The abortion debate is complicated enough, yet this political science paper throws a wrench into the works. The matter of late-term abortions is more controversial than regular abortions and for good reasons. This paper attempts to explain how and why the legality of late term abortions can be implemented.
Late-term abortion debates: An example of community-building through critical reasoning
An example of a community-building experience that united women, as well as law-abiding citizens, was the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruled a woman has a right to an abortion until a fetus is viable. If a fetus is viable, it can survive outside of the womb. However, our current debate regarding late term abortions centers on the fetus’s ability to feel pain, so it threatens to destroy our united community. Opponents of late term abortion intend to make them illegal regardless of women’s medical necessities.
In fact, in 2010, Nebraska’s state law decreed that women, regardless of health issues, would not have the right to an abortion after 20 weeks. By 2013, 12 other states followed Nebraska’s lead and restricted abortions after 20 weeks. Unfortunately, the debate continues to explode over the undocumented or overly emotional evidence. While newspaper reporters have an obligation to remain objective, the careful reader bases his or her opinion regarding abortion with critical reasoning. Nonetheless, in order to ensure we use critical reasoning in establishing the legality of late term abortion, we must avoid non-credible sources, such as biased YouTube videos or websites, and base our reasoning in well documented scientific studies or objective evidence.
According to the newsletter “It’s Easy to be Pro-life When Critical Thinking is Applied to the Abortion Issue,” we naturally divide ourselves into pro-choice and pro-life. However, the author declares:
“the natural intellectual conclusion is the pro-life perspective” (“It’s Easy to be Prolife”).
The author’s use of “intellectual” isolates the reader. At the same time, one must consider its audience. Because the site devotes itself to the pro-life agenda, most seeking information about abortion would not likely read it. Therefore, the newsletter exploits the basic human need to feel intelligent. From a social perspective, this divides our community into not only pro-life and pro-choice, but it also divides us into intelligent and ignorant. In addition, its misuse of words such as “science proves human life begins at fertilization, [so] abortion…is clearly a violation of basic human rights” (“It’s Easy to Be Profile”) is unsupported evidence.
In the case of eliminating late-term abortion or abortion in the first trimester, we violate a woman’s rights. It is not merely because it is her body to do as she wishes. Our original law based on Roe v. Wade allowed the means for safe and legal abortions. To deny others that right is unjust and unconstitutional. United States citizens pride themselves on their constitutional rights, so to dismiss those rights would divide our community. However, it is difficult to reach a consensus regarding abortion rights because it’s an emotional issue. Whenever our emotions are involved, we may find it difficult to use logic. Incidentally, emotions may cause physical responses, and our ability to feel sensations such as sadness, anger, or pain is the heart of the late-term abortion debate.
Fetal pain laws
Nebraska’s “fetal pain” law determines that a fetus feels pain, so abortions are cruel procedures that essentially amount to torture until death. Rick Ruggles suggests in his article “When Can a Fetus Feel Pain?” that this determination is usually
“like many scientific endeavors [because] It involves speculation and disagreement” (Ohama.com).
On the other hand, according to the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a fetus’s brain is not developed until after 24 weeks; therefore, their evidence suggests that a fetus is unable to feel pain. True to Ruggle’s observation, Jean Monahan, Director for the Center of Human Dignity, argues “how one defines ‘feeling pain” is subjective (Abortion Debates). Furthermore, Monahan claims that United Kingdom’s finding is false. She bases her argument on Swedish neurologist Bjorn Merker “who has done extensive research on children born without fully developed cortexes” (Abortion Debates). Merker suggests that a cortex may not be necessarily what allows one to feel pain. However, it is merely a suggestion and Monahan does not clarify the doctor’s findings in her brief article. Instead, she throws a red herring into her debate. Monahan emphasizes that “abortion proponents are uncomfortable with the concept of fetal pain” (Abortion Debates). On the contrary, the notion of pain is a side topic, and it has no bearing on whether or not other states should add more restrictions to abortion regulations.
Facts are more important than rumor
On the other hand, Vicki Saporta, President of the National Abortion Federation, argues women need facts and not hearsay regarding late term abortions. Saporta asserts
“those who argue that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks do so contrary to credible scientific evidence” (Abortion Debates).
In particular, Saporta uses the United Kingdom’s findings as the basis of her thinking, and she offers examples from the initial report. For example, according to the study, “Current research shows that the sensory structures are not developed or specialized enough to experience pain in a fetus less than 24 weeks” (Abortion Debates). While she offers evidence for the reader, Saporta seems to also ignore the main issue. The main issue is not if a fetus may feel pain. Debating whether or not a fetus feels pain takes the focus away from the state, and the future, of our current abortion policies. Coupled with misguided article focuses, some rely on the Internet as their main source of information and base their decisions on video advertisements and further risk their critical reasoning.
