Wim Van de Keere
English comp I
A matter of life and death
About 29 years ago, Norma McCorvey, who then adopted the pseudonym Jane Roe, became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit to challenge the strict anti-abortion laws in Texas. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which handed down its controversial ruling on January 22, 1973. The decision legalized abortion in all fifty states and sparked a sociopolitical debate that remains charged to this day. However, McCorvey never had an abortion and eventually gave away the child for adoption. In 1995, she converted to Christianity and became a fervent adversary of abortion. The woman who had fought for women to have the freedom to decide what to do with their bodies came to see pro-abortionists as killers.
Lets first take a look at some of the circumstances in which people may decide to abort a child. I think its a misconception to think that people will only opt for abortion in cases of unplanned parenthood. Todays technology enables us to see at a very early stage of the pregnancy if the baby is in good health. If tests show that something is wrong and that the baby will never be able to survive or will only grow to be a certain age, parents often have a very difficult decision to make. In these cases, I think that parents definitely have the right to opt for abortion. I find it sad that, while those people go through a living hell, they are judged for their actions, often by people who obviously havent been in their situation and judge them as killers who took an innocent life. Its far more complex than that.
Unwanted pregnancies remain the main reason to opt for abortion. Here again, the matter is very complex and there isnt a solution that is valid in every situation. If the pregnancy is the result of rape or sexual abuse, there should be no discussion. The victim has the right to choose for abortion.
Mostly, unwanted pregnancies are the result of unsafe sex. In these cases, I feel that the mother has the right to decide what she is going to do with the baby, as young men often dont want to take the responsibility for their actions. If they do, then the couple should decide together. An important aspect of the decision is financial security. If you decide to have the child, you have to be certain that you will be able provide clothes and food for it. If not, I think that abortion is an acceptable solution. Hopefully, these young people will have learnt a valuable lesson from this predicament. The support of parents – or lack thereof – also plays an important role in the decision-making process. If they are supportive and want to help the young mother to the best of their abilities, the decision becomes a lot easier.
I dont think, however, that abortion should be seen as some kind of safety valve. People confronted with unwanted pregnancies shouldnt think that they can have sex without contraceptives and if they get pregnant, theyll just have the fetus aborted. Thats a totally wrong and regrettable mentality that I see too often among young people nowadays. And if not to prevent pregnancy, they should at least use contraceptives to prevent attracting STDs.
Undoubtedly, there will always be people who are in favor of abortion and others who are against it. Religious beliefs will keep playing an important role in the debate. However, I dont think that people who opt for abortion should be seen as killers. If you are not sure that you will be able to provide a secure future for the child or if the pregnancy is a result of sexual abuse, there are sufficient grounds for abortion. I feel that people who do opt for abortion shouldnt be judged for their actions. To form an opinion of people, one should have all the facts. Unfortunately, that is often not the case.