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Jill Nicholson March 28th Persuasive Essay
Why Abortion Must Remain Legal

Abortion is not a nice thing to think about or discuss, and nobody wants to see more abortions. The idea of aborting an unborn fetus is decidedly unpleasant. However, women always have and always will continue to have unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, and no government or group of men has the right to choose for women what they should do.

Men cause women to be pregnant, but it is the woman who alone bears the pregnancy and the child. For centuries, unmarried women who became pregnant were jailed, humiliated, and in some cultures even killed. The unmarried pregnant woman brought shame on her family, and her child was labeled a bastard. No man would ever marry such a woman, and she would be turned out of her home and cut off. Such women had no way to make a living, and had to live in shame on the streets. A bastard child in the old days was denied education and property, and was socially shunned. The father of the child-- the cause of the pregnancy—lost nothing.

A woman does not want to be shamed by society and shame her family. In many cases, an unmarried woman risks her life, her family and all social position if she gives birth. Even if abortion is illegal, it does not stop this woman from trying to abort. Some women drink poison. Others throw themselves down stairs. Some try to hit their stomachs so hard they will abort. As recently as the 1970s, before abortion was legal in the United States, such women found and paid for illegal abortions. Thousands of women bled to death or died from infection after these dangerous, unprofessional abortions. This will happen again if abortion is made illegal.

Watch the news and read the newspaper. All around us and all over the world there are hungry, neglected and abused children, all unwanted. These children grow up in misery and go on to become miserable adults who commit so many of our crimes and fill so many of our prisons. The government can try to prevent abortion, but it can never prevent unloved, unwanted children who are hurt and grow up to hurt others. A law can force unwanted children to be born to unsafe conditions, but it can never cause a child to be wanted, fed, loved and cared for.

Not all mothers want to or are able to care for a child. Many young women have trouble with drugs or alcohol. Some are involved in crime. Some have no work or money. Some are too busy with their own life to think of their baby. So, they continue to have their babies, but they do not want them or take care of them. The children end up in foster care, government homes or jail. This is extremely expensive to society—a year of jail costs more in taxes than a year at the university—and it is not good for the children. They learn quickly that no one wants them or cares about them.

Finally, abortion must remain available for victims of rape, or for women who are medically at risk or who are pregnant with a severely disabled child. In whose best interest is it to force such a birth? A woman who is forced to bear a child born of rape will re-live that rape every day of her life. What chance is there that she could really love the child? What benefit is there to forcing a fragile or sick woman to die during childbirth, therefore leaving a motherless child? Why force a severely disabled, possibly unconscious child who will never speak, walk, see or think into the world to a life of pain and confusion? Why force a family to ignore their other children and spend all their time and money caring for a child who has no chance of improvement or happiness day and night?

Imagine if men were the ones who got pregnant. If they were forced to bear unwanted children, there would be no debate about criminalizing abortion. If men were 50% responsible for all pregnancies, births and children, there would be no debate about criminalizing abortion. Men need to take responsibility for their actions as much as women. Everyone who has sex without birth control must be prepared for the consequences. Unwanted pregnancies should not occur, but they do. Abortions cause less damage to society than unwanted, unloved children. It is not a man’s place and not the government’s place to force a woman to bear unwanted, unloved children.

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