As of 15th of May 2019, in Alabama and some other states that have been looking to follow suit e.g. Ohio, have passed a Pro-life stance bill with regards to abortion in the US. Similiarly, in the state of Georgia, they’re looking to pass what they denote as the ‘Heartbeat Bill’. Both proposed and passed bills have stirred significant controversy and backlash. Not only from the pro-choice advocates but from feminist protesters as well. However, with the current climate of reporting, it is hard to separate the individual arguments from the overarching problem. And emotionally driven narrative and political agenda are playing a huge part in hiding what is actually going on. Until we can narrow the direct points of disagreements, we , as a globally united society will be further polarized from the deliberate clouding of clarity with regards to the information that is being sent out.
Before we go into further details of the bills, it is important for me to affirm my position as this will allow the demonstrating of the thought processes I go through myself. I am pro-choice, up to 3 months, when it comes to abortion and women’s freedom of choice. Whichever way you want to sugar coat it, on a moral level, it is known that abortion is not exactly a good thing, or a decision that is taken lightly and is a last resort. However, I believe in most cases, bar late term abortions, that it should be up to the carrier of the child. I am a free speech and freedom of choice advocate meaning that, buy-and-large, I believe that people should be able to say and do what they please with the acception of criminal activity.
So what is happening?
Alabama appears to have led the way in what most are describing as a ‘near total’ ban on all abortions in the state. The proposed and signed bill in Alabama, which has been labelled as the ‘most restrictive’ among all abortion laws, has outlined possible maximum sentences of up to 99 years for doctors found, tried and convicted of performing abortions. The legislation, in Alabama does not permit abortions for rape and incest victims, despite being discussed, but it does allow abortions for case where ‘the health of the woman is at risk’, ectopic pregnancies and ‘deadly fetal abnormalities according to CNN reporting.
Other states have been condemned, particularly by Democrats, by similiar bills looking to be introduced in Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia, who have all signed a similar,less restrictive bill commonly known as the ‘Heartbeat bill’. This will, as it says on the tin, let you abort a baby until a indisputably detectable heartbeat is found in the foetus. According to Healthline, this can be as early as 6 weeks but can be almost certainly confirmed at 7-8 weeks. These bills will be looking to stop abortions past the 6 week mark as currently, states like Georgia, allow abortions up to 20 weeks.
The big argument has, and always been, the ‘Pro choice’ vs ‘Pro life’. Pro choice arguments have stated, clearly and vocally their disgust with the policy. It has been deemed a ‘national attack on women’s birthing rights’ and a fundamental limiting of women’s liberty and freedoms in the free state. One of the biggest issues people have with the debate is the zero tolerance to abortions even when their pregnancy is a by-product of rape or incest. Pro-choice advocates a freedom, whether to an extent or in full, for women to make the decision themselves, in some cases, with zero input from the male in question. This has followed by a social media flurry of retweets in a campaign stating that ‘men shouldn’t be making laws about women’s bodies’.
The ‘Pro-life’ argument advocates the protecting of the life of the baby under the 14th amendment of the constitution of the United States.The 14th amendment is the right to life and protects humans right to life even in the event of government tyranny. Some going as far to say it is murder and blatant culling of the ‘purest’ people in our society. Some are not as far leaning on the issue suggesting there should be a cut of point as their is still a huge debate as to where viability in the foetus begins. This argument has often been linked to Judeo-Christian values and tendencies as these policies have gained the most traction in the southern states, which are typically the most religious.
In conclusion, My opinion still stands as a advocate of pro-choice. Understanding that it is a termination of a life, (as I believe life starts at conception) it is still up to the bearer of the child. On a moral level, I find it hard to justify that abortion is an innate good. However, I believe that the mother should be able to govern what is happening in her body as its a decision that fundamentally and drastically shapes women’s lives for the minimum of 18 years. I understand that mothers sometimes are not ready for the step, financially, physically or mentally. This is a viable argument as they want to be in the best position to provide the best care for their baby. I don’t, however, agree with the overtly feminist agenda that has ridden on the back of the abortion debate. I feel that certain groups of women have only seen this as a feminist issue. Once again, an issue about babies and human rights has been pushed in the direction of the persecution of women, by men, in a society known as the patriarchy. It has been frequently suggested that ‘Men shouldn’t be make decisions on women’s bodies’ and that ‘men shouldn’t have an opinion’. We have seen a lot of this in the UK on social media but we are talking about the United States. Unlike the UK, the US is much more polarized on the topic of abortion due to cultural and more religious differences. A lot of women have neglected the fact that the pro-life movement is about saving babies and valuing life under the 14th amendment of the constitution. Pro-choice and Pro-life groups have genuinely been butting heads for decades whereas, in the UK, we are generally more liberal.
One of the big claims from women is that it is an infringement on their reproductive rights and against their democracy. It is important to note that the US is not a democracy, but a constitutional republic with democratic values. So abortion, in a sence, isn’t a right. I fundamentally don’t believe it is an infringement on women’s reproductive rights. This is because a reproductive right is, when boiled down, the choice between having children or not. This can be decided through personal choice, contraception and emergency contraception. So your right to reproduce or not, technically have not been infringed upon.
My belief system around abortion is generally a liberal one. However, I also will say that there are already so many safety nets to catch if you don’t want to have kids. Firstly, there is abstinence (but who wants to do that?). Secondly is contraception followed by number three, emergency contraceptives. As a worst case scenario, abortion I think should still be considered up until 3 months. There is 4 methods (three if you are totally pro-life) to avoiding starting a family.
However, I don’t like the demonisation that goes on in this field. To suggest that people opposing pro-life movements want to see the culling of kids is not true. Neither is it true of the opponents of the pro-choice movement want to see the oppression of women. It’s important to take the issue at face value, do not virtue signal or push an agenda, but assume everyone’s best intentions to work out a solution.
I believe the solution to the problem is inculcating a set of values into the next generation and a more thoroughly detailed sexual education put forward to the next generation. We often don’t want to talk about it but the more people know about it, the more people will enjoy it and the safer it will be. We will also see a reduction in aborted babies but still have the option which I believe in a liberal society is necessary.