Nine reasons in favor of retaining abortion access
A list donated by Marliz Olmos-Armas
- Laws against abortion kill women: Prohibiting abortions does not
stop them. When women feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to
have abortions, even in secret, without medical care, in dangerous
circumstances. In the two decades before abortion was legal in the U.S.,
it's been estimated that nearly a million women per year sought out illegal
abortions. Thousands died. Tens of thousands were mutilated. All were forced
to behave as if they were criminals.
- Legal abortions protect women's health: Legal abortion not only
protects women's lives, it also protects their health. For tens of thousands
of women with heart disease, kidney disease, severe hypertension,
sickle-cell anemia and severe diabetes, and other illnesses that can be
life-threatening, the availability of legal abortion has helped avert
serious medical complications that could have resulted from childbirth.
Before legal abortion, such women's choices were limited to dangerous
illegal abortion or dangerous childbirth.
- A woman is more than a fetus: Some people argue these days that a
fetus is a "person" that is "indistinguishable from the rest of us"
and that it deserves rights equal to women's. On this question there is a
tremendous spectrum of religious, philosophical, scientific, and medical
opinion. It's been argued for centuries. Fortunately, our society has
recognized that each woman must be able to make this decision, based on her
own conscience. To impose a law defining a fetus as a "person,"
granting it rights equal to or superior to a woman's — a thinking, feeling,
conscious human being — is arrogant and absurd. It only serves to diminish
- Being a mother is just one option for women: Many hard battles
have been fought to win political and economic equality for women. These
gains will not be worth much if reproductive choice is denied. To be able to
choose a safe, legal abortion makes many other options possible. Otherwise
an accident or a rape can end a woman's economic and personal freedom.
- Outlawing abortion is discriminatory: Anti-abortion laws
discriminate against low-income women, who are driven to dangerous
self-induced or back-alley abortions. That is all they can afford. But the
rich can travel wherever necessary to obtain a safe abortion.
- Compulsory childbirth laws are incompatible with a free society:
If there is any matter that is personal and private, then pregnancy is it.
There can be no more extreme invasion of privacy than requiring a woman to
carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. If government is permitted to compel a
woman to bear a child, where will government stop? The concept is morally
repugnant. It violates traditional American ideas of individual rights and
- Outlaw abortion, and more children will bear children: Forty
percent of 14-year-old girls will become pregnant before they turn 20. This
could happen to your daughter or someone else close to you. Here are the
critical questions: Should the penalty for lack of knowledge or even for a
moment's carelessness be enforced pregnancy and childrearing? Or dangerous
illegal abortion? Should we consign a teenager to a life sentence of
joblessness, hopelessness, and dependency?
- "Every child a wanted child:" If women are forced to carry
unwanted pregnancies to term, the result is unwanted children. Everyone
knows they are among society's most tragic cases, often uncared-for,
unloved, brutalized, and abandoned. When they grow up, these children are
often seriously disadvantaged, and sometimes inclined toward brutal behavior
to others. This is not good for children, for families, or for the country.
Children need love and families who want and will care for them.
- Choice is good for families: Even when precautions are taken,
accidents can and do happen. For some families, this is not a problem. But
for others, such an event can be catastrophic. An unintended pregnancy can
increase tensions, disrupt stability, and push people below the line of
economic survival. Family planning is the answer. All options must be open.
Originally posted: 2006-JAN-22
Latest update: 2006-JAN-22
Author: Marliz Olmos-Armas