Abortion refers to the act of removing a developing human from a woman’s womb. (Spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is a separate case.) Abortion on demand is a highly divisive subject, as it touches on two of the fundamental tenets of modern civilization, an individual’s right to life and another individual’s right to free choice. According to the Center For Disease Control there are an estimated 1.4 million abortions performed annually in the United States. This is one abortion every twenty seconds. One fifth of all pregnancies end with induced abortions.
Those on the right-to-choose side of the argument seem to discount the availability of contraceptives, and to dismiss the fact that when one voluntarily engages in the sexual act, pregnancy may result. Only in the case of rape has a woman’s right to make a free choice been abridged. The argument that women have a right to choose what to do with their own bodies begs the question, “At what point do you make a choice and accept the responsibility for your own actions – before you conceive or after? Make a choice before you make a baby.”
Those on the pro-life side of the issue believe that human life begins at conception. This is supported by science. Every human being has unique DNA from the first moment after fertilization. Based on religious, ethical or moral grounds, those who are pro-life believe that every human being has intrinsic value, and has an unalienable right to life. This right should be inviolable by either the state or by individuals.
It has historically been acceptable medical practice to perform an abortion when to continue the pregnancy would jeopardize the life of the mother. This exception has been expanded to include every aspect of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Whether people with pro-life convictions should be able to claim conscientious objection and opt out of paying for abortions through public funding or insurance coverage has become a hot topic. The Obamacare law contains no safeguards protecting taxpayers from being forced to fund abortions and it also contains the Health and Human Services mandate forcing religious groups to fund or refer for abortion-causing drugs and contraception.
Non-profit volunteer pro-life organizations throughout the United States act to protect human life unconditionally. They affirm the right to life of every human being and do not discriminate based on sex, age, race, physical condition, or stage of development. They have come to the defense of the unborn, the disabled and the elderly. Recent highly-publicized cases of abuse in abortion clinics, even criminal acts by abortionists and clinic workers whose main focus has been financial gain, have caused many to rethink the boundaries we place on individual free choice, versus the simple human rights of the unborn.
Lianna Karlin, President, Right to Life of Montana