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Pro-life or pro-birth?

Shaaya Ellis | Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1979, the abortion debate has been separated into two camps: pro-life and pro-choice. Those who are pro-choice believe a woman has an inherent right to privacy, hence she has a right to choose what she wants to do with her body, with respect to abortion. Those who subscribe to the idea all life begins at conception are considered to be pro-life.
What is interesting about this debate is labels tend to mislead, and one has to question the motives of both of these diametrically opposed groups. I can say with the utmost certainty that many of those who are pro-choice tend not to support other forms of choice in society such as school vouchers, and those who are pro-life tend to support the death penalty. While the latter group of persons mean well in their crusade to protect the life of the innocent and vulnerable, I suspect their good intentions might go awry if they do not grasp the gravity of the situation when a woman elects to have an abortion.
I believe those who believe in the “life begins at conception” mantra do not consider the psychological factors a woman deals with when soliciting an abortion. In the cases of rape and incest, the amount of strain those two events can have on a woman’s well-being, in addition to dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, can be crippling. For those who pride themselves on being pro-life, some self-examination is needed, because to outright say a woman has to keep an unwanted pregnancy as a result of rape and incest is not only an inordinate amount of naiveté, it is simply folly.
Furthermore, in the cases of rape and incest, I believe forcing a woman to keep an unwanted pregnancy is antithetical to the American ideal of liberty and freedom. If a woman has no right to do as she please with her body then what rights are she left with?
I believe abortion is a medical procedure of very little significance that can simply ameliorate the burden of going through a traumatic experience, as in the cases of rape and incest.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior w viability. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy. The most common surgical methods of induced abortion is by manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which consists of removing the fetus or embryo, placenta, and membranes by suction using a manual syringe, and electric vacuum aspiration (EVA), which uses an electric pump. Simply put, the CDC defines abortion as a medical procedure.
Likewise, when it comes to the woman’s health, I believe abortion should be viewed as a medical procedure that can be used to save the mother’s life in the event something goes wrong during pregnancy or childbearing.
Those who argue life begins at conception would have us believe they are pro-life, but in essence they are pro-birth. If one were truly pro-life, then I think they should consider having compassion and sympathy for the life of the mother. I believe the majority of those who squawk about life beginning at conception fail to consider the most crucial ingredient in a woman’s decision to get an abortion: her own well-being.
If a woman decides for whatever reason an unwanted pregnancy and childrearing is something she does not want to do, then simply having an abortion should be made available to her. Abortion is just a medical procedure similar to any other procedure that involves the body. If life truly begins at conception as the pro-life purport, then why is the life of the mother being overshadowed by the life of the fetus? I believe it is very haughty to suggest abortion is murder and life begins at conception. It is of vital importance to remember when a woman solicits an abortion she is not doing so out of spite or malice, but to act in her best interest.
To those who adhere to the pro-life doctrine, I think they must go beyond saying life begins at conception and recognize life also continues after birth. More importantly, the life of a woman should take precedent over the life of a fetus or an embryo. To not consider this is insincere and only seeks to make an impulsive argument motivated by passion and not reason.

Shaaya Ellis is a junior political science major with a classics minor. He can be contacted at sellis2@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.