Timothy Davey Mr. Stark Government 29 Nov. 2012 Women’s War for Reproductive Rights The most challenging social issue in America today is not just abortion, but a woman’s right to contraceptives and reproductive health. Generally abortion is an issue that has always been questioned but is an ambiguous subject, even though abortions have been allowed by the Supreme Court for almost five decades. The debate is where to draw the line for contraceptive availability, abortion laws, and healthcare.
The argument ranges from; free contraceptives, full healthcare, and whenever the mother decides; to no contraceptives, paid-for healthcare, and none at all. Neither of these arguments can be supported and bring into question human morality, individual freedom and personal responsibilities, as well as federal and state responsibility. The proper role of federal and state government is to ensure women’s basic rights to safe, affordable reproductive healthcare and choice regarding its use.
In America today we have states like Virginia, which want to change the policies regarding women’s reproductive freedom. Tobias Wolff, a writer for the Huffington Post reported, “The Virginia legislature has passed a bill that will force women seeking an abortion to undergo a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound” (Wolff 1). This now mandatory ultrasound is a government overreach to control women’s reproductive rights by making them go through such an embarrassing unnecessary procedure.
Making a woman have a normal ultrasound does the same thing as a transvaginal one. It’s just a lot more humane and comforting for the woman, and a woman should have one before an abortion decision because picture proof evidence that you have a life forming inside you can greatly affect a woman’s decision, but a transvaginal ultrasound is just unnecessary. But there are states, such as Nebraska, that don’t want to outlaw abortion or make ridiculous deterrents, that wish to make it more humane by adopting a more Pro-Choice law.
Monica Davey, a columnist for the New York Times, states “The law it replaces banned abortions after a fetus reaches viability, or can survive outside the womb. This is determined case by case but is generally considered to come around 22 weeks at the earliest” (Davey 1). This is a reasonable law giving a woman “22 weeks at the earliest” to choose whether or not she wants to have an abortion. Women mostly young and skinny, might not even know that their pregnant till about 18 weeks and when thinking about aborting a life a woman really needs to take some time to think about what she is going to do.
Davey elaborates more on the court ruling she wrote about “The new law grants exceptions only in cases of medical emergency, the pregnant woman’s imminent death, or a serious risk of “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” a provision experts interpreted as an effort to exclude an exception based on a woman’s mental health” (Davey 1). This means that the new law gives women the right to abortions “in cases of medical emergency, the pregnant woman’s imminent death” which stays true to the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause.
This clause states that no state shall deprive any citizen of life, liberty, or property. This is a reasonable law giving a woman “22 weeks at the earliest” to choose whether or not she wants to have an abortion. Women mostly young and skinny might not even know that they are pregnant until about 18 weeks and when thinking about aborting a life, a woman really needs to take some time to think about what she is going to do.
If a woman can die from childbirth, denying abortion as an option constitutes a deprivation of life and Nebraska comprehends that, which is why Nebraskan law protects women’s right to abortion and should be the example for the federal law of all states. There are two different political forces within women’s reproductive rights, Pro-Lifers, and Pro- choice. Pro- life means against abortion and tends to be the more religious group.
Pro-choice wishes all women get to determine no matter what, Liberals tend to favor safe abortion access while Republican tendency is to be against abortion but not necessarily contraceptives. AUL, or Americans United for Life, is a female Pro-Life Activist group that is a major political force that is trying to obviate Planned Parenthood as well as making states the sole arbiter of whether a woman can get an abortion or not.
Kate Sheppard, a journalist from Mother Jones states “Indeed, AUL’S greatest success may be its push to take down America’s largest abortion provider. In July 2011, AUL released ‘The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,’ a 174-page report detailing dozens of alleged abuses, ranging from poor patient care to the misuse of federal funds” (Sheppard 2). This goes completely against “Due Process Clause,” and it’s preposterousness to ban abortions. We don’t even have enough jobs for the people we already have.
So if abortion isn’t available; the lower class grows, and the people most likely to get an abortion are already in the lower class system meaning that their most likely unemployed and the baby would be born into poverty, lessening not only the parent’s quality of life but also that baby. The biggest political player today would be our president who supports women’s reproductive rights, unlike his former Republican challenger Romney, the next biggest player in politics whom is opposed to women’s reproductive rights and made sure to voice his stance during the Republican primaries.
As a Mormon, Romney believes that life begins at conception, and therefore does not believe in contraceptives or abortion and will not have them be provided by health insurance (this is how religion can affect federal law). Obama supports reproductive rights because he understands that women have the right to choose what they wish to do with their bodies and sex life. Faun Johnson, a free-lance journalist, quotes, “According to Obama, the most important characteristic of a Supreme Court justice is a dedication to correcting injustices against the disadvantaged and powerless. We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom’ (Johnson 1). Romney imposes his religious beliefs upon America because he will not make businesses provide contraceptives in their healthcare packages because he doesn’t believe in contraceptives. The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obama Care, plays a key role in the battle for women’s reproductive rights because its will set new regulations for insurance provided by companies regarding women’s basic healthcare needs.
Debra Hauser, a feminist health activist, explains “The Congressional debate over abortion in the Affordable Care Act and the set-back to abortion coverage that the resulting law imposed was a wake-up call for the reproductive rights movement” (Hauser 1). What Hauser was getting at was that as the Affordable Care Act came to light many Americans thought that it would provide abortions for women, but it will not. Not because Obama doesn’t approve of abortions but because it was going to be hard enough to pass the ACA as is, let alone propose that the government pay for abortion services.
