America needs progressive abortion laws

On Tuesday, May 7, Georgia’s governor signed a bill that has the potential to ban abortions in the state as soon as a heartbeat is detected, when the fetus is around six to eight weeks old. This “heartbeat law” is something that many other states have tried to implement, including Iowa. Although Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill, it was later struck down for being “unconstitutional.” This topic is the newest debate at the center of pro-life and pro-choice arguments as new states each day try to pass similar laws. 

The truth is, anytime a woman enters into a clinic that offers abortion services, she’ll most likely be met with harsh words from protestors. A documentary filmed by Emily Cameron highlights the protestors who stand outside the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City, who spend most days berating the women who enter. They call them “murderers,” and tell them “not to kill their child today.” 

Their goal seems to be focused on degrading women, women who have the legal right to choose what they want to do with their bodies. Women who, if that service wasn’t provided legally, would opt for back-alley abortions, which often fail and put the mother’s health at risk. True Christians are not people who protest the decisions of others, but those who offer comfort and support to those in need. Mother Teresa was known for sitting outside abortion clinics, not judging those who entered but offering to sit with them and hold their hand. 

Our country seems to focus so much on penalizing women who have abortions but forgets to implement laws that prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place. If our government would protect women’s rights and provide contraceptive education to young people, abortion rates would drop significantly. 

The reality is that most people know someone close to them who has had an abortion, whether or not they are aware of it. Busy Phillips, the host of Busy Tonight, highlighted the fact that one in four women have an abortion before the age of 45, and she herself had an abortion at the age of 15.

 “No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice, but these laws will put women more at risk,” Phillips said. 

These new heartbeat laws basically make it impossible for women to get an abortion. At six to eight weeks, most women have just found out about the pregnancy. If lawmakers want to make sure women take time and make a smart decision, they need to actually allow time to do so. If a woman finds out she’s pregnant and she’s already at six weeks, she’ll have to make a quick decision that most people aren’t emotionally prepared for. 

In a report published by the CDC, it was recorded 89 percent of abortions take place during the first trimester (13 weeks) of pregnancy. That means that only 11 percent of abortions are taking place after the first trimester. The need to shorten the time period available to get an abortion is just another step toward reversing Roe vs. Wade. 

Recently, the pro-life movement has come forward in trying to ban abortion completely. In countries where this has occurred, more unsafe abortions take place in unregulated locations, causing damage to the fetus and mother, and are often unsuccessful. The United States needs to have safe, legal abortions available because it is a legal right. Women get abortions for a multitude of reasons, but we have to remember that it is their reason, not our country’s. The decision to have children is always and should always be a woman’s personal choice. 

If we’re going to start saying that a fetus should have every right that a grown human should have, then there are a number of other issues that accompany that. Will child support start at conception? Can mother’s insure them and collect if they miscarry? 

Heartbeat bills are just the latest in a mind-boggling movement to take away reproductive rights and put the lives of oppressed women in the hands of a majority male government. Abortion is perhaps one of the most personal and private decisions anyone could ever make. Whether or not a member of the government thinks it’s morally justifiable is their own opinion, and does not have a place in our laws. 

If these heartbeat laws pass, America will be moving backward. The goal should be to get to a brighter and more progressive tomorrow, not move back to medieval governments that decide women’s futures without even asking for their own opinion.

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