The Abortion Issue Essay

4889 words - 20 pages

The Abortion Issue

The 1973 Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade is the foundation for our current abortion policy as well as the cause of so much controversy today. Though always an issue, nothing prior can compare to the momentum that it has now. In the span of 30 years since the ruling, the combination of science, morals and religion have spun off numerous sub-issues to the effect that people have been left either aligned to one side of the argument, or caught in the middle, unable to choose. The key issue at hand is whether the 1973 ruling of Roe vs. Wade should be upheld or should all abortions be illegal. The issue is so divisive because abortion brings up closely related but unresolved moral issues, and tries to bring a legal answer to them. The consequences would be monumental for those who have a stake in a resulting decision. Women’s rights, first and foremost, would be affected because many women in the pro-choice movement believe this decision is a reflection of the amount of power the government should have over the individual, women in particular. They would take the results as a major setback in the women’s rights movement should abortion become illegal. Pro-life groups see this as a moral debate over life, with the elimination of abortion meaning that the fetus has been recognized as a living human being with rights like any other. Religious advocates, particularly those siding with the pro-life movement see the attitude towards abortion as a reflection of sexual permissiveness in the American people. As for the American people themselves, while having strong feelings about abortion, are not ready or willing to get rid of it. Though both sides push for common things like better sex education for their children, even their concept of the topic is so different that there is not much to relate the two. The inability of the sides involved to reach common ground is best observed through a possible look at how this problem came to be.

While it is easy to trace the history of abortion, it is harder to use this information to find any means of resolution. Developed almost 5000 years ago, the first form of birth control was utilized by the early Egyptians. Religion played a crucial part in the view of abortion centuries after its creation. During the 13th century, Catholic doctrine was the driving force in the lives of the people, shaping their lives and ideals. Pope Innocent III decreed from the moment of the “quickening”, or the point when the woman first feels the movement of the fetus, the fetus was officially alive and could not be terminated. Pope Gregory upheld this decree until 1869, where Pope Pious IX threatened all abortions with excommunication, possibly as part of an agreement to obtain more papal power (Childbirth Choice Trust) (Hope). From a legal standpoint, abortions were not considered a crime until a law was passed in England in 1803, with which the United States followed suit. The law changed to...

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