Obama would rather be able to give the poor and young access to contraceptives and cancer screenings such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer rather than lose everything by trying to get abortion coverage in the ACA as well. This made the Pro-Choice advocates start to think about how precious women’s reproductive rights are because right now in our Supreme Court it’s a losing battle. America can’t always get everything, both sides of this debate must settle somewhere in the middle, and the ACA does exactly that.
The proper role of both federal and state government is to protect women’s reproductive rights and see to it that all the American women both Pro-life and Pro-choice get basic health care coverage. In Idaho the federal government needed to protect Americans when they were at their lowest and failed to do so. Nancy Hass, a highly respected writer for Newsweek, retells a story “Although RU-486 is legal and the fetus was not yet “viable” (that is, old enough to live outside the uterus), Idaho has a 1972 law–never before enforced–making it a crime punishable by five years in prison for a woman to induce her own abortion” (Hass 1).
This is where the federal government needed to step in and regulate laws like this. A state trying to give a sentence of “five years in prison for a woman to induce her own abortion” is ludicrous. This woman was in the legal time given to have an abortion and Ms. McCormack did everything legally. But because her abortion looked like a fetus, and it shocked the state, they wanted to put her in prison. Idaho as a state does not have the right to even attempt to try this woman.
If the federal government doesn’t regulate state legislatures restrictions on then parts of America will have to be ready for horrific back alley abortions. For instance in San Salvador Jack Hitt, a highly reputable journalist for the New York Times, spoke with women that live in a state where abortion is banned but the women found ways to go around the law for abortions. Even in a state where abortion is against the law in all circumstances, abortion continues to happen in secrecy no matter what the price. Hitt interviews a woman records her story.
On that day, I came in and was told to lie down. It was not even a bed. There was just so much disorder. She asked me to take off my clothes, and she put a shirt on me. She came with a piece of cloth and put it underneath my nose, and I felt a little numb. She came back with a long wire, like a TV antenna. It was not like a doctor’s instrument. It was just a wire tube with another wire inside it. She put some oil on it and told me to breathe deeply. She put it in. And she was scraping around. I was supposed to be asleep. But I felt pain.
I told her it hurt. She said, “Yeah, we’re almost done. ” But she kept scraping around, and I said: “No, no, stop. It’s hurting me. ” Then she said, “It’s done. “(Hitt 2) Hitt provides hardcore evidence that would make even the most radical conservatives cringe and be appalled bringing in a whole new perspective: No matter what the penalty the human instinct and drive for survival is too high, and if felt that a baby could impose on that, even if abortion was against the law women would do anything to terminate a pregnancy as seen in San Salvador.
Women turn to abortion out of desperation so it’s the federal government job to keep it safe legal and unnecessary. This is why the federal government needs to pass a law that makes all states have hospitals provide safe, legal abortions, and make states provide affordable contraceptives to the public. If the federal government doesn’t then states all over can make any law they want that could devastate women’s reproductive rights as we know it.
Edited by The New York Times “The requirement… properly covers employees of hospitals, universities, charitable groups and other entities that are associated with religious organizations but serve the general public and employ people of different faiths” (Birth Control… 1) This is the proper role of our federal government, making America what it’s supposed to be an equal country. It gives women employees the right to health care no matter what faith or moral obligations their employer has against contraceptives, regular check up’s and even abortion.
Women’s reproductive rights need to be protected by the federal government and not be dictated by the state legislature, the federal government should be giving women access to safe, affordable reproductive healthcare. Women have three inalienable rights; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. If we take away their right to dictate what they want to do with their own body, then we are taking these rights away.
If a woman needs contraceptives because she’s a hemophiliac can’t have a period or she would bleed to death, but she lives in a state that has banned contraceptives that state has killed that woman, and by default taken away her right to life, liberty, and happiness. When a state bans abortion it can cause the economy to fail, because women who are poor and can’t get contraceptives have fewer options to determine their life’s trajectory.
Having an unwanted child is going to cost, that already poor woman, more money than she can provide and she could lose her job or already be living off of the government. But if the federal government makes a law that gives just the basic healthcare for women’s reproductive rights nationally, all of this can be avoided. Works Cited “Birth Control and Reproductive Rights” New York Times. New York Times, 29 Jan. 2012. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. Davey, Monica, “Nebraska Sets Limits on Abortion. ” New York Times.
New York Times, 13 Apr. 2010. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. Hass, Nancy. “The Next Roe v. Wade? ” Newsweek 19 Dec. 2011: 25. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. Hauser, Debra. “Making it Personal: the 1 in 3 Campaign Aims to Change the Abortion Debate. ” Women’s Health Activist Jan. -Feb. 2012: 5. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. Hitt, Jack. “Pro-Life Nation. ” New York Times. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2006. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. Johnson, Fawn. “Obama vs. Romney–Social Issues: No-Brainer. Nationaljournal. com 23 Aug. 2012: General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. Sheppard, Kate. “Wham, Bam, Sonogram! Transvaginal Ultrasounds? Check. Attacking Planned Parenthood? Check. Meet the Women Who are Blasting Away at Reproductive Rights, One State at a Time. ” Mother Jones Sept. -Oct. 2012: 5+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. Wolff, Tobias. “The Republican War on Women: Invading the Vagina in Virginia” The Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 2 Feb. 2012. Web. 3 Sept. 2012.