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Is Abortion A Right? Essay

1850 words - 7 pages

We Americans cherish our rights. Since the Supreme Court's ruling in Row vs. Wade, a woman's right to have an abortion has become the law of the land. Once a right to do something has been established in this country, it becomes near impossible to take it away. Pro-choice advocates accuse their opponents, pro-life advocates, of wanting to take this right away from women. It is a strong argument, and no doubt true, but if the right to have an abortion is ever taken away in this country, it will come from the pro-choice left, and not from the pro-life right.

As effective as the pro-life movement is, it finds itself in a near hopeless situation. The pro-life movement is defending the rights of the unborn -- a constituency that has no lobby, no vote, no money, and no political power. This, plus the movement must now convince American women to give up a right -- a right that many women fought hard for. The pro-lifers will lose this fight because in this country, the list of individual rights only expands, never shrinks.

What, after all, does it mean to have a right? In various forms this question is asked every day. A fundamental element of possessing rights is that one may exercise a right to do something, as long as it doesn't interfere with another's rights. Personal motives and reasons for performing actions that are within one's rights to perform can't be questioned. To put it another way, the reason for exercising a right may be completely stupid, arbitrary, and senseless, and as long as it doesn't affect the rights of others, perfectly legal. For this reason, the pro-choice left, which has argued that a woman has the right to do with her body as she sees fit, and that a fetus is just fleshy tissue without rights, may find themselves in conflict. If the reason women want an abortion -- especially if this reason is politically incorrect -- ever follows a trend, the left may find themselves arguing that, on the one hand, women have the right to abort a fetus, and on the other, that not all women should be allowed to do it.

To visualize this argument, consider a hypothetical, but very possible situation. In a not-too-far-off future, through the study of genetics, it may be possible to determine the sexual orientation that an individual is pre-disposed to. If it becomes possible to determine the sexual orientation of a fetus in the womb, what would happen to the birth rate of homosexuals? The homosexual birth rate would obviously drop, maybe to nil. This is not because everybody in this country is homophobic, but because if given a choice, and abortion gives people the choice, most will opt to raise a child as close to "normal" as possible.

Homosexuals and feminists, two left-wing stalwarts, may find themselves at odds on this issue. What feminists might see as a simple medical procedure that a woman is free to have performed, homosexuals may see as extermination. Feminists may find themselves fighting pro-life conservatives on one...

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