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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

    People’s Abortions Are None of Your Business

    Not everything is a direct attack on someone’s belief. Most of the time, people make the decisions that they make for contextual reasons that may not discern an outsider. God forbid that person be a woman.

    On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) ruled that the Constitution of the United States of America does not guarantee the right to have an abortion. 

    Women’s reproductive health rights entail prenatal services, safe childbirth, access to contraception and safe and legal access to an abortion. Women’s reproductive health rights have been subject to heavy scrutiny for decades. There are complexities to anti and pro positions to abortion, however, I would like to examine the particularly interesting and equally juvenile discussion of whether the fetus is or is not alive.


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    History of Roe v. Wade 

    Striking contributions to political radicalism from the late 1950s through the late 1960s are largely attributed to the Women’s Rights Movement. The National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 and advocated for a fully equal partnership of the sexes. 

    The NOW endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA, first proposed in Congress in 1923, notably after women gained the right to vote) to the U.S. Constitution. Roe v. Wade represented a revolutionary development for women’s reproductive rights.

    The case of Roe v. Wade was originally brought to the Supreme Court by Norma McCorvey,known by the legal pseudonym Jane Roe, who in 1969 became pregnant with her third child. She sought an abortion because she was unemployed and had depression. Her attorneys, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, filed a lawsuit on her behalf in a U.S. federal court against her local district attorney, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas’s abortion laws were unconstitutional. Texas heard the case and ruled in her favor. 

    In late January 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision holding that the Due Process Clause (fair procedures in a court of law) of the 14th Amendment provides a fundamental right to privacy, ultimately protecting a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion. 

    On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overruled Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on the grounds that the substantive right to abortion was not deeply rooted in this Nation’s history or tradition. Furthermore, it was not considered a right when the Due Process Clause was ratified in 1868, and was unknown in U.S. law until Roe. 

    The banal argument against abortion equates abortion to an act of murder, while the counter-argument is that a fetus isn’t alive, therefore it cannot be considered a homicide. 


    Are signs of life exhibited in a fetus?

    The limit for getting an abortion under the criminal code is 24 weeks, which is the end of the second trimester. Abortions at this stage of pregnancy are very uncommon, however, I will proceed under the assumption that the fetus is 24 weeks old. 

    The baby starts as an embryo at eight weeks and is classified as a fetus at 12 weeks. It starts to take the shape of a child later on. On average it would be 1.48 pounds and 12.68 inches by 24 weeks. Movement of the child becomes more noticeable around this time, however, it is sporadic. The auditory system is now in development. 

    The cellular organization has commenced, energy is being used from movement, there is a response to the surrounding environment and the fetus is capable of utilizing lactate, amino acids, ketone bodies and others to control and fuel homeostasis. Homeostasis is fueled by the supply of nutrients from the mother rather than hormones. 

    The child is incapable of surviving on its own and relies on its mother for nutrients, oxygen, waste excretion and life support. This is a sign of early development. The only thing a child would need to respond to would be an improper supply of nutrients, therefore the child’s ability to adapt is nonexistent at this stage. The fetus is seemingly alive. 

    According to the Washington Post, only 1% of abortions occur at this stage. 43% of abortions occur between zero and six weeks, 36% occur between six and nine weeks, 3% occur between 13 and 15 weeks, 2% occur between 15 and 17 weeks and 2% occur between 17 and 20 weeks. 

    By 13 weeks, the first trimester has just ended, and we see minimal to none of the aforementioned activity. A heartbeat won’t be detectable until six weeks. A fetus is not culturally or socially aware, a characteristic of life, and cannot be considered an active member of humanity by sociological standards, according to the research of Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. 



    Therefore, determining whether an individual is morally cleared to get an abortion is a lengthy and complex process that is contextual at its core. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, it may or may not be accurate to consider a fetus alive. This does not consider the complications of classifying an abortion, the medical hazards to the mother or the child, nor the financial woes of the family. 

    The majority of people, from either political perspective, are stuck in their opinions and lack research and empathy. The people who truly need abortion access are not getting one on a whim. People won’t decide not to get an abortion, they will just get an unsafe one instead. 

    Access to abortions is necessary for women’s reproductive rights because restricting them by state is potentially dangerous. An abortion is a personal and intimate process, and it should therefore be the decision of the patient and no one else.

    By Bryn Soven

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