With 2000 being a presidential election year, the question of pro-choice or pro-life is once again a prominent issue. I am and have been a pro-choice advocate since I first understood the issue. The upcoming election has made me revisit the main reasons for my position.
For me, two main reasons for supporting pro-choice are the medical and social benefits the country has experienced since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973. The most important medical benefit has been the end of the “back alley butchers” who left many women dead or mutilated. Legal abortion has proven to be safe, while illegal abortion has not. In 1965, 193 women died from illegal abortions, and 17% of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth in that year were caused by illegal abortions. (Medical screen 2) Current death rate from abortion is 0.6 per 100,000. This means that abortion is 11 times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term. (Medical screen 2) In other countries where abortion is illegal it is a leading cause of maternal death. (Safety screen 1)
Along with the medical benefits, there have also been many social benefits due to the legalization of abortion. Unfit mothers and teenagers no longer are forced to carry out there pregnancies and have to care for an unwanted child. Couples who have a high risk of giving birth to babies with genetic disorders are now more willing to try and conceive because of the availability of safe legal abortions. (Medical screen 2) States with stricter abortion laws spend far more money per child on things such as foster care, welfare, and education then states with more lenient laws. (Medical screen 2-3)
Last is my conviction that each individual woman, and no one else, has the right to carry out or abort her pregnancy.
Every woman can do what she wants with her bodies without any government intervention. The Supreme Court based women’s right to an abortion on the right of privacy, or the right of people to make choices about their personal and reproductive life without interference from the state. (McDonagh 4)
Upon revisiting my reasons for supporting the pro-choice movement, I am more convinced than ever that my beliefs are justified. I cannot imagine American women accepting a reversal of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion. If abortion does not remain legal, I believe we would be moving backward in women’s rights, and toward George Orwell’s Big Brother (a totally government controlled society).
Dudley, Susan. Safety of Abortion. (2000): 26 Oct. 2000 ;http://www.prochoice.org/Facts/FS3.htm;
McDonagh, Eileen L. Breaking the Abortion Deadlock: From Choice To Consent. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.
Medical and Social Health Benefits Since Abortion Was Made Legal in the U.S. Planned Parenthood, 26 Oct. 2000 http://www.plannedparenthood.org/library/ABORTION/healthbenef.html