Abortion in the United States Essay

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Abortion in the United States

Abortion has been a complex social issue in the United States ever since restrictive abortion laws began to appear in the 1820s. By 1965, abortions had been outlawed in the U.S., although they continued illegally; about one million abortions per year were estimated to have occurred in the 1960s. (Krannich 366) Ultimately, in the 1973 Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, it was ruled that women had the right to privacy and could make an individual choice on whether or not to have an abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. (Yishai 213)

Since Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion has sparked a symbolic war based on the religious, personal, and moral beliefs of two opposing groups: anti-abortionists,
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A WOMAN’S RIGHTS VERSUS A FETUS’ RIGHTS

One of the first moral issues addressed by both sides of the abortion debate concerns a pregnant woman’s so-called natural “right” to make “reproductive choices.” (“The Rights of Pregnant Women”) Anti-abortion advocacy groups claim that “the only way to actually protect the mother’s rights will be by enforcing laws that secure her child’s right to life,” (“Argument 2”) whereas pro-abortion groups contend that these laws “create a dangerous precedent for wide-ranging government intrusion into the lives of all women.” (“The Rights”) With two fundamentally contrasting viewpoints at odds with each other, it is apparent that one of the core issues concurrent with abortion is a woman’s rights versus the rights of her unborn fetus.

Some anti-abortion activists argue that a woman has “waived control over her own body” when she makes the decision to engage in sexual activity, an activity which could lead to pregnancy. (Roy 339) “Thus where sex is voluntary, the pregnant woman has at least tacitly consented to the possibility of pregnancy.” (339) If this is the case, these anti-abortionists argue, then a pregnant woman has given up the right to “make a choice,” as the choice-making phase of the

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