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Abortion: Sexual Freedom Or Murder

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Abortion: Sexual Freedom or Murder

Abortion is a topic that brings up very distinct feelings in us all. Some of these feelings come from personal experience, while others come from social influences. A lot of people see abortion as a simple decision of for and against. As if the issue was only in black and white, but when it comes to a topic like abortion it's mostly gray. With the intelligent writings of Ellen Willis, Randall Terry, Justice Harry Blackmun, and Justice William Rehnquist, we can hope to gain a better understanding of the many different sides and views one can take on this topic.

Ellen Willis is a freelance liberalist writer who believes that abortion is a moral debate in every sense of the word. However, she preaches that we, as a society, are focusing too much on the fetus and are overlooking the obvious and most essential concern - the woman. Willis states that the "public concern over abortion centers almost exclusively on fetuses; women and their bodies are merely the stage on which the drama of fetal life and death takes place" (464). She never doubts the fact that the fetus is alive or that it is human but thinks a pregnant woman's health and well being come first. Ellen Willis thinks the key question to the abortion debate should be: "Can it be moral, under any circumstances, to make a woman bear a child against her will" (466). The thought of an unwanted pregnancy appalls Willis because last year she gave birth to a relatively easy and much desired baby. She describes her experience as painful, exhausting, but wonderful. Wonderful being the key word because to a mother who is stuck having an unwanted child the entire ordeal is dreadful. Willis thinks that "criminalizing abortion doesn't just harm individual women with unwanted pregnancies; it affects all women's sense of themselves" (466). Also, she argues because of their sexual beings, women are constantly vulnerable, their lives are disrupted, and their physical integrity can be violated at any time. Without control of their own fertility, women can never be free.

Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in the court case "Roe vs. Wade", agrees with Ellen Willis. He says that a woman's right to privacy overrides the fetus' right to life. He proposed that a woman could arrange to terminate her pregnancy if and only if it was under the direction of a licensed physician. He also proposed dividing a woman's pregnancy into three equal trimesters. During the first trimester, a woman could get an abortion for any reason with the approval of the pregnant woman's physician. Throughout the second and third trimester, a woman cannot receive approval for an abortion unless her health is at stake. This proposal will allow abortion to be legal but will also maintain regulation on how many abortions are performed and at what time.

On the other side of the scale, Randall Terry has been involved in the antiabortion movement for more than a decade. He views the fetus as a person, therefore, when a mother aborts the fetus, she commits murder. Terry states that the Abortion Law possesses the seeds that sow and reap into violence because "a society cannot expect to tear 35 million innocent babies from their mother's wombs without reaping horrifying consequences" (472). The police have persecuted antiabortionists for the violence towards abortion clinics, when in fact Randall Terry believes it is the fault of the entire pro-choice movement. The pro-choice movement has cried for harsh treatment against the peaceful antiabortion activists and after they received it. Terry states that they now "have to deal with an emerging violent fringe" (472). He also promises that antiabortionists will not be happy until they have made abortion illegal and that they will not allow the "enemies of the babies" (471) cause them to cower in silence. He leaves his



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