The dispute on abortion has become one of the most heated debates in today's society. It is a subject that can instigate incredibly strong emotions on either side of the argument. Since the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, which legalized abortions in the United States, women have had the individual right as people to decide the fate of their own bodies. This right can not be negotiated. People are not merely a means to an end, but ends themselves.
A woman treated as an incubator of a fetus by the law is simply a means to an end, therefore disregarded as a person. There are many misconceptions about abortion. These misconceptions can potentially lead to the loss of women's individual and necessary rights to choose for themselves whether or not they want to bear a child. Most of these common misconceptions can not only be easily identified, but also utterly refuted. One of these common misconceptions is that human life begins at conception. This conclusion simply does not follow.
As affirmed by Thomson in her article A Defense of Abortion: "Similar things may be said about the development of an acorn into an oak tree, and it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that we had better say they are" (356). There is no scientific consensus as to when human life begins. It is much more a matter of philosophic opinion or religious belief. Human life is a continuum; sperm and eggs are also alive, and represent potential human beings, but virtually all sperm and eggs are wasted. In addition, two-thirds of human conceptions are spontaneously aborted by nature. Another extremely disputable Pro-Life argument is that a fetus should have rights under the law.
If fetal rights were enshrined in law, women's bodies, rights, and health would be subordinated to the protection of embryos. The legal consequences of such a law would be simply catastrophic. The best way to protec the fetus is to promote the health and well being of women. Moreover, the right of the unborn to live can never supersede a woman to control her own body. As said by Margret Sanger: "No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body".
More than anything else, bearing a child totally alters a woman's life. Other women's rights are in-effect hollow if women are forced to be mothers. Being born is a gift, not a right. People do not ask to be born, and in some cases even wish that they weren't. Another common misconception is that making contraceptives and abortion readily available will ultimately encourage teenagers to have sex. In society today, teen sex has many complex societal causes including sexually oriented TV shows, movies, and ads.
Studies have shown that where birth control, abortion, and comprehensive sex education programs are offered, such as in the Netherlands, teenagers have less sex, not more, and abortion rates decrease. Furthermore, abstinence-based sex education programs in schools don't's top many teenagers from having sex, instead, they the likelihood of unsafe sex. Reality dictates that birth control and abortion must be available to help prevent teens from becoming parents. In addition, it is also true that many of the same people who oppose legal abortion are often to opposition the availability of contraceptives as well. This position is both hypocritical and irresponsible. If anti-abortionists used their well-funded organizing power to help promote contraception and sex education instead of fighting women's individual rights to legal abortions in the United States, they would likely be able to cut the teen abortion rate in half within just a few years.
Misconceptions about Abortion have disillusioned many people on the topic. It is absolutely necessary that the individual right of women to decide what is right for themselves and their bodies. If these common misconceptions about abortion aren't dealt with and refuted women may ultimately loose one of the most important right they will ever have; the right to choose.