Your Body, Your Choice

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Pro-choice is the freedom of choice a woman has, to choose whether to give birth or abort her child.  Abortion has been a controversial topic for many years.  The Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States in 1973.  The court decided that the fetus, as it cannot live without the support of the mother in the first trimester, has no constitutional rights.  Pro-choice refers to the political and ethical view, that a woman should have complete right over her fertility, along with the freedom to decide whether she wants to continue or terminate her pregnancy.

Although controversial,  as a woman we may take for granted our freedom of choice we have living in the United States unlike many other countries.  Pregnancy is a leading cause of death for many women in poorer countries.  Latin America is known as one of the worst places in the world for a woman wishing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and their law makes this situation even worse.  According to New York’s Center for Reproductive Rights, countries like Chile, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua have blanket bans on abortion.  One country that I found of great interest was Peru.  Peru recently accepted recommendations from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council that it guarantee the right, established in law but in practice frequently flouted, to allow abortions for women pregnant from rape, but what was is it still like?  In Peru, abortion is legal only if it is performed in order to save a woman’s life or health.  This is a life or death decision that only goes as far as ten percent in women.  This law means that it was legal for doctors to refuse abortions, even for young girls who have been raped.  Researchers estimate that 35,000 pregnancies occur every year in Peru as a result of rape.  This leaves women and girls with either seeking an illegal abortion and facing legal action or suffer with psychological effects of given birth to their rapist’s child.   It is believed that hundreds of the country’s women die each year as a result of the government refusing to legalize abortions.  Tragically, illegal abortions are the third most common indirect cause of death for pregnant women.

A story that I found very interesting was an article titled, “A 13-year-old’s life destroyed”.  It was about a teenager from Peru who was the target of frequent sexual assaults and became pregnant at the age of thirteen.  Confused and desperate, she jumped from the rooftop of a building in the hopes of ending her life.  Hours later she was rescued and taken to the hospital, where she was found to be in danger of total paralysis if she did not undergo an emergency operation on her spine.  In the United States the circumstances would have been different, but since she was pregnant surgeons refused to perform the procedure, claiming that it would endanger the fetus and therefore be illegal.  This surgery was a thirteen year old’s only hope of ever walking again.

After researching some of the world’s views on abortion I ask is abortion immoral period, even if you are an innocent victim of rape? Or is it only acceptable if you are a victim of rape? When is it a personal decision and not a legal debate? Your body, your choice.

“They can say that persons have a right to life only if they didn’t come into existence because of rape; or they can say that all persons have a right to life, but that some have less of a right to life than others, in particular, that those who came into existence because rape have less.  But these statements have a rather unpleasant sound.  Surely the question of whether you have a right to life at all, or how much of it you have, shouldn’t turn on the question of whether or not you are the product of rape” (Thomson, 415).

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