Abortion - Right To Choose


Many people believe abortion is a moral issue, but it is also 
a constitutional issue. It is a woman's right to choose what she does 
with her body, and it should not be altered or influenced by anyone 
else. This right is guaranteed by the ninth amendment, which contains 
the right to privacy. The ninth amendment states: "The enumeration in 
the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or 
disparage others retained by the people." This right guarantees the 
right to women, if they so choose, to have an abortion, up to the end 
of the first trimester. Regardless of the fact of morals, a woman has 
the right to privacy and choice to abort her fetus. The people that 
hold a "pro-life" view argue that a woman who has an abortion is 
killing a child. The "pro-choice" perspective holds this is not the 
case. A fetus is not yet a baby. It does not posess the criteria 
derived from our understanding of living human beings. In a notable 
defense of this position, philosopher Mary Anne Warren has proposed 
the following criteria for "person-hood": 1) consciousness (of objects 
and events external and or internal to the being), and in particular 
the capacity to feel pain. 2) reasoning (the developed capacity to 
solve new and relatively complex problems) 3) self-motivated activity 
(activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct 
external control) 4) the capacity to communicate, by whatever means, 
messages of an indefinite variety of possible contents, but on 
indefinltely many possible topics. 5) the presence of self-concepts, 
and self-awareness, either individual or social, or both. (Taking 
Sides -Volume 3). Several cases have been fought for the right to 
choose. Many of these have been hard cases with very personal 
feelings, but the perserverance showed through and gives us the rights 
we have today. Here are some important cases: 1965 - Griswold v. 
Connecticut - upheld the right to privacy and ended the ban on birth 
control. Eight years later, the Supreme Court ruled the right to 
privacy included abortions. Roe v. Wade was based upon this case. 1973 
- Roe v. Wade: - The state of Texas had outlawed abortions. The 
Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional, but refused to order 
an injunction against the state. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme 
Court voted the right to privacy included abortions. In 1976, Planned 
Parenthood v. Danforth (Missouri) ruled that requiring consent by the 
husband and the consent from a parent if a person was under 18 was 
unconstitutional. This case supported a woman's control over her own 
body and reproductive system. Justice William Brennan stated: "If the 
right to privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, 
married or single, to be free from unwanted governmental intrusion 
into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to 
bear or beget a child." Abortion is one of the most controversial 
issues in the world today. Everyone has their own individual opinion. 
A woman's body is hers and hers alone. Nobody has the right to make 
her do something that she does not want to. The Supreme Court has 
stated it is the women's right to have an abortion, if she so chooses, 
according to Roe v. Wade. In later cases however, the Court has upheld 
Roe in Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992). In the same 
ruling, though, the Court gave states new powers to restrict access to 
abortions. (Hardy, pg. 189). Abortion deals with one's private life 
and should have nothing to do with the government. However, abortion 
should not be used as a means of birth control, but if a fetus will be 
unwanted, it is better to be aborted than to be abused or neglected. 
Many people try to force their beliefs on others and judge them for 
their actions. These people need to judge themselves before they start 
to judge others. The bottom line is no matter what anyone thinks the 
laws speak for themselves. It is a woman's right to privacy to control 
her reproductive system guaranteed by the constitution. Although there 
are some restrictions on abortion, due to the states' rights, it is 
still ultimately the woman's choice. It is not a requirement for some 
states to fund for abortions, therefore, especially in these states it 
should be the woman's choice. Abortion is an issue of women, and so it 
should be the woman's right to choose. She has the free will to 
consider others views and opinions such as that of the father, but it 
is her ultimate decision guaranteed by the law.


Government in America. by Richard J. Hardy. copyright 1994. page 189.

Taking Sides on Clashing Views of Controversial Bioethical Issues. by 
Carol Levine. Volume 3. copyright 1991. pages: 4-8.

The American Heritage History of the Bill of Rights - The Ninth 
Amendment. by Phillip A. Klinkner. copyright 1991. pages: 31, 56, 
75-78, 80-87, 110, 116.


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