Metaphysics professor at Harvard University Judith Jarvis Thompson wrote "A Defense of Abortion," which appeared in the Journal of Philosophy and Public Affairs (1971). She argued that a woman's inalienable right to life, privacy and security includes the right to terminate a pregnancy she considers a threat to her sense of well-being. Thompson compares the condition of an unwanted pregnancy with getting hooked to a dying "violinist" and concludes that getting rid of either connection for one's well-being is a fundamental right and an act of self-defense (Thompson).
In response to the above objections, the majority of the citizens believe that the right to decide on terminating one's pregnancy belongs to the woman or the mother, rather than the state. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling in the Roe v Wade case was arrived at during the time of the Vietnam War, former President Richard Nixon's second term and fall from power, a steep increase in family disunity and disruptions (Glendon 2003). It was a rare event in the history of populations that in barely 15 years after Roe v Wade, birth and marriage rates decreased and divorce and outside-marriage births went up swiftly. The period during which the decision was made was characterized by massive social experiment and the people involved were unprepared for that experiment. Thereon, Americans who support the Roe v Wade decision declined from 57% in 1998 to 52% the following year, according to an online Harris poll survey. Those who opposed the Supreme Court decision went up from 41-47%, the highest in two decades (Hollander 2005). The majority of those adults surveyed at 51% said that they were 58% pro-choice and 35% were pro-life. From this total, 23% favored abortion in all circumstances; 55% believed it should be allowed in certain situations; and 23% felt it should be banned altogether. Little change occurred in the proportion through the years. Between 1992 and 2005, those who favored restricting abortion increased from 34 to 42% as against those who favored easing restrictions from 18 to 13%. Today, as it was in 1998, three in five Americans think abortion should be legal during the first trimester and fewer would approve it in the second trimester and fewer still in the last trimester. This shows that despite the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973, majority of Americans feel that abortion is not morally permissible and should not be legalized during the first three months of pregnancy.
The same or a similar sentiment must have prevailed over the Modesto, California court of law, which sentenced Scott Petterson for the double murder of his wife, Laci, and of their unborn son, 8 months old on December 13, 2004 (Courttv.com 2005). The Court recognized that a fetus over seven weeks can be a murder victim and, thus, impliedly recognized its separate "personhood" from its mother.
In response to the opinion of Professor Judith Jarvis Thompson in her defense of abortion, the right to life is stronger than the right to decide as nature itself makes evident by establishing that an unborn child must remain in its mother's body for nine months before it can have a life of its own outside the mother's body. There appears to be no excuses for terminating a pregnancy as nature intends. Blood relationships are not based on choices yet exact moral obligations (Courttv.com 2005). This is why courts punish negligent parents and oblige them to support even unwanted children or unplanned pregnancies. A mother's rights and liberty must be tempered by morality if she must live in a civilized society.
Federal Judge John T. Noonan, Jr., a Milo Reese Robbins Professor of Law, Emeritus, at the University of California at Berkeley (1998) wrote that the grant of increased authority to the 50 States limited congressional power and individual rights, as in the right to choose to not to continue pregnancy. He noted that the moral teaching of the Catholic Church may have changed or may continue to change, but it will not abandon the foundational commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The 1776 Declaration of Independence stated that all men are created equal and possessed inalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, upon which the governments are founded. The 1973 Supreme Court in Roe v Wade, however, ruled that the Declaration or the U.S. Constitution does not include the unborn child in its definition of "person" and that an unwanted pregnancy constitutes an assault on the inherent right of the mother to privacy, thus overruling all previous anti-abortion laws and turning over to every woman or mother the fundamental decision to choose to continue or not to continue a pregnancy. The same SC ruling said that anti-abortion sentiments merely grew out of Victorian censorship of illicit sexual conduct. Nonetheless, through the recent decades, the majority of Americans favor the use of abortion as a birth control method only within the first three months of gestation. Other court decisions, such as on the double-murder indictment of Scott Peterson of his wife and unborn child, recognize the personhood and rights of such unborn child.
Generally and fundamentally, abortion is morally condemnable. Nature intends human life should develop in the womb until it is turned out into the outside world with its own existence and personhood. But nature commits mistakes. The mother has inherent and inalienable rights to security and privacy, guaranteed by the Constitution. An unwanted pregnancy presents as an assault or an inconvenience to the mother, but in balancing both rights, the unborn child's right to be born outweighs the mother's, except in extreme situations, such as rape, incest, metal or physical deformity and maternal health, and with the advice or concurrence of qualified physicians. The exceptional grant of abortion should also be stringently regulated. #
1. Callahan, Sidney. Twenty-Five Years After "Roe" -- Abortion Arguments. Commonweal: Commonweal Foundation, January 30, 1998. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_n2_v125/ai_20520543
2. Doerr, Ed. Roe v Wade at Thirty -- Church and State. Humanist: American Humanist Association, March-April 2003. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1374/is_263/ai_98469800
3. Glendon, Mary Ann. The Women of Roe v Wade. Human Life Review: Human Life Foundation, Inc., 2003. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3789/is_200307/ai_n9282014
4. Hollander, Dore. Abortion Support Slipping. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, June 2005. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_mONNR/is_2_37/ai_n14791507
5. Independence Hall Association. The Declaration of…