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The Great American Abortion Debate

  • 11 Jul 2022

In India, a woman is revered as a goddess. One of the reasons behind this is the fact that it is only women who can naturally give birth and take the human race forward. In their absence, the progression of humans would come to a halt. But is the sole purpose of a woman’s life to give birth and nurture the young ones? Do they not have any right to make decisions regarding their futures and more importantly their own bodies? These questions have once again gained momentum due to the recent verdict given by the American Supreme court, which revoked the abortion rights of women of America.

Recently, the Supreme Court overruled its precedent regarding legalizing abortion creating a seismic movement in America. Before 1973, conservative views about abortion dominated the majority of states' authority. About thirty states of the US didn’t guarantee legal abortion rights to women and 20 states did proffer the right but on certain conditions. No constitutional right was guaranteed to women concerning abortions.

In 1973, post the Joe Vs Wade verdict was delivered, American women wholeheartedly welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling. As abortion was now a legal right. However, it was still not an absolute right but the reasons were practical and acceptable. And now with the latest ruling, the haze of dismay has dawned upon the pro-choice ideologists.

The great American abortion debate consists participation of people belonging to different gender, locations, and ideologies. The chief vocalists are supporters of pro-life and pro-choice. The contrast between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice has always been the bone of contention. To understand the narrative of this great American abortion debate, one has to know its slants.

Pro-Life and their outlook

Pro-life supporters are anti-abortionists. They oppose abortion and do not hold the view of giving women any constitutional rights concerning the same. They are known to present counter-arguments to the pro-choice advocators. Although most of the time they are blatantly categorized into conservative and religious dogmas, the members possess a diverse and analytical approach.

They support the fundamental right to life of the child and bespeaks hard-headed arguments against abortion. They speak of the embryo to be the separate living entity from the woman. They propagate the science of Embryology that establishes from the earliest stage of conceiving, mother and child as different living individuals with equal rights.

Reproductive Health, Foster Care and Adoption, Special Needs, Human Trafficking, Immigration & Refugees, etc are a few other areas where Pro-Life supporters are active. Pro-Life activists consider abortion only in the case when the women's life is in danger and are vociferous about protected sexual intercourse. They are unabashedly blatant about the lack of wise choices in youth when it comes to the latter.

Pro-Choice and their outlook

Pro-Choice people are in the majority comparatively. They are more concerned about the freedom of choice of every individual. People who identify as pro-choice advocate the full authority of women to decide on the matter when she wants a child or not.

They refuse to identify the fetus as a living entity with any consciousness until fetal viability and term the fetus as a mere cluster of cells. Fetal Viability is when a human fetus is capable of developing outside the womb. People falling in this category believe the ban to be authoritative and regressive.

They believe the decision to keep a child or not should be more inclusive of the other aspects. The socio-cultural and socio-economic factors must be on the list. Society should be more sensitive to rape survivors, victims of incest, differently-abled, minors, etc. An unwanted child sometimes places a high burden on parents or mothers, financially and mentally. And hence, pro-choice supporters are vocal about ushering women with the liberty to choose.

The religious debate over abortion rights

Catholic churches are of the view that "the first right of the human person is his life". They are leaned toward the pro-life category. Churches procure the abortion of a child to be a moral evil and prohibit any such activity. In 2019, The New York Times quoted Pope Francis's statement that says, Abortion, even of a sick fetus, is like hiring a ‘Hitman’.

During all these case proceedings, Catholic Churches presented strong opposition to legalizing abortion rights. Over time, they have expressed their protest frequently along with the conservative groups with Protestant Members. Some extremist anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue and Operation Save America also accord their opposition on religious grounds.

Political Stand on Abortion Rights

In 1999, there happened to be an interview of former President Donald Trump on NBC. He proclaimed himself to be pro-choice back then. But the reign of his presidency depicted the opposite story. Later while campaigning for presidential candidature in 2015, he spoke about being pro-life. Trump also deliberately appointed 3 pro-life judges to the Supreme Court.

Currently, the United States has democrats in the authority with Joe Biden being the current President. Soon after the 6-3 ruling was announced by the Supreme Court, President Biden didn't take long to openly criticize the judgment. They made the U.S. an outlier among developed nations in the world, said Biden while addressing the country on the same issue.

No matter to what extent Biden disagrees, President is powerless to change the ruling. Democrats do not have enough votes in the Senate to pass a new law that would reverse the Supreme Court judgment.

What was the immediate effect?

It is well known that up to half of America is on the verge of banning abortions. And 13 states have already passed the so-called trigger law, which has granted enforceability to the already drafted ban on abortion.

Arkansas was one of the few states to sign an almost total ban on abortion practices into law without any exception for rape and incest. In Texas, Planned Parenthood and women's health centres have halted their abortion practices and no longer provide the services to women. Eric

Schmitt, Missouris Attorney General, is planning abortion as a punishable offence with up to 15 years of imprisonment.


There has been a gathering of crowds since the announcement of the decision. A section of people is celebrating the decision while some are furious over it. Numerous celebrities have also come out in support of the pro-choice and have denounced the inefficient handling of such a critical case by the Supreme Court.

The debate over morality and necessity has been doing rounds in America from a very early time. Women in the community have persistently outspoken about the lack of the presence of other women in decision-making authority. They are of the feeling that empathy is lacking in the decision-making authority.

Even today, we see no signs of this humongous debate coming to rest. There seems to be a long arduous path to reach tranquillity.

 Sagar K Mazumdar 

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