Room For Debate: Abortion- Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life and What's the Government's Role?


Question: Should abortion be legal and what is the Government's role?

Pro-Choice: Written by Lili Berstein, California

Abortion is a word that inevitably ignites controversy. Living in Los Angeles, I feel fortunate to be surrounded by a liberal bubble. However, that is not to say that there is a fair share of conservatives. As I was driving one day, I was stopped at a light behind a car that had a bumper sticker that has stuck with me ever since. It read “Don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one.” Abortion is a topic that is uncomfortable and I think that is the reason we need to discussion it in the first place. Destigmatizing abortion is the best way to have a more open dialogue regarding it.

When someone questions why I am pro-choice, I have 3 responses. 1) I don’t believe abortion should be used as a service like birth control. 2) It is the most individualized health service, and the government should not be allowed to make the call of whether or not it should be legal. 3) Lastly, if someone believes they cannot provide an adequate life for their child, why should they have to have it?

Women do not use abortion as an alternate to birth control. Having an abortion is an incredibly traumatic procedure, and something nobody ever wants to experience. In 2017 alone, 365,478 abortions have been performed, and 3,500 of those were perpetuated by a rape scenario. I can guarantee that those 300,000 women did not wake up in the morning happy because they got to have an abortion, but rather happy because they got to make a choice regarding their future and their child’s future.

Although it might be hard for certain elected officials to understand, an abortion is a 100 percent individualized service that should not be in the hands of a male-dominated cabinet. I am enraged to imagine a room filled with men discussing whether or not abortion should be legal. This may come as a surprise to some, but men are not the ones that endure pregnancy, nor are they the ones that need to make the traumatic decision that is terminating a pregnancy. Because abortion is on the chopping block for the current administration, the least they can do is talk to women who have made the decision to have an abortion and discuss how it affected them both positively and negatively.

Along the same lines, given that a majority of our politicians in Washington today do not have a uterus, they cannot imagine life once you have a child. In 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15-19. Although these teenagers decided to go through with their pregnancy, they should be given the option of abortion no matter what. When you are 16, you are in the middle of high school with an immense amount of pressure riding on your shoulders. Teenagers that have to deal with a pregnancy while in high school should have places like Planned Parenthood to go to, to discuss termination options such as abortion. At 15, I barely knew how to take care of myself, and I cannot even imagine one who has to have a child at that age. Most teenagers cannot provide adequate lives for children and because of abortion services, they are allowed to determine how they want their life to continue.

“Don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one,” the bumper sticker read. It almost seemed too simple; however, it completely embodies the topic of pro-life vs. pro-choice. So if one day, you don’t know what to say when someone tells you they are pro-life, now you have six words that have your back.

Pro-Life: Written by Joseph Touma (BTD Co-founder), West Virginia

Abortion has been a hotly debated topic for generations, yet is taboo to mention in public. Bring it up at the dinner table? Impolite. Challenge your friend’s position? Rude. Sometimes even sharing what you believe can strain relationships, cause devastating emotional harm, or maybe, at best, just make a situation awkward. It is without question, however, a subject that so many people feel so strongly about should be discussed at length, and one that, in my perspective, we have yet to reach the solution to. Abortion does not have a place in American society.

The first question to addressing this age-old issue is this: when does life begin? At conception? Four Weeks? Twelve Weeks? Birth? One simple search on the web, scouring research from our nation’s leading physicians and research institutions, will tell you that this is a point of much contention. It seems that society, and the scientific community, have yet to come to a consensus as to when life begins. The one thing I know, and that many pro-choice advocates seem to disagree with, is that life does not begin at birth. There is nothing in the vaginal canal that confers life. There is nothing in the air that we breathe that confers life. There is nothing in crying or emitting sounds that confers life. In short, life does not magically begin right as we exit the womb. It just doesn’t make sense.

With this said, given that the time at which life begins is yet to be determined, I would contend that if we do not know, we should not act. To put it simply, if we do not know with absolute certainty that life begins at a certain point, then it is not in our power as humans to commit an act which could even potentially cause death after life begins. When one drives down a dimly lit street at night and sees a pile of clothing, one that could maybe be a human being, we swerve and do not hit the pile. Why would we when there is even the slightest chance that we could be terminating an innocent life? This first half of my argument is one built on a contention nearly impossible to refute: we do not know when life begins.

My next thought attempts to address a common point of many pro-choice advocates. This argument claims that in the early stages, fetuses are simply balls of tissues, nothing more than a bunch of cells joined together. This is entirely true, except that this is exactly what you and I are right now. Cells make up tissues. Tissues makes up organs. Organs make up organisms. That is what we are, and killing one of us is illegal. As such, we are not aborting tissues, we are terminating lives.

My final point is abstract, but I feel it is the strongest of them all. When humans, equipped with consciences, dig deep down, we know that aborting babies is wrong. When pro-life advocates post pictures of aborted babies, there is a rightful outcry from both sides of the aisle. The images are gruesome, abhorrent, and repulsive solely because they depict a grossly wrong act. Even the most prominent Democrats understand this, often times boating on the campaign trail or on television interviews that they will not infringe on women’s rights, rather just work to lessen the demand for abortion through other means. Why would one pride themselves on lowering abortion rates if they were ethically sound? If these should be legal, then why would politicians make such statements?

Our nation faces a critical problem, one without a clear-cut answer. While I feel that my position is correct, I understand the merit of others. If, in the future, Roe v. Wade is overturned, then there is no question that we need a complete overhaul of our foster care and adoption systems—a entirely new subject for debate. I will end with one quote, which though simple and juvenile, I feel is quite applicable to this discussion: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Now It's Time For Your Input:

This is undoubtedly one of the more contentious issues out there. Remember that the arguments above are only a jumping off point. Feel free to discuss their arguments or bring up some of your own. Are you Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, against abortion but believe people should have the right? How much should the government regulate it? Where does it fall in regards to healthcare? Let us know.

International readers don't feel left out! This is not limited to the US. Add your input on the US's situation or talk about how your thoughts on your country's own system. This is all about talking constructively and learning about as many different sides as possible. Only then can we begin to Bridge the Divide.

#LiliBernstein #JosephTouma #abortion #Debate

The opinions expressed above are solely those of the author, and in no way reflect the opinions of Bridge the Divide or its affiliates.

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