In class, we were given different cases under the umbrella of abortion, some more familiar than others. I found Mr. Doggett’s presentation about Roe vs. Wade, and specifically his talk about Skinner vs. Oklahoma, very interesting, given the core principles we as a country claim to hold dear. It was weird for me to think that the US government, given how much emphasis we put on personal freedom, and one’s inalienable rights, would feel that they have the right to determine whether one can bear children. Examining different amendments in the Constitution made me realize how vague it can be at points. The 14th Amendment states that the state cannot deprive people to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, however, both sides can technically use this phrase to their advantage. The pro-life side could argue for the liberty aspect of that amendment and and the opposition would argue for the right of life for every human, including the fetus.
An issue in all of this is when we actually classify the fetus as living child. Determining this does create major conflict when arguing whether abortion should even be legalized, or determining restrictions on how far along the mother must be in order to receive the procedure. There is a reason we have been debating issues like abortion for so long, and it is partly due to the fact that we, as citizens of the United States, interpret the Constitution differently and individually have different values. In the reading it stated, “Nine states have enacted laws that prohibit abortions at 20 weeks or even earlier. These laws are based in part on a theory that a fetus, from 20 weeks onward, can experience pain from an abortion procedure.” After reading the homework, I questioned why the states felt that they could precisely determine and generalize when every fetus experienced pain, given the different circumstances and conditions with every pregnancy. It also begs the question still of when do we consider the fetus a human.
The second article was difficult to process because these issues are extremely relevant in our country today. Mike Pence has broken the tie to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood, and it should worry everyone. As we said in class, Planned Parenthood does much more than just perform abortions, and it won’t just be pregnant women suffering if states decide to defund the organization. This has always been a hard topic for me because I was raised Catholic and told that it was murder and a sin to have an abortion. While I don’t necessarily believe in abortion for myself, I feel strongly that it is not my right, or the right of the government, to dictate what another woman does with her body. I am glad to see that states are coming out and supporting an organization that has helped so many women, men, and families.