Examples of abortion arguments
Benderas takes the higher road
Ana Benderas’s YouTube advertisement states “Answering Those Who Are Only “Personally Pro-Life” – Quick Thought” uses personal attacks and “us versus them” logic. For example, Benderas suggests when people claim they do not care for abortion yet believe it should be legal, their common defense is “Because it kills an innocent human life;” therefore, the proper rhetorical device is to turn the question around and declare that they believe killing an innocent human being should continue to be legal. Benderas emphasizes that it is not a “play on words,” but a sound argument; however, she personally attacks people who believe abortion be legal. In fact, she uses a loaded question as a means to offer her view. In this way, she attacks the person’s argument, but she does not bring up the argument itself.
The argument is not why an individual believes abortion should be legal. In addition, Benderas uses “us versus them” logic. For example, she proclaims during the abolishment, slave owners would not say that they believe slavery should be legal, but it was not wrong because people would do it anyway. Comparing abortion to slavery uses “us versus them” logic because she tries to isolate the prochoice advocates and suggests that even slave owners would agree with abortion rights. Ironically, slaves did not have a choice when it came to their lives. Nevertheless, while Benderas’s argument was ineffective, pro-choice advocates also rely on fallacies to demonstrate their case.
Coulter’s argument for pro-choice
For example, in his YouTube video “Abortion: Why Should You be Pro-Choice,” student Wake Coulter provides his audience with scientific background, but he convolutes his visual argument with appeals to emotion. Likewise, Coulter uses scientific evidence to distinguish between a baby and a fetus. Initially, he attempts to lighten his view with cartoonish figures; however, he gains credibility because he also includes an actual picture of an aborted fetus.
On the other hand, the latter portion of his video uses appeals to emotion. Unfortunately, he uses young women who give their personal accounts as to why they are choosing abortion. They attempt to reason that a child would disrupt their lives and they would be unable to finish their education if they completed their pregnancies. They did not use reasons such as health issues. Instead, the women sounded selfish, which in turn leads others to believe their arguments have no value. However, YouTube video makers do not necessarily corrupt our community with their allegations. It is quite simple to not watch a video. On the other hand, when it comes to our political leaders, one must exercise his or her critical thinking skills.
Gingrich’s approach to pro-life
As he vied for a place in the 2012 presidential election, Republican Newt Gingrich planned an attack against fellow GOP Mitt Romney regarding abortion regulations. Gingrich insinuated that Romney wanted to include abortion procedures in Massachusetts’ universal insurance policy. In essence, Gingrich argued that taxpayers would be responsible for their funding. In contrast, Romney asserted that, while he did not condone abortion, it was addressed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court; therefore, he did not have the authority, or the desire, to go against government policy (Ertelt). Specifically, Romney addressed our government. Subsequently, he brought attention back to the issue. The issue was not taxpayers paying for abortions. Instead, the issue has, and will continue to be, government regulation regarding abortion. While Romney did not win the election, perhaps his adherence to our constitutional laws provided him with credibility. Moreover, it is our government’s credibility that affords them authority.
Rational thinking creates smoother abortion debate
If we continue to look past the real issues, we risk a dysfunctional community. However, in order to maintain a healthy community, we must rely on reliable evidence. In some cases, reporters have negative reputations, but articles such as Monica Davey’s “Nebraska, Citing Pain, Sets Limits on Abortion and Sarah Kliff’s “The Landscape of Abortion Bans, in One Must-see Map” offer readers brief outlines of abortion’s future in government with direct quotes and unemotional writing.
Dependence on emotional propaganda in YouTube or pro-life websites risks our ability to think logically. The current abortion debate is not over, so in order to make the best possible decisions regarding our community as a whole, we need to consider multiple perspectives. While we are free to have our opinions, we do not necessarily have to force others to accept them as their own. Essentially, we must consider the long run. Rational thinking and looking for a compromise within the abortion debate will allow us to consider our future laws regarding abortion rights and allow us to remove the emotional aspects which only lead to irrational thinking and dysfunctional communities. If you need help with writing your essay, consider working with a professional writer and get a sample written.
Benderas, Ana. “Answering Those Who Are Only “Personally Pro-Life” – Quick Thought.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 01 May 2013. .
Coulter, Wake. “Abortion: Why Should You Be Pro-Choice?” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Dec. 2011. Web. 03 May 2013. .
Davey, Monica. “Nebraska, Citing Pain, Sets Limits On Abortion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2010. Web. 01 May 2013. .
Ertelt, Steven. “LifeNews.com.” LifeNews.com. LifeNews.com, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. .
“It’s Easy to Be Pro-Life.” Right to Life of Michigan. Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.
Kliff, Sarah. “The Landscape of Abortion Bans, in One Must-see Map.” The Washington Post 28 Mar. 2013: n. pag. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. .
Ruggles, Rick. “When Can Fetus Feel Pain? – Omaha.com.” Omaha.com. The Omaha World Herald, 14 Feb. 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.