Opinion: Abortion rights and the pursuit of happiness



Sarahbeth Caplin

Sarahbeth Caplin

Sarahbeth Caplin is a senior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

On the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion, President Barack Obama stated, “The government should not intrude on private family matters… On this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.” What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that one’s right to the pursuit of happiness must have its limits. Pursuing happiness shouldn’t include the violent removal and disposal of a fetus like trash.

According to Obama, the government has no right to intrude on what he considers to be “private family matters,” yet somehow it’s perfectly fine for the government to take responsibility for educating our children about sex, instead of leaving that task to the parents. Furthermore, his use of the expression “fulfill their dreams” in that context sends chills down my spine. Obama is essentially saying that it’s acceptable to kill innocent children rather than take personal responsibility for the life that one “oops” can create.

For a man who has daughters himself, it’s downright disturbing that he would use the expression “fulfill their dreams” as an inspirational catchphrase in a speech about keeping abortion legal. Babies are not a handicap or a punishment, yet Obama makes them out to be the worst thing that can ever happen to a teenage girl. Why not encourage young girls to “fulfill their dreams” by exposing the lie that saying no to sex will make them prudes? Why not promote “fulfilling their dreams” by teaching them to stand up against peer pressure to have sex? Why must they “fulfill their dreams” by exercising the so-called right to dispose of their children simply because they are inconvenient?

The government needs to make up its mind on what “private matters” actually means. There used to be a time when sex was considered a private, personal matter that was no one’s business except the people who chose to have it. Now it’s simply a given that “everyone is doing it.” It doesn’t make any sense to organize programs that impose societal norms about sex, but then insist that abortion is a “private matter.”

The pursuit of one’s happiness should not be so great that innocent beings must pay with their lives. President Obama’s poorly selected catchphrase should not be used to justify a violent means to an extremely selfish end. Aborting a child for cramping their mother’s dreams is like demanding my innocent neighbor to compensate me if I get robbed so I can reach my dream of becoming a billionaire.