U.S. Government Interfere With Existing Federal Law Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1806 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Abortion

¶ … U.S. government interfere with existing federal law that gives the decision to abort a child or not to abort the woman's along to make, in her own private way? The first point-of-view in this paper will be to answer the question above with a firm "no."

Background and Facts on the Abortion Issue

In 1973, the High Court ruled, in Roe v. Wade, that a woman's right to choose whether or not she will keep a fetus falls under the Constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy. In other words, what a woman does with regards to her pregnancy is her personal private right to decide.

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood organization (www.plannedparenthood.org) explains that abortion occurs "naturally" in 15 to 40% of pregnancies, "...when an embryo or fetus stops developing and the body expels it." it's called "spontaneous abortion, miscarriage, or early pregnancy loss." Also, there are about 6,000,000 pregnancies in America each year, the Planned Parenthood information shows, and of those, "less than 25%" are aborted and fifty percent of the aborted pregnancies are "unintended."

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Planned Parenthood points out that "through the ages" women have turned to abortion to end "unwanted pregnancies." And "induced abortion was common among Native Americans" in the years prior to the arrival of Europeans. After the arrival of Europeans and the establishment of the new American nation, abortion was legal "from colonial times to the middle of the 19th Century," Planned Parenthood explains on its Web site; so it's clear that abortion is not a 20th Century development.

TOPIC: Term Paper on U.S. Government Interfere With Existing Federal Law Assignment

Indeed, the "pro-choice" movement in America has been on the winning side of the abortion issue since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision (basically making abortion legal) in 1973. And yet, there is an ongoing debate - often spirited and even bitter - about what the Supreme Court of the United States will do when it takes up the issue again.

This portion of the paper takes the position that abortions should remain a legal option for a woman; her right to control what happens to her own body should not be in the hands of politicians in Washington, or anti-abortion activists anywhere. Her right to privacy is, according to Roe v. Wade, protected by the Constitution; and even though the present executive branch of the U.S. Government (George W. Bush) has a "pro-life" philosophy, and has placed two new Justices - who are potentially able to tip the scales to overturn Roe v. Wade - on the High Court in the past year, it is this writer's opinion that the law should continue to uphold a woman's right to privacy, and allow abortions in clean, medically appropriate healthcare facilities.

ARGUMENT #2: Banning abortions will push women into backroom, dirty medical clinics, and banning abortions won't stop young people from having sex. In fact, when "unclean, primitive medical practices" made abortions "very dangerous" during the 1800s, laws were passed to protect women's lives, Planned Parenthood continues. But "cleaner, advanced medical procedures made safer abortions possible" by the middle of the 20th Century, and of course anti-abortion laws were overturned in 1973.

Planned Parenthood offers advice to women who are considering an abortion; the most common reasons a woman would consider an abortion include that she is "not ready to become a parent"; she can't afford a baby; she isn't pleased about becoming a single parent and facing all those challenges for herself and her baby; she is too young to be a parent; she has all the children she can handle now; her husband or partner wants her to have an abortion; the fetus or mother has a health problem; and lastly, she may be a survivor of rape or incest.

More recently, in the years prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal, but thousands of abortions were conducted every year, and many deaths were attributed to those "back room" abortions. The Abortion Law Homepage explains (http://members.aol.com/abtrbng/)that abortion law comes from two basic governmental sources; the legislatures of states and the Supreme Court of the United States. Most states made abortion a criminal offence, up until 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment "provided a fundamental right for women to obtain abortions." The 14th Amendment to the Constitution led to the Court's decisions in the 1960s and 1970s, which established that a woman had a "right to privacy" in cases of contraception.

ARGUMENT #1 (continued). From the "Pro-Life" side of the discussion, those individuals believe that "human life should be valued either from fertilization or implantation until natural death" (Wikipedia.org from pro-life sources). Christian morality has had a direct influence on the pro-life movement, in that the pro-life movement believes that any action that destroys an embryo or a fetus basically is killing a human being. Destroying human life is wrong in any manner or form, the pro-life group believes, and even if the fetus "...that would almost certainly be unviable, such as an encephalitic fetuses."

The pro-life side of the discussion also (but not in every case) opposes some forms of birth control (especially the "day after" pill which makes it impossible for the eggs to remain fertilized even though sperm reached the eggs during intercourse). Another form of birth control opposed by the pro-live movement is the hormonal contraception, ECP, which is believed to prevent the implantation of an embryo.

What the pro-life movement seeks to do, above all, is "restore legal protection to innocent human life" (http://www.nrlc.org/missionstatement.htm).The Roman Catholic Church teaches that "abortion is a grave sin against the natural law" (http://www.vatican.va).Moreover, the Catholic Church (along with most pro-life groups that are not affiliated with an organized religion) believes that human life begins at conception, and so abortion is the equivalent to murder. "There are no permissible exceptions," the Church insists, unless the life of the woman is in jeopardy; in that event, it is permissible under Church guidelines to give the ailing woman life-saving treatments even if the secondary result means the fetus will be killed.

Church law requires that any person who "directly participates in an abortion," the Vatican asserts, "is automatically excommunicated (providing they are aware of this penalty at the time of the act)." Other religions go along with the sentiment of the Catholic Church; indeed, the conservative, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian groups are very often in philosophical agreement with the pro-life groups.

Pro-life groups engage in several kinds of activism. They urge women to accept free ultrasound scans, since many times when a pregnant woman actually sees the fetus inside her, she chooses to keep the baby. They form a "life chain" which entails a large group of pro-life people standing along a sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic with signs that say, "Abortion Kills Children," "Abortion stops a beating heart," "I'm a child not a choice," "Jesus Loves the Little Children," and others along those same lines. There is also "the rescue" strategy in which pro-life activists attempt to block anyone from entering. This often brings in law enforcement and there are known to have been violent confrontations using this method.

ARGUMENT # 3: If the Bush Administration is successful in its attempt to place enough pro-life justices on the Supreme Court, will abortions be illegal in the foreseeable future? The answer to that question would be pure speculation, but in the long run, since the pendulum tends to swing both ways, it would seem reasonable to expect that eventually a new more pro-choice administration will be in the White House. And as Supreme Court Justices die or leave office, that new, more liberal administration will in turn place pro-choice justices on the Court to overturn what a majority of the previous pro-life justices had done previously.

CONCLUSION: Unless there is a "compelling interest" in preventing the abortion, a woman would have the right to get an abortion if she so chooses to do so.

Meanwhile, every interested citizen who has a viewpoint on the abortion issues, should desire to be informed and to read both sides of the issue. The National Organization for Women (NOW) has a "historical highlight" page on their Web site that gives the dates of important legal watermarks relating to abortion rights and to those who oppose abortions ("pro-life" groups). In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court nullified a Connecticut statute prohibiting married couples from using birth control pills; not many people today are aware that it was actually illegal in some states for a woman to use birth control. This can be viewed as a sexist situation coming in to play, where men in three-piece suits in state government were deciding what women could do and what they could not do with their bodies. The Court ruled that the "right to marital privacy" allows married couples to use contraceptives if they wish to.

There was a law in 1972 that was struck down by the Court in Eisenstadt v. Baird; the Court ruled that distribution by doctors of the birth control pill… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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