Abortion: Right to Choose? Abortion has been called the "most divisive bio-ethical issue of our time" (Levine 22). The segregation lines on this issue are clearly drawn. Those who oppose abortion refer to themselves as "pro-life" and view abortion as the wholesale slaughter of innocent life (Levine 22). Those who favor the right to an abortion, the "pro-choice" people, consider abortion an option that should be available to women, believing that all women have the right to control their reproductive lives. My opinion will surely bleed through as usual, but since abortion is such a contentious and complicated issue I will try to address many of the main issues surrounding its rightful, yet controversial place in society. I researched a book a few years back for another class Psychologist Sydney Callahan wrote in the early 1990’s called ―taking sides‖ as he represented the "pro-life" position. Callahan begins his rebuttal by taking each of the main pro-choice arguments and stating them concisely and clearly, which reveals his complete comprehension of this line of reasoning. He then takes each argument, in turn, and offers the pro-life position. First of all, he addresses the moral right to control one's own body. According to Callahan (an advocate for pro-life), while this right applies to such things as organ donation, contraception or sterilization, he feels that it is conceptually a misfit when applied to abortion. "One's own body no longer exists as a single unit but is engendering another organism's life" (Callahan 32). He argues that from the moment of conception, there is no clear point at which the immature form of the human life is dramatically different from one day to the next, indicating a point where it transitions from being a non-person (32). (Therefore conception MUST be the point in which an organism becomes an organism—there is simply no way around that aside from misguided thinking) (It is only after CONCEPTION that there are the three stages of human gestation in which the law attempts to prevent those abortions after the first stage—when the baby actually begins to lose embryonic form and become more human-like I once heard someone say….If it isn't a baby, then you aren't pregnant, so what are you aborting? Callahan goes on to address all of the points typically raised by pro-choice theorists. He argues that the feminist pro-choice position, which claims that the value of the fetus is contingent on the pregnant woman's bestowal of conscious "construction," is seriously flawed (35). He states that these conclusions flow from a mistaken premise "that human value and rights can be granted by individual will" (35). In this section, Callahan appears to take issue with the entire concept of "compulsory pregnancy" stating that this is equivalent to saying that life is "compulsory aging" (35). Although he is an avid supporter of pro-life, Callahan appears to agree that in many ways that society has let women down in so far as supporting them in raising the next generation. He states that society, in general, and men, in particular, "have to provide women more support in rearing the next generation, or our devastating feminization of poverty will continue" (36). He then quickly goes on to say that by having pro-choice as public policy, it undermines the whole concept of shared responsibility. "Why should men share responsibility for child support or child rearing if they cannot share in what is asserted to be the woman's sole decision?" (36). Callahan’s opinion I strongly agree with but he is in error when he completely dismisses the concept of compulsory pregnancy. Rape does exist, and it does result in pregnancy. The term "compulsory" appears to apply in this case, in particular. Also, while Callahan is correct that pregnancy is a continuum of growth, he is in error when saying that there is no point where one can draw a demarcation line as there are three distinct stages to human gestation, a fact that is already recognized by law. This is why, as stated earlier—abortion laws governing pregnancy termination are, in most states, stricter after the first stage. While it is true that every fertilized egg carries a unique genetic code, signifying a distinct individual, it is also true that every egg and every sperm also carry a unique genetic signature as they each have a representative number of their host's genes. Egg and sperm are potential people, just as a fertilized egg is a potential person. But the key with this, prominently discussed argument, is an egg without sperm is useless. A sperm without egg is useless. It is hard to follow along with a pro-choice activist who seems to find a egg by itself equal to one that is already fertilized or vice versa with sperm. They are hardly the same. In a perfect world, all children would be wanted, and all mothers would be in a position to provide for them. Callahan’s argument supports the fact that women are often not in a position to handle the burden of child-raising because of almost non-existent societal support. In previous eras, prior to legal abortion, women who are overburdened with the children they already had were known to throw themselves down staircases or worse to end an unwanted pregnancy. These are acts of desperation. Also, how does society addresses pregnancies resulting from rape or incest? This is where we must do a better job with our adoption programs and make sure those with decent morals are able to keep from killing a human—notice I say human because that’s what it is—just as you once were. Every human life is equally important so killing a baby human is the same as killing an adult human and you must see that no matter how bias you can be towards murderous mothers. In addition, as stated, pregnancy does result in another human life. The laws will not change—as they really shouldn’t. People that don’t feel the same way as me will still find ways to kill their child to prevent themselves from having to be responsible and own up to their actions. Therefore would not say that I am happy with the laws, but they need to be there. I heard someone once say ―against abortion?..dont have one‖. –so I won’t and I won’t waste my breath convincing pro-choice people against it. Everyone is different. People will always have different opinions which is why the law on this subject is rather flexible (cough cough liberal). It is just rather sad that now our such open-mindedness has forced itself onto our morals and turned what once was a bold black and white area into a grey form of ambiguous mist. Whoops sorry if I offended anyone—(Ive heard the truth nowadays can be very offending.) Anyway, It at least seems appropriate that every woman should take her procreative responsibility very seriously. Three months seems an adequate amount of time in which to decide on a course of action. Unfortunately, these usually have to do with the condition of the fetus. Our society has come to expect miracles from the health care system. There is the inherent assumption that all pregnancies, if given adequate care, will result in a healthy baby. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. There are instances where the baby's brain fails to develop, where the internal organs develop on the outside of the body, etc. In such instances, the law generally leaves the question of abortion to the mother and her doctor). So in conclusion, abortion at its bare minimum is indeed murder (the act of taking a human life or a cell that has a 100% chance of becoming a human organism aside from typical miscarriages); those that completely support a law giving (whether mother or not) one the license to take a human life seems highly preposterous. So in order to appease those that feel their particual emotional situation dignifies murder, the laws are there in order to give the mother the choice to do so or not. These laws are also necessary in order to keep women with ambiguous morals and those not happy with our adoption system happy. Rape, incest, child defected, or simply not wanted children do not harm society in life so why not give them a chance? Just because a child starts out in life with a "bad start (foster home),etc." doesn't mean that they should not be given the chance to breathe/live. Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and many more are good examples of kids no one might have given a chance at birth (because of their defects) and they proved everyone wrong. (This is not really even the point but since some tend to think life is only important if it impacts the world tremendously hypothetically speaking—Whose to say that the last aborted child yesterday would not have cured cancer during adulthood, unfortunately, we will never know. However, Since there are so many variations on what can go wrong, it would be extremely difficult to devise legislation that adequately addresses all circumstances. Therefore, it remains logical to leave this question up to the individuals involved. Therefore, I support the pro-choice position, but believe that late pregnancy abortions should be severely restricted and judged according to a medical criteria. Works Cited Callahan, Sydney. "Abortion and the sexual agenda: a case for prolife feminism," in Taking Sides: Clashing views on controversial bioethical issues (Edited by Carol Levine)(Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing, 1993). Harrison, Beverly W. "The wider moral framework for the act of abortion," in Taking Sides: Clashing views on controversial bioethical issues (Edited by Carol Levine)(Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing, 1993). Levine, Carol (editor) Taking Sides: Clashing views on controversial bioethical issues (Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing, 1993).