Sunday, April 30, 2006

Abortion Essay

(boy did I nail this right in the nick of time. 8:59 on the dot. The ending was a bit different in the essay I submitted. I typed the last few sentences in the form right before I sent it off. And I can't remember what they were exactly).

The abortion debate is not an issue that can be discussed unemotionally. This argument is fundamentally tied to morals, on both sides of the issue. It cannot, it seems, be impartially considered. Answering the question “How, if at all, would American society change if the current legal right to abortion is either severely restricted or eliminated?” is difficult. There is no unbiased information. Research is concentrated on proving one side or the other right. Neither side can get past rhetoric and propaganda to present a clear picture of how society will change.
The moral arguments being carried on, while in one sense very important, are unhelpful.

One side asserts that eliminating abortion will return women to the dark ages. This is not true. American women do not use abortion as the primary method of birth control. Unlike some European countries, where four abortions occur to every one live birth, abortion ends only about one pregnancy in ten. Statistics