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A Woman's Choice: The Right to Privacy and the Right to Choose

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court’s decision made it possible for women to get safe, legal abortions from well-trained medical surgeons, and therefore led to dramatic decreases in pregnancy-related injury and death (“abortion”). Now there is a new proposal to close abortion clinics. This proposal takes away the privacy rights of American women that are guaranteed by our Constitution. By closing abortion clinics the government is not only taking away women’s rights, but is also punishing those whom want to exercise their right of a pro-choice woman.

Abortion clinics allow thousands of women every year to have abortions. Having the abortion should be woman’s personal choice. By closing these clinics, there will be no providers to perform the operation, so the choice has already been made for them. Closing the clinics will increase the barriers of having an abortion. When there are too many obstacles, the right to make their own choice is taken away from them. In 1973 the American Supreme Court ruled that Americans’ right to privacy included: “the right of a woman to decide whether to have children, and the right of a woman and her doctor to make that decision without state interference” (“abortion”). The Constitution says we have a right to privacy, so taking away a woman’s chance to make decisions about her own body violates that right.

The American Civil Liberties Union defends the Constitution and peoples’ rights.

The ACLU has protected the rights of abortion for women, and in recent years has argued mayor cases opposing restrictions that deny woman access to reproductive health care (“ACLU”). Policy 263 states: “The ACLU holds that every woman, as a matter of her right to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and privacy, should be free to determine whether and when to bear children.”(The American Civil Liberties Union)

The closure of abortion clinics will be done with the purpose to reduce the number of abortions. This raises the question whether this will be an effective method or not. Before 1973 abortions were illegal yet the number of women who sought abortions did not decrease (“abortion”). Before 1973 many thousands of women died or suffered serious medical problems after attempting to perform their own abortions, or going to untrained doctors who performed cheap abortions with uncivilized methods or in unsanitary conditions (The Abortion Law Homepage.). If clinics are closed, women will still continue to attempt, and succeed, in ending unwanted pregnancies just like before 1973. Women will risk their health and possibly even their lives. By keeping these abortions clinics open it ensures a higher probability that the women who do have abortions will be in a safe, sanitary environment, and therefore injuries will be fewer in number.

If clinics are shut, the waiting lists of abortion clinics in other countries will be much longer. Women will have to wait longer to get an abortion, and will be treated later in their pregnancy which is much more dangerous for the pregnant women.

Pro-life activists claim that the unborn baby is alive and has feelings when the heart begins beating. But, the heartbeat begins between the eighteenth and twenty-fifth day (“Fetus”). They also say that women who have abortions are “murderers”. This problem could be solved by keeping abortion clinics open, because then the woman can be treated before the twenty fifth day when the fetus is not yet a living baby. She will not have to wait because of long waiting lists, but instead will have the abortion as soon as possible with as less psychological pain.

If a woman has to travel to another country to have a legal abortion, she will have to pay more money. She will now not only have to pay for the abortion itself, but also the traveling costs and that does not include the psychological costs as well. Not all people can afford these costs. So by keeping clinics open more women will have the chance to exercise their right and have their desired abortion. If a working woman or student suddenly has to leave the country, this means she will have to think of excuses and lies for an explanation. This is not fair to the woman, she should not have to explain herself to anyone, it is her body and therefore she can do what she wants, she does not need other people’s consult.

Abortion clinics are not a “butcher’s place” where young babies are murdered. They provide a choice for women whether or not to bring a child into this world.

What is worse: taking away the life of an unborn child that is not even aware of life itself yet, or a mother bringing an unwanted child into this world, knowing that she will not be able to take care of it properly, and that her child will have to suffer from the poor circumstances in which she lives. As of now the woman has the ability to make that choice and save the child from poor, possibly abusive or hate filled environment. Personally I feel that living in a circumstance such as abuse is worse than the abortion of the fetus. Rape victims should also be able to have an abortion because they know that if they were to keep the child, they would cringe when she thought about whom contributed to the other half of the child. The offspring will be a painful reminder to the rape victim. She did not choose to take the responsibility of a child and therefore should not have to pay the consequences. A woman who cannot love her child has no right to have a baby in the first place.

One option for women who are not able to take care of their baby is adoption. Yet she will have to carry the baby for nine months and then give it up. Not all women are able to do this physically or psychologically. After the pregnancy she will have to hope that their baby will find a good and loving home. And this is not always the case. The child will possibly have to suffer from living in orphanages waiting to get adopted. Adoption can not always be seen as a good solution to unwanted pregnancies.

The advantage of closing abortion clinics could be that woman will be forced to take the responsibility over their baby, and give their unborn child the right to life. But it can not be seen as something entirely positive. The mother will always regard the child as a “mistake” and will never love it the way she would have if she had wanted to keep the child. Getting an abortion does not always mean that the woman is only thinking of herself, she also thinks on behalf of her baby. Abortion clinics do not make the choice easier, nor do they force the woman into the surgery. People who are against abortion have the choice not to have one. It is not fair to take away the choice of people who do want one.


References:
  • “Abortion.” Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. 1999 ed.
  • “ACLU.” Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. 1999 ed.
  • “Fetus.” Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. 1999 ed.
  • The Abortion Law Homepage. “Abortion Law Homepage”. 24 November 1996. (11 March 2000). http://members.aol.com/abtrbng/index.htm
  • The American Civil Liberties Union. “Abortion Clinic Access Law”. 1997.






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