Should abortion be illegal?

Those who argue for the illegality of abortion do not take into account the myriad of variables associated with the decision. The issue is by no means black and white and the variables range from the definition of life to the constitutionality of making such a procedure illegal. The most important aspect of competently analyzing the issue is to leave religion out of it. Religion’s role in the abortion debate has been a distracting and unnecessary diversion from the bedrock of the issue, which is coming to a consensus on whether or not making it illegal would cause consequences for personal liberty, and whether or not American society can afford it.

Many who argue for making abortion illegal come into the debate with the mantra “life begins at conception.” From a biological perspective, this is true. This biological truth then motivates many who come from a religious perspective to say that this grants the unborn the same rights that other persons are guaranteed by the Constitution. “Personhood,” as currently defined by the Constitution, affords “persons” their rights at birth, not before, and those who wish to change the law will have to make a constitutional amendment that redefines “personhood.” Sticking to the Constitution is important, because in not doing so confusion in law can arise, such as the southern states redefining “personhood” to exclude blacks to maintain slavery. A more rational approach is to take the side of a legal individual as described by the Constitution, which in this case would be the mother.

Ascribing rights to the unborn takes rights away from the living. Abortion should not be made illegal based on the biological truth that life (in biological terms) begins at conception. It is a matter of personal liberty to those already born, and under the umbrella of the Constitution. Roe v. Wade may not have framed the pro-choice standpoint perfectly, and there are flaws in the arguments, but the alternative is relinquishing rights already presented to the mothers in favor of the unborn. 

Of course, all the talk about legality leaves out far more important aspects of this debate. Even if the definition of “personhood,” were to be completely agreed upon as beginning at conception, how does the state pay for unwanted children and how does it enforce the law?

Most rational people contend that being pro-choice, or holding the libertarian point of view are the most rational approaches to the issue, and if you have a problem with abortion, don’t have one. The truth is, federal and state governments cannot care for children adequately as it stands currently and trying to enforce this law would be a logistical nightmare. Not to mention that, much like drugs, people, when abortion becomes illegal, would turn to other sources to get them. As we know from the past, these sources were not reliable, and resulted in more harm than good. When abortion is made illegal, what other personal choices can be taken away? It seems to be just another stab at women from fervent religious groups. The right to have an abortion is just as important as the right to not have one.

If you have a deep-seated hatred for abortion, you have the truly American privilege of not having one.