take a pro-life stance and they also take a stance with harsh immigration laws; during the year of 2018 children were dying in immigrant detention centers and once again the pro-life movement as a whole was not advocating for the safety of these brown immigrant children. The pro-life movement cares more about a cluster of cells in a woman’s body than the hundreds of children that have died in school shootings. The hypocrisy within the pro-life movement continues and shall continue to derail their argument and their unethical mission to make abortion illegal.
Another fact the pro-life movement fails to consider is the statistical amount of women who are sexually assaulted. As reported by the “National Sexual Violence Center,” at some point in their lives one in five women will be raped. (1) To explain, there are women who have been raped and end up pregnant, a woman should have the right to decide whether or not they want to have the child of their abuser. There can be circumstances where some women do not care and are willing to raise that child, but it is not fair to force a woman to give birth to the child of the person who caused her extreme physical and emotional trauma. There are those pro-lifers who believe that abortion is only okay in instances of rape, but that is not fair to the hundreds of other women who were not raped and that do not want to carry to term. The idea that abortion is only okay when a woman is raped is saying that a woman needs to be violated in order to have control over her own body. Abortion is a medical procedure that should be available to all women regardless of the situation they went through when they got pregnant.
Pro-choice not Pro-abortion
The movement is named pro-choice and not pro-abortion because it does not advocate for everyone to have abortions, but for the woman who is pregnant to decide whatever she wants. The pro-choice movement allows both woman who do not want to have a child to abort and woman who do want children to give birth regardless of anyone else’s opinion. There are instances worldwide where women are forced to have abortions because the sex of their baby was female and not male. This entire situation stems from the sexism that is deeply embedded in all aspects of human society; the life of a man is not and will never be worth more than the life of a woman. The pro-choice movement takes the position that women and men are equal; this allows women to have a child no matter what the sex of the baby is and without the input of any man.
Reasons for abortion
One of the many reasons women have an abortion is based on financial need; this means that woman sometimes have abortions because they can not afford the expense of raising a healthy child. The website “ProCon” asserts, “42 percent of women having abortions are below the federal poverty level.” (1) This means that access to abortion protects women from financial ruin. The website also declares, “Abortion gives pregnant women the option to choose to not bring fetuses with profound abnormalities to full term.”(1) To clarify, there are fetuses that have severe disorders and in some cases, death is guaranteed before or after birth; thus, it would be cruel to force a woman to carry and deal with the strain of a fetus that has a fatal defect. As an example, there are also cases where a child does not have a fatal condition, such as Down Syndrome, but the women still decided to abort the fetus. (1) This occurs because there are parents that are unable to care financially and emotionally with a severely disabled child. When these situations arise the pro-choice option allows the parents to abort the child without facing financial hardship and it also saves the child from having to go through pain and inadequate treatment. There is also the adverse effect that woman of all income levels earn less when they have children; society has not allowed women to succeed in both being a good mother and having a career as monetarily successful as a man. This is utterly unfair, but pro-choice allows women to pick their career over motherhood because the truth is that not all women have the passion to be mothers, and forcing a child to live with a mother who did not want them is despicable. The pro-life movement needs to take all these situations into perspective because even if abortion is murder, so is poverty one just kills you slower.
The pro-choice movement has various arguments based on scientific facts. According to “ProCon”, “Most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception.” (1) To break this down, the cortex does not become functional until at least the 26th week of pregnancy and 26 weeks is long after most abortions are already performed. The abortions that do happen late into a pregnancy are extremely rare and would only occur if the woman who is pregnant is in immediate danger of losing her life. The website also enunciates, “Embryos and fetuses are not independent, self-determining beings, and abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, not a baby.” (1) As an explanation, there is a reason a person’s age is calculated from our birth date, not the day a human was conceived. The pro-life movement argues this with the statement that if a fetus could talk they would say “Mommy please do not kill me!” but based on scientific data fetuses can not talk or think; not only that but they have no concept of existence or of death. These fetuses do not have fears, or desires, or emotional attachments; therefore, that statement is completely irrelevant.
The pro-choice movement takes into consideration and highly values the life of the woman who is pregnant before the life of a fetus. The “ProCon” website makes the statement that “Woman who receive abortions are less likely to suffer mental health problems than women denied abortions.” (1) To make clear, women who received abortions as opposed to women who were denied abortions felt happier and that it was the right to decide to abort. The happiness of the woman should always be taken into consideration because if not the child will grow up in an unwanted home with a regretful and angry mother. The website declares, “Access to legal, professionally-performed abortions reduces maternal injury and death caused by unsafe, illegal abortions,”(1). To interpret, abortion is extremely safe and simple when done by someone who is a professional doctor, which causes less woman to die in this procedure. For example, before abortion was legalized woman would try to induce unsanitary and unsafe abortions frequently by using a coat hanger, needles, etc… (1). The World Health Organization estimated that 68,000 maternal deaths occur each year in developing countries because of unsafe abortion. Regardless of all the arguments, the pro-life movement does not realize that abortion will never be successfully banned; abortion has existed as long as pregnancy has, so only safe abortions will be banned and will directly lead to the death of people who do not want to be pregnant. The fetus should never be taken into consideration higher than the woman, which leads to the term bodily autonomy; bodily autonomy is the human right given to a person to have control over who and what uses their body, for what, and for how long. This concept is why a person can not be forced to donate blood, tissue, or organs even if that human is dead or can improve/save the lives of others; it is also why someone can not touch a person, have sex with a person, or use the person’s body without their continuous consent. A fetus is using someone’s body, so under bodily autonomy, the fetus is there by permission, not by right. The fetus requires the person’s continuous consent and therefore the pregnant person has the right to remove the fetus from the moment they withdraw consent. The pro-life movement argues that the fetus is not being treated as an equal to the woman, but if a person needs someone else’s organ to live the other person can legally deny giving the sick person their organs; thus, the fetus is legally being treated equally. The pro-life movement saying that a fetus has a right to someone’s body parts until it is born, despite the woman’s wishes, is granting a fetus more rights to another person’s body than any born person and is awarding a pregnant person less right to their body than a corpse.
All in all, the only logical and fair side to the debate on abortion is the pro-choice movement. This is directly shown by the subjugation of women throughout world history, the right to sexual liberation, the invalid perspectives of men, religious beliefs, political connotations, hypocritical arguments, sexual assault, forced abortions, financial need, the health of a women, the rights a human has, and the biology behind a fetus. These arguments have clearly shown how the pro-choice movement will always care more about life than the pro-life side does. The pro-choice movement not only cares about the life of the women, but of existing life and potential life; therefore, there is no other alternative than having safe, legalized, and accessible abortion for all women worldwide.