Sunday, April 3, 2011

Summary: “Abortion Is a Motherhood Issue”, Roe v. Wade, and “How It All Began:I Have had an Abortion”

Judith Arcana “Abortion…”
This article made the point that abortion is about motherhood and what having an abortion means for mothers. Arcana argues that abortion is a subcategory of motherhood. Motherhood is very complex subject, more so than I had thought about before. Reproducing is a huge responsibility. Arcana writes that we lose sight of the fact that having abortion is just not about the woman being pregnant, but about the baby growing inside her. She says that an abortion, sometimes, is actually the responsible thing to do for the baby.
One point that Arcana made really struck me. She writes, “When the pregnancy is deliberate, or accepted, we say baby. When the pregnancy is an accident, or rejected, we say fetus or embryo, a mass of cells and tissue.” (225). I believe that Arcana is completely right. Pro-Life argues for the baby to live, Pro-Choice argues that it should be the woman’s choice whether the fetus is terminated or not.
Motherhood is an incredible responsibility. Abortion may be the most responsible thing for a woman to do for that baby. Interestingly, Arcana compares choosing to have an abortion with choosing what school to send their child. Perhaps it is not the same level of importance, but her point is that abortion is just another choice that a mother makes for her child. No woman makes the choice to have an abortion easily.

Roe v. Wade
This is the Supreme Court decision that overturned a Texas abortion law. It made abortion legal in the United States. This decision said that a woman, with her doctor, could choose to have an abortion in the earlier months of her pregnancy without restriction, and with restrictions late on in the pregnancy, based on the right to privacy. All state laws limiting women’s access to abortions during the first trimester were invalidated by this decision.
The name Roe was actually an alias for Norman McCorvey who said that the abortion law in Texas violated her constitutional rights (and all women’s rights). The case went through all the courts in Texas, before making its way to the United States Supreme Court. The case was decided primarily on the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment says that there are certain rights that the government cannot control. This amendment is very ambiguous, and therefore hard to enforce or to say where it should be applied.
Despite that this decision was made in 1973 it is still contested in 2011. There is a national debate on the subject of abortions: when they should be allowed, who gets to make the decision, who pays for it, and how far into the pregnancy can the fetus be aborted.

Anonymous: “How it all…”
This article is written by a German woman arguing for the right to have an abortion. She talks about how abortions have always occurred. Something being illegal does not mean that it does not happen. (This is really similar to prostitution-it has never been legal in the U.S. and yet it has never not occurred.) It is sad to think how women had and have “back alley” abortions. They are very dangerous, and many women died. Despite the dangers, many women still had (have) the abortions. The consequences of a pregnancy were (are) worst than the risks they took to abort the fetus.
For these German women, the right to have an abortion was a very important moment for the women’s movement. It brought women together, and united them in a way that they had never been before. The author writes how she never knew how many other women had abortions, until they came together and fought for their rights.