Abortion law and pertinent court cases

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Introduction

Abortion is a divisive debate in the US because of the many concerns that it raises. There is a tricky balance between the rights of the mother as enshrined in the constitution and the need to protect the sanctity of life. The bitter debate arises from the rights of the mother according to the bill of rights and the right of the fetus as a living person. The opponents of abortion also seem to raise the concerns about the adverse health effects and complications that the woman may suffer from as a result of procuring an abortion. Other than medical and ethical considerations there are also moral and religious principles that are opposed to the act; the religious doctrines discourage abortion which is considered a crime of taking away a life (Baker, 1992).

Research topic

There have been overwhelming rises in the number of abortion cases worldwide. The scenarios of such actions have been fueled by social and economic factors. Abortion refers to the process of bringing to an end a pregnancy before its period of maturity. It can be spontaneous or induced depending on the situation of the patient. In the developed countries, abortion is legal. However, most developing countries do not permit the act. The result of this has propagated differences in safe and unsafe abortions. Each country has its special legality, religious and cultural statutes to the prevalence of abortion. Also, the ethical perspectives of removal of pregnancies also vary. In the United Nations, heated arguments have emerged towards the law of abortion.

Background

The US laws abortion laws have seemed like they support the act and not condemning it. This is despite the action being illegal and ethically wrong. For instance, the Roe v. Wade court case is a clear example of how the law was interpreted to support abortion. The Supreme Court of America, in this case, overturned the decision of the Texas State Court which had ruled that abortion is legal in the state and thus the woman should not proceed with it (Hull & Hoffer, 2010). The court based its argument on the 14th Amendment which provided for the right of privacy. This led to the interpretation that she was within her legal rights to proceed with the process before she had reached the third trimester. The State of Texas argued that its decision to illegalize abortion was to protect the health of the mother and the sanctity of life which they attached to the baby. This is the ethical and moral ground through which all of us ought to fight the vice.

The verdict by the bench that the law of the state was wrong in denying this woman abortion could not be in order. The decision would come even after the woman had admitted that she lied about being raped to procure an abortion. How would the right to privacy compare to the right to life? The privacy of the mother is taken to be supreme to the life of the fetus. This ruling had a ripple effect in the US abortion laws. As a result, the laws of the state that had prevented women from aborting in the first trimester became invalid. The laws were further redefined to restrict abortion in the second trimester unless the health of the mother was at stake. On the whole, this landmark case seemed to change the status of abortion from illegal to legal in America. The lower court had decided the case based on the Ninth Amendment while the Supreme Court used the 14 Amendment which did not consider the state of the pregnancy of the right of the child other than the right of privacy of the mother (Konvitz, 2011).

Body

The outcome of the case changed the law to consider pregnancy at a different stage. During the first three months, the state government would not have much control on abortion thus leaving the decision to the mother to decide and in consultation with the doctor arrive at a suitable decision. In the middle trimester, the state government would only be interested up to the health of the mother. The last semester which follows the viability state of the fetus is where the state laws would have some say. This is where the state was allowed to restrict abortion but with the condition that the mother would remain healthy.

In all these three conditions, the mother is given the central focus, and the life of the baby has been given no meaning. This seems to encourage the women to get rid of more babies since the power is in their hands. The view of the Supreme Court in the Roe versus Wade case was later reaffirmed in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. In the latter, the court questioned the constitutionality of the abortion laws of the State of Pennsylvania. The court offered a unanimous decision which seemed to support the former case.

In the United States v. Vuitch court case, the law, was again used to protect abortion. According to the laws of the District of Columbia State procuring or conducting abortion was illegal. Anybody found contravening this law would face the full legal punishment. In this scenario, Milan Vuitch was found by the state laws to be operating against the law. He was indicted for violating the laws that prohibited the act (Leonard, 2013). The federal district court however pronounced him not guilty of the charges since the court seemed to believe that this law was unconstitutional.

The other ruling that seemed to uphold abortion is the Bigelow v. Virginia case.  This case pits the state of Virginia against the chief editor of the newspaper the Virginia Weekly. The paper had recorded that New York had legalized abortion and the state had arranged for women who bore the unwanted babies to attend special hospitals for very affordable costs. The editor would later be arraigned in court for promoting abortion which was considered illegal in Virginia. The county court convicted him of the crime as charged. He first appealed to the Circuit Court which rejected his argument (Baker, 1992).  He had built his defense on the fact that the law that charged him was unconstitutional. His further appeal to the Virginia’s Supreme Court hit a snag when the court held the decision of the other two courts that the statue stands and he was in violation of the same. He tried to use the First Amendment as a defense which was also turned down. His claim to the commercial status of the headline was not admissible in the court, and in the end, the earlier decision was held.

Claim/ argument

I strongly support the legal abortion as it is for this reason that women can get the help of experts in the act to come out safe. If it is implemented illegally, then many lives would be lost. As a matter of fact, legal abortion is not only sufficient to the woman but also is an important measure to the society and the world thereby realizing its merits. The legality of abortion will make the mother safe and happy to terminate that child they did not want to see. When the population is controlled, poverty is reduced, and the economy can grow progressively.

Conclusion

The analysis of the rulings provided above indicates how the federal interpretation of abortion has served to promote the act. The constitutional rights of the mothers have seemed to take center stage in the consideration for abortion. The right of the mother has been given more priority as compared to the right of the child. The state laws seem to care about both the mother and the child while the federal laws are only centered on the mothers. These federal laws and the constitutional rights seem to be the impediments to the fight against abortion in the US.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Baker, E, C (1992) Human Liberty and Freedom of Speech, Oxford University Press.
  2. Hull, N, E and Hoffer, P, C (2010) Roe V. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History. University Press of Kansas-Law, 370 pages
  3. Konvitz, M, R (2011) Fundamental Rights: History of a Constitutional Doctrine. Transaction Publishers.
  4. Leonard, A, S (2013) Sexuality and the Law: American Law and Society. Routledge.
  5. United States Supreme Court (1993) Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), University Publications of America, Law – 1400 page
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