Abortion11



Amber Lee Smith Smith 1

Dr. S. Coats

English 132

November 28, 2000

Abortion: The Choice of the Woman

In Society today there are many topics that are considered to be controversial. Yet, perhaps no contemporary issue inspires more controversy than abortion. “Abortion is conceptualized as a means of fertility control in relationship to contraceptive use” (McCormick 1). One can hardly turn on the television, open up a newspaper or even have a conversation without the topic coming up one way or another. It is the subject of many arguments and violent protest. When one is strongly pro-choice, believing in the right to choose, and the other is strongly pro-life, believing that abortion is murder, plain and simple. Even the best of friends can sound like worst enemies when engaged in a discussion about abortion. The two sides are very divided and very often refuse to compromise with each other. Many people have there own opinions and stick firmly to them. “The real issue is “Who has the right to decide what’s right?” including what justifies it, and most importantly, what process should be used to establish what is right” (Alstad 1). A woman should have the right to choose what she is or is not going to do with her body. Pro-choice is the most reasonable and sensible choice; it is based on logical thoughts and backed up by real facts.
Abortion is nothing new. For years and years it existed but it was not readily available. In those days each state was responsible for deciding when and if abortion was legal. In 1970, a few states legalized abortion. In 1973, however, a landmark decision that made abortion legal in all states was made in the case, Roe v. Wade. In this case, the United States Supreme Court
Smith 2
declared most restrictive laws against abortion unconstitutional because they violate a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. In addition, it left the decision to have a first-trimester abortion up to the woman and her doctor. Also, states could pass regulations to ensure the safety of second-trimester abortions and could prohibit third-trimester abortions. Since that time, further restrictions have also been legalized. In the 1989 case of Webster v. Reproductive Services, the Supreme Court ruled that abortions could not be performed by public employees or in facilities that are funded by the taxpayers. Then, in 1990 they ruled that the state legislatures had the option to require teenage girls to notify both parent before having an abortion. In 1991, a decision barred federally funded clinics from providing the option of abortion, but this restriction has since been overturned.
Since Roe v. Wade, there have been many attempts to overturn the decision but to date none of them have been successful. A number of state legislatures have voted on bills that would make abortion illegal, except in the cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency. None of these attempts have been passed either. In addition, in 1992, the Supreme Court added a provision to the Roe decision. It stated that states could no longer place any further restrictions on abortion. This included notifying parents or spouses or making a mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period before the procedure. Also, the 1976 Hyde Amendment restricted federal funds for abortions, yet several states continued to fund them for poor women. These restrictions have been loosened since President Clinton came into office, however. He also reversed the Reagan administration’s decision to ban the federal funding of research using fetal tissues obtained from abortions (Guernsey 61).

Smith 3
There were many people who felt that with the Roe v. Wade decision and those preceding it that the controversy was over. That, however, was definitely not the case. The Roe decision to some people was like adding fuel to the fire. Now abortion rights are as controversial as ever. Never before have so many people spoken out so prominently on the issue and never before have the sides been so divided and so out of control.
There are two sides that make up the abortion controversy, pro-life and pro-choice. Pro-life supporters are totally against abortion. They feel that abortion is murder and that it completely goes against basic principals and morals. Opposing the pro-life group is the pro-choice group. Their stance on the issue is that it is a woman’s right to