Pro-Choice: The Abortion Issue --


However, few would extend personhood to a fetus to such an extent -- moreover, just because something is alive does not mean that it is or should be entitled to the full range of rights as a human being. After all, trees, animals, and even yeast is technically 'alive,' however none of these things are considered persons in the sense that they fulfill the sentient capacity of life deemed to be significant enough to override a fully fledged human being's right to life, or in this case, the woman's right to decide to dispose of her body as she chooses.

Lastly, it has also been argued that abortion should be prohibited because without the body of the mother, the fetus cannot survive outside of the womb. Advances in medical technology to extend the viability of premature babies have only fueled this debate, as younger and younger babies survive after premature laborers of their (willing) mothers. Advocates argue that society has a responsibility to protect the health and the existences of its smallest viable members, for as long as possible. But again, to take this argument to its most logical extent -- merely because my body can sustain, for instance, the jeopardized life of another, if I grant him or her part of my kidney, does that mean that the state has the right to compel me to give of my physical self, to give an ailing individual one of my viable organs, even if it may prolong the life of another human being who is ill? Of course, it is commendable of me if I give my physical self and risk my medical life for the sake of another human being, as a woman does during pregnancy and labor. But even if one grants that a fetus is a human being, should the state have the right to compel a woman to use her body to sustain fetal life against the woman's will? Even if the fetus is the result of a voluntary act or an involuntary act, to condemn an innocent woman to a physical risk, simply because she is a female rather than a male who has engaged in an accidentally procreative risk of sexual congress, is to compel a woman to risk her life against her will. It is also an act of sexual discrimination, because the male in question does not have to risk his life, his physical health, his social status, or his standing in the community. He can tell no one, and suffers none of the same punishment as the female, except perhaps the financial task of providing for the child, should the woman decide to keep the baby she gives birth to at the end of her term? If she does not, the father has no such concerns for the infant put up for adoption, and even if she does decide to keep the baby, the financial drain upon the father is hardly comparable to that of the physical toll upon the woman's self and soul and sense of sexual well-being.

An unwanted pregnancy is a difficult thing, and its difficulties should not be minimized for the woman or mother-to-be in question. Making a choice for an abortion is also a difficult thing, and the toll this has upon a woman's philosophical and psychological self should not be minimized, as anti-abortion activists are often won't to do. This difficult choice cannot be made by the state. It can be made by no one else except the individual who is fully cognizant of all the implications of the decision, and that is the woman herself.