Author: Baosheng Guo 04-12-2023
(Baosheng Guo is a well-known Chinese dissident and commentator)
On June 24, 2022, in a historic and shocking decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade, which leads to mass protests and a fierce dispute between the pro-life and pro-choice people. The issue is whether women’s abortion rights should be protected and respected or not. Conservative and pro-life people think that abortion ought to be prohibited or restricted because the life right of the fetus should be protected and abortion is the crime of depriving life. However, the progressive and pro-choice people think that abortion rights are women’s legal right that benefits woman’s life and health, and the governments cannot deprive or restrict abortion rights. Although pro-life people disagree with abortion rights, women’s abortion rights should be protected by the Constitution because restricting access to abortion would deprive women’s rights to dominion over their own bodies and any level of government should not restrict abortion rights.
First, abortion rights should be protected because women have the right to dominate their bodies including fetuses and abortion rights are helpful for women’s life. After women obtained the constitutional right to vote in 1920 through Suffrage Movement, the woman’s rights movement focused on abortion rights. The Progressive Americans and feminists state abortion rights are the fundamental right of women rights that defend a woman has the right to sovereignty over her own body (Tillman 13). Because the fetus is part of a woman’s body, women themselves have the right to have an abortion or give a fetus birth. In addition, since Roe v. Wade ruled, the lives of generations of women across the U.S. have received high levels of freedom, autonomy, and control over their lives. According to research, by 1980, the average age of marriage had increased to 22. Thirty percent of American women ages 18 to 24 who had graduated from high school were enrolled in college, and 13.6% had completed a four-year college degree. Forty-five percent of married mothers with young children were in the labor force (Shehan 9). Abortion right obviously helps women participate the education and the workplace and reduce woman’s burdens such as giving birth to a fetus after rape or giving birth over the budget and career plan. Therefore, in order to protect women’s human rights such as education, work, and sovereignty over their bodies, abortion rights should be protected.
Also, the government should not interfere with the individual privacy and no level of government should restrict abortion. In 1973, citing the constitutional privacy right, the U.S. Supreme Court set up abortion right through Roe v. Wade. The privacy right meant the police could not invade marital bedrooms to ensure that birth control practices as enforced by state law, and the logical culmination of the privacy-right rationale is protecting abortion rights (Freeman 4). As a result, once Roe v. Wade was overturned, the governments in any state have the authority to invade the privacy right of citizens. For example, many conservative states may start to surveillance, statistics, and control the women who want abortions or travel to other states for abortions. That obviously invades the privacy of Americans and that is a shame for the called democratic beacon country and that let the government authority power becomes not limited. In fact, the purpose of establishing a government that has been written in the U.S. Constitution is to protect, not the invasion the rights of individuals. Restricting abortion as the action of invading privacy violates the original purpose of government. Therefore, the Federal and state government should not restrict abortion because the democratic government should limit the power of the government and defend civil rights.
However, most conservatives are opposed to abortion rights because they want to protect the life right of fetuses according to the principle of the Bible, and most Christians believe that anyone except God has no power to deprive the life of other persons including fetuses. In fact, the separation of church and state is the fundamental principle of the U.S. Constitution, and the church’s law cannot apply to the whole society just like Christians cannot force atheists and other religious believers to obey the principle of the Bible. According to the description of pregnant and fetuses in Matthew Gospel in the Bible, fetuses have a spirit, so Christians believe that fetuses have life and abortion is the murder of life. Consequently, many conservatives think that the fetus is not really a part of the mother that the fetus has independent life and that the laws on homicide must apply to the fetus, and that the government must protect the life of the fetus in the womb (Arkes 11). Actually, these opinions of conservatives reflected the principle of Christianity cannot be implemented in the whole society because society is full of any kind of religion and values. If applying this principle by force, obviously violated the separation of church and state, and that could lead to chaos or violent conflict. For instance, American Muslims who must not eat pork according to their religion cannot prohibit all people to eat pork in the U.S, if Muslims force other people not to eat pork, chaos or war will happen in the U.S. Thus, American Christians also cannot force all people to obey the rule of the Bible and protecting rather than restricting abortion is the correct choice for a pluralistic society.
In conclusion, in order to practice the principles of the U.S. Constitution, such as the separation of church and state, limiting the power of government, and protecting human rights including privacy rights, education rights, and work rights, the U.S. federal and state governments should protect abortion rights. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. is divided, and woman’s right is being invaded. However, if people speak up and take various forms of protest, we sincerely believe, women will retake back their abortion rights.
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OVIC&xid=f8f0ef3d. Accessed 19 July 2022. Originally published as “Abortion as Anti-law,”
National Review, 11 Nov. 2021.
Freeman, Alan, and Elizabeth Mensch. “Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade.” Commonweal, vol. 121, no. 18, 21 Oct. 1994, pp. 19+. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A15863066/OVIC?u=viva2_nvcc&sid=bookmark-OVIC&xid=7f2e3a71. Accessed 27 July 2022.
Shehan, Constance. “Roe v. Wade gave American women a choice about having children – here’s how that changed their lives.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2022. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, link.gale.com/apps/doc/LVEPBM257772802/OVIC? u=viva2_nvcc&sid=bookmark-OVIC&xid=53e447de. Accessed 19 July 2022. Originally published as “Roe v. Wade gave American women a choice about having children – here’s how that changed their lives,” The Conversation, 19 May 2021.
Tillman, Jodie. “‘We have had abortions’: 1972 petition changed abortion rights movement.”Washington Post, 16 May 2022, p. NA. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A703931552/OVIC?u=viva2_nvcc&sid=bookmark-
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