Threatening Our Rights to Choose

courtsIn North Carolina a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives to add further restrictions on having an abortion. Texas has also passed similar laws putting more regulations on having abortions. North Dakota has banned having abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and these are not the only states to pass new laws on abortion considered anti-abortion bills; Wisconsin, Virginia, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, Mississippi, etc. have also passed laws making abortions harder to get. Most of these states have passed regulations that require abortions to be performed in a certain facility maintaining a certain safety code or performed by doctors whom have certain credentials. This may sound completely understandable, but in doing so many abortion clinics have been closed or will be because of these regulations. It is called prochoice for a reason. These laws are limiting women’s ability to have that choice. How is closing down most clinics in these states not infringing on a woman’s right to have an abortion? Lawmakers are using reasons like women’s safety as a cover to get rid of abortions.

In Chile an eleven year old girl who was raped by her mother’s partner is banned from having an abortion because there are no exceptions to have an abortion in Chile. And if we continue on this path, cases like this will happen in America. Right now in Texas if a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, if she finds out after twenty weeks there is no exception to the law and she legally cannot have an abortion. That woman, like the little girl in Chile, would have had her body and rights violated and then not even have the right to choose what happens to her body next. Right now in North Dakota if a woman doesn’t find out she is pregnant until after the sixth week of pregnancy she has no choice but to have the baby. And if a woman in North Carolina wants an abortion, only one clinic will be available to her and her fellow women who may want an abortion as well. I don’t believe that any of these situations are morally correct.

There is only one abortion clinic in North Carolina that is a licensed ambulatory surgical center. So the other sixteen clinics will not be able to pass the new regulations and will probably be forced to close due to costly upgrades to their facilities. This isn’t just happening in North Carolina. In Wisconsin two of the four abortion clinics will be forced to close due to their new regulations. Also in Texas due to costly upgrades for clinics to become surgical facilities, it is predicted that thirty-five facilities that perform abortions will be forced to shut down only leaving a few places to receive abortions in major cities.  Basically, by adding more regulations for clinics to uphold, these states are not just trying to make safer places for women, but they are ultimately eliminating the number of available places to have abortions all together. Undue burden is a term that describes the Legislature’s inability to create a law that is too restrictive on one’s fundamental rights and I can’t see how these restrictions limiting the amount of locations women can get abortions isn’t considered an undue burden; they have a right to choose, but these new laws are giving them less and less of a choice in the name of safety.

Many of these states have claimed that these laws are being passed to protect women’s safety. But Democrats in North Carolina are “saying it was considered with little debate and no proof from medical experts that different standards are needed.” Also I don’t see how limiting a woman having an abortion to fewer and fewer weeks into the pregnancy has anything to do with protecting women’s safety. I can concede that having cleaner facilities up to surgical facilities standards can be for women’s safety, but not the limiting of time a woman can have an abortion especially since most of the arguments for limiting the weeks have to do with the abortion are about the fetus and not the mother. As Billy Hallowell has argued, “The Supreme Court holds that states can ban most abortions at the point a fetus could survive once born,” which is roughly twenty-four weeks from conception. Congress also found that “fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins with week 28.”  But in North Dakota the state has banned abortion after six weeks, as soon as a heartbeat is detectable. So this law is even more proof that this ban of abortions isn’t even about pain, preventing suffering or women’s health, it’s about saving a fetus regardless of the mother’s wishes.

Another argument for these new abortion restrictions in North Carolina is that they are a response to certain recent current events. Sen. Warren Daniel, for example, referred to the doctor in Philadelphia who was recently convicted of killing live babies in a clinic as a reason for these new restrictions. And an AP story recounts, “Another senator read a newspaper story about a Charlotte clinic that was forced to close briefly this spring after state officials determined staffers were improperly administering a drug to induce abortions.” These worries are being addressed in the new law requiring doctors to be present for the entire surgical abortion and when a woman has the first chemically induced abortion. But again that doesn’t explain the part of the law that bans sex-selective abortions or the fact that this abortion bill was sneakily tacked onto a motorcycle bill so Democrats had no time to previously read through it and prepare. There are good seeming intentions that hiding the final end that these laws are heading towards.

There have been forty-three new laws and restrictions on abortion just this year. These restrictions are closing down many clinics in each state and limiting the amount of time women can receive abortions. As Verna Gates says, “Lawmakers across the country have passed new restrictions on abortion rights in recent years, including laws approved in the last month in North Dakota and Arkansas that are seen as direct challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.”  Ultimately these laws sweeping the country are leading to exactly what these states want, the overturn of what Roe vs. Wade started, making abortions illegal. These laws are trickled with certain good possibilities but the conclusion isn’t to keep abortions legal. If we want to preserve the right for women to choose, we need to notice the trend and realize where these laws are taking our country.

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4 Comments to “Threatening Our Rights to Choose”

  1. While, I don’t like the idea of abortion, I do wholeheartedly agree that a woman should have the right to choose, ESPECIALLY if she was raped. To me that is really a sadness, when a state will not help a woman or young girl with her choices when a situation like that happens. There shouldn’t be restrictions on an individual’s right. This is a hard call though because it brings to mind the question of the individual who didn’t ask to be brought into the world…the baby/fetus/embryo.

  2. I am completely for pro-choice and believe that women should have the right to an abortion. I think in some cases, especially in regards to rape, abortion can be a better choice than giving birth. However, that being said, I do generally support the laws that have been passed recently. I realize that the safety measures are causing many abortion clinics to close down but believe that this shortage is temporary. These laws are recent and it takes time to reestablish clinics so that they meet the safer regulations. I am also very supportive on the ban of late term abortions. While, admittedly, six weeks may be a bit extreme, I definitely agree with not allowing abortions to take place after 20. I see no reason why someone wouldn’t get an abortion earlier yet would need one halfway through their pregnancy. I know you bring up an example of if a woman was raped and didn’t realize it until she was 20 weeks pregnant, yet I find this rather unrealistic. I’d assume if someone is raped they would determine if they were pregnant or not at as early a time as possible, and would then not need to have an abortion at 20 weeks. I feel like women should have the choice to abortion, but they should be not be taken lightly and only used when completely necessary.

  3. Personally, I believe in pro-choice and that women should be in control of their body and their wants/needs. With all these clinics closing down, how are women supposed to safely get an abortion? As you mentioned, only ONE clinic in North Carolina will be available for abortion procedures and realistically that one clinic will not be able to cater to the women of that state or neighboring states. Also with the number of clinics closing down, I believe that women who are desperate enough will turn to risky and unsafe abortions on the black market, in Mexico for example. Legislators claim that these laws are to protect women’s safety but I think that is bull. If a woman needs or wants an abortion, she should have that right and the necessary resources to do it.

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