The right to abortion

Abortion is deeply regrettable. 

The Supreme Court of the United States seems poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the decision that established the right to abortion across the 50 states of the US. Despite the legal arguments for and against overturning this precedent are copious, the independence and credibility of the United States Supreme Court and the entire judicial system of the United States is in question, with long term consequences beyond anyone guesses. Without considering the issue of abortion, the radical willingness to break a decades-old precedent and the political maneuvering and pressuring of the conservative movement to the Supreme Court will further provide mistrust to the highest court in the United States, showing the highest court in the strongest world democracy can be politically influenced. Despite this politization took several decades and was very expensive, with the GOP losing its soul and moral standing in the process, it was doable, with unpredictable, unforeseen consequences for the United States. The new status quo means that any group with the resources, time, and willingness to subvert a strong judicial system can achieve their political goals. As others have said, this would be a radical decision in the judicial history of the United States. 

Despite the legal framework is fraught, abortion is complex for most people, and there are several conflicting issues when a woman chooses to abort a fetus. For me, the ultimately test to support abortion as Row vs. Wade stands in the United States, independently of the legal arguments, is whether I would perform an abortion in a 35-weeks otherwise healthy fetus.

I could not perform an abortion in a 35-weeks healthy fetus. 

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The GOP has been overreaching on abortion for a long time, using this issue as a launching pad for political carriers and politically convenient demagogy. The GOP allowed itself to be overrun for an opportunistic so-called leader that did not care about abortion and was pro-choice for a while. Trump’s narcissistic takeover of the GOP religious base was partly founded on his willingness and uncompromising behavior against liberals, alleged killers of babies in a fight for moral standing. The blindness of the religious right has unmasked the hypocrisy of some of these religious groups and their power-hungry leaders that use abortion as the issue to get more power, without considering the loss of their souls in the process. For these religious leaders the eyes were on the prize, and the prize was power and money. A moral response to abortion, or to any moral issue, cannot be devised of morality itself, doing otherwise would only show the voluble nature of our own morality when means justify the end. To vehemently attack the supposed weakness in morality of others when we are morally faulty is vehemently hypocritical. The overreach of the GOP in the United States will be politically punished with votes, and as soon as the first women are criminally prosecuted in the United States, the popular opinion would side with them and against the GOP. 

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Abortion is an ethical and moral issue, but also is forcing a woman to term when the pregnancy is the result of rape, conflicts with the life of the woman, or the fetus has a congenital malformation. Taking all the considerations on this issue, the current landscape makes inconvenient to prosecute women who have an abortion. The proper solution for these women would involve engaging in family planning and secular sexual education to prevent further unwanted pregnancies. In this sense, most conservative organizations opposing abortion in the United States want to impose their religious believes to both limit abortion and coerce women into unintended pregnancies, deny family planning, and restrict the rights of women, especially women of disadvantaged settings with poor access to contraception and sexual health. These restrictions would further increase the economic inequality and worsen the quality of life of disadvantaged women across the United States.

Abortion is a complex issue, with several legal and political concerns to consider. Despite the legal framework of abortion is complicated and completely overturning precedent highly damages the credibility of the Supreme Court, the controversial nature of Row vs Wade is warranted. The right to life is a fundamental right in every society, and the scientific disagreements on the start of consciousness and humanhood show the moral considerations of abortion are also fundamental. If a fetus respond to sounds, is it alive? And if alive, does the living being does not have the right to life? In a sense, the lack of consciousness in early-pregnancy makes these questions easier for society, but these issues get murkier once the fetus is able to respond to stimulus in mid-pregnancy. The inherent tension between the rights of the women and the fetuses are reflected in the opinions of the population. Polls show people are ambivalent, torn, and conflicted on this issue, with most of the society recognizing that some form of abortion should be legal in the United States. For all the shortcomings of popularity-based policy, most of the society in the United States takes this issue seriously and somewhat agrees with a sensible compromise on abortion, especially early in the pregnancy.

The current laws in some states banning abortion at all stages of the pregnancy and in all circumstances are deeply troubling and interfere with the rights of the women. The proposals to further alienate these women by prohibiting interstate travel would be further inconvenient and deeply troublesome, showcasing that a religious minority can dictate through a government decree the lives of women in these jurisdictions. These laws would be against the ethos of the founding of the United States, by severely restricting the freedoms in the country, giving the government supreme control over the body of women, and blurring the separation between church and state. 

Abortion disproportionally affects minorities and economically deprived women. These underprivileged women have worse sexual health and lower rates family planning, making abortion the last safeguard, and sometimes the only safeguard, to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead of criminal prosecution, the prevention of abortions should be a priority in women’s sexual health, making abortion the exception and not the rule in a women’s life.