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The 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 possess 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 indefinitely 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 perseverance showed through and their
outcomes, gives us the rights we have today. Here are some
important cases: 1965 - Griswold vs. 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 vs. Wade was based upon
this case. 1973 - Roe vs. 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

Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in the
world today. Everyone has his/her own individual opinion,
however, a woman's body is hers and hers alone. Nobody has
the right to make her do something that she does not
desire. The Supreme Court has stated it is the women's
right to have an abortion, if she so chooses, according to
Roe vs. 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 itself.. It is a woman's right to privacy to
control her reproductive system. 

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 but it is
her ultimate decision guaranteed by the law. 
Hardy, Richard J. Government in America. 1994. Page 189.
Klinkner, Phillip A. The American Heritage History of the
Bill of Rights-The Ninth Amendment. 1991. Pages: 31, 56,
75-78, 80-87, 110, 116. 

Levine, C. Taking Sides on Clashing Views of Controversial
Bioethical Issues. Volume 3. 1991. Pages: 4-8.



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