Editor’s note: This submission has been edited for grammar and clarity.
The recent bills surrounding the issue of abortion in the U.S. have sparked a nationwide debate that has been lingering in the background of politics for the past half century. These range from the recent pro-abortion bills in New York and Virginia to the anti-abortion bills in Georgia and Alabama. Even just this week, the N.C. House failed to override a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper that would protect the lives of infants after they are born.
I believe that the pro-choice and pro-life perspectives are differentiated on two main fronts of the issue of convenience abortions.*
The first of these is which party’s rights take precedence over the other’s in an abortion. The pro-life belief holds that the right to life of the fetus supersedes the inconvenience that that life will have on the mother. The pro-choice argument is the direct antithesis; it inherently states that the convenience of the mother is of utmost importance, even if that means that another’s life must be eradicated in the process.
The second point of divergence between the two abortion views is what the qualifications for a person to receive human rights are. The pro-choice stance is simple; for a fetus to receive equal rights as humans’ post-birth, the child must be desired by the mother to whom he/she belongs. This subjective definition of a human life leads to some dangerously gut-wrenching conclusions, such as that the child may have their life terminated at any point in development up to and including after the child is born. See the recent New York and Virginia abortion bills, and Gov. Cooper’s recent veto of the “born-alive” abortion bill.
Many people try to attach a point during development at which the fetus may be aborted, such as the “point of viability” or “presence of a heartbeat,” which many recent anti-abortion bills ascribe to. While these bills are a step in the right direction, the fundamental flaw in this argument is that almost all of these situations could apply to people that have already been born. Should we not use CPR on a person whose heart has stopped because they are no longer considered human? Of course not. Therefore, the only sound argument that can be made as to when a fetus is considered human is at the point of conception.
The pro-life stance is inherently selfless, while the pro-choice view is intrinsically selfish. Pro-life individuals advocate for human rights to be afforded to those who cannot speak for themselves. The pro-choice view states that a human life may be eradicated from existence if their life is of any inconvenience to that of the mother.
Now, I make this argument with no regard as to my own personal religious beliefs, nor in any way am I attempting to control women’s bodies, and any argument to the contrary is disingenuous and false. I simply state that the rights that women have to their own bodies does not extend to the bodies of unborn children that are entirely separate and unique individuals from their mothers.
Additionally, this does not go into the legality of abortion in its current role under Roe v. Wade, which is an egregiously horrible Supreme Court decision that rivals that of the infamous 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Ironically, it also rules that a person may be considered property if that person’s very existence inconveniences the life of another individual.
I stand in agreement with the pro-choice slogan of “your body, your choice,” but that right does not extend to the bodies of others, and no one should get to subjectively dictate whether another human is a person or property. Sound familiar?
Dylan Long is a third-year studying agricultural science.
*Editor’s note: An unconfirmed statistic was removed from this paragraph. - June 9, 2019, 2:09 p.m.