Religious Opposition Against Pro-Choice Abortion

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Abortion continues to be a hot button topic that still divides America long after the US Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision on Roe v. Wade declared that the procedure was a “fundamental right” on January 22, 1973. There are two sides to the debate: pro-life and pro-choice. People who are pro-choice believe that choosing to abort is a woman’s right and it should not be a decision made by governmental or religious authority. People who are pro-life believe that all humans, including the fetus, have the right to life. Due to this, they believe that abortion is wrong and in essence, it is murder. According to the National Abortion Rights Action League or NARAL “7 in 10 Americans across the country believe that abortion should be legal.” Reproductive rights have been suppressed to women by Congress for far too long. Reproductive rights include having access to all reproductive health care options, which include but are not limited to birth control and abortion care. Having this right empowers women by giving them control of their own bodies instead of making it a political playground.

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Many argue that fetuses can feel pain during the abortion. However, according to a review that was conducted by Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 'most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception.' This means that the cortex does not become functional until at least the 26th week of a fetus' development. Most abortions are performed within the first two months of conception. This finding was endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which stated that that there is 'no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain.' A study done by the University of California at San Francisco found that fetuses cannot feel pain until the 29th or 30th week of gestation. Abortions that do occur late into a pregnancy are extremely rare and are often caused by medical reasons that endanger the mother. According to Stuart W. G. Derbyshire, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham (UK), ' The 'flinching' and other reactions seen in fetuses when they detect pain stimuli are mere reflexes, not an indication that the fetus is perceiving or 'feeling' anything. By definition, personhood is achieved after a fetus is able to survive outside of the womb or after birth, not at conception. Embryos are not independent beings; therefore, abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, not a baby. When the United States, Census calculates a person's age, it is calculated from the date of birth, not conception.

And no, fetuses are not counted in the US Census. This implies that even the government does not consider embryos as a person. The majority opinion in Roe v. Wade states that 'the word 'person, ' as used in the Fourteenth Amendment [of the US Constitution], does not include the unborn.” If abortions become illegal it will just drive more women to get an abortion in an unsterile environment without the right people or equipment. The top three post-abortion complications are infections, incomplete evacuation of the products of conception, leading to hemorrhagic complications, and injury from the surgical procedure itself. If the abortion is done by a medical professional, the doctor in most cases can catch this before it is too late. According to Daniel R. Mishell, Jr., MD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, “before abortion was legalized women would frequently try to induce abortions by using coat hangers, knitting needles, or radiator flush, or by going to unsafe 'back-alley' abortionists.” In 1972, there were 39 maternal deaths from illegal abortions. After Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, this number dropped to two. The World Health Organization estimated that unsafe abortions cause 68, 000 maternal deaths worldwide each year, many of these occur in developing countries where safe and legal abortion services are difficult to access.

From Roe v. Wade in 1973 through 2017, over 60 million legal abortions are estimated to have been performed in the United States – an average of about 1.4 million abortions per year. About one in four US women will have an abortion before age 45. Some embryos have such horrible disorders that shortly after birth, their death is inevitable. Some examples of these severe disorders are anencephaly, in which the brain is missing, or limb-body wall complex, in which organs develop outside the body cavity. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally traumatizing to force women to carry fetuses with such fate congenital defects to term. Even in the case of nonfatal conditions, such as Down syndrome, parents may be unable to care for a severely disabled child. Many couples do not have the resources, family support or emotional stamina to be able to raise a severely disabled child. What quality of life is there for a disabled child in the adoption or foster care system? Abortion reduces crime, as bizarre as that sounds. Women who have control over the timing of childbearing are more likely to raise children inadequate environments as opposed to someone who did not. Around eighteen years after abortion was legalized, there was an abrupt drop in crimes and this drop came even sooner in states that allowed abortion earlier.

Although many religious groups oppose abortion, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations are all officially pro-choice. The Bible contains no explicit condemnation of abortion and does not portray the killing of a fetus as equivalent to the killing of a human being. Although there are some churches that oppose it such as the Catholic and Lutheran churches, most of their members believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases versus illegal in all or most cases (51% vs. 45%, Lutheran; 48% vs. 45%, Catholic). The abortion “war” will forever continue. There will always be cases of incest, rape, or health issues that will come into play on whether aborting the fetus is a better option in the long run. Both points of view have valid reasoning and they are taking into account either fighting for the mother's rights or giving an unborn child a voice when they otherwise can’t speak. But the fact is that until every woman is on contraceptives, there are no more rapes, or there are no more incidents of incest, there will always be unwanted pregnancies that exist.

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