WEB Point/Counterpoint pt2

Greg M. Schwartz

Outlawing abortion means a war on the poor

Abortions should be safe, legal and available on demand. To have it any other way would be to decrease the freedom we are supposed to be entitled to in the United States. The “pro-life” zealots who think they are fighting some noble cause to save unborn lives are quite simply living in a state of dogmatic ignorance and self-righteousness.

The pro-life crusade to outlaw abortion is based around a religious morality that inherently seeks to enjoin church and state, an un-American concept if ever there was one. Pro-lifers say life begins at fertilization, but that is an opinion. The fact is there is no consensus on when life begins. An argument can be made that life exists in both sperm and egg before fertilization. Shall we start prosecuting teenage boys when they masturbate for killing all those precious sperm every time they ejaculate?

On the flip side, it can be argued life doesn’t begin until birth. Answering this question is a nebulous proposition at best. The Supreme Court made a fair compromise in 1973 when it ruled that women have a constitutional right to an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy.

What the pro-life zealots fail to understand is the fact that women are going to seek abortions whether they are legal or not. Many young and/or poor women who become pregnant are forced to confront the difficult reality that they are not ready — emotionally and/or financially — to have a child. It is therefore only logical for them to have an abortion. None of them seek it frivolously.

Part of the reason there are so many screwed-up people in this world is because of the number of children born to women who are not emotionally ready to raise them properly. When are the pro-lifers going to realize this? Adoption is no easy answer either. A woman still has to have her life thrown into complete upheaval for nine months, and finding suitable parents is a crap shoot at best. Preaching abstinence as the cure for unwanted pregnancy is just plain out of touch. The human sex drive is a powerful force and we all know, that in the heat of the moment, it can easily override the logical faculties of the brain.

World Health Organization statistics indicate that 78,000 women die every year from unsafe abortion procedures. The fact of the matter is outlawing abortions would endanger lives, not save them. The term “pro-life” would be ironically amusing if it weren’t so sad.

When you break it down, outlawing abortions amounts to a war on the poor. Even if made illegal, wealthy women would still have the means to obtain a safe abortion. We all know anything is obtainable in this capitalist culture of ours for the right price. Poor women would not have this option. The entire debate is that simple.

The alarming lack of compassion that pro-lifers have for poor women also has a racist subtext, whether they realize it or not. Before abortion was made legal in 1973, many women died from unsafe abortion procedures. In New York City, 50 percent of these women were African-American. 44 percent were Hispanic. Do the math.

The nerve of pro-life zealots is simply appalling. If you don’t believe in abortions, then don’t have one. But you don’t have to be a woman to realize that the right over one’s own reproductive processes is one of the most basic freedoms there is. The political crusade of pro-lifers to impose their moral views on everyone else is based on a hypocritical desire to have the church dictate repression of freedom to the state.

That’s not what America is about. Without choice, there is no freedom.

Greg M. Schwartz is a graduate student in journalism and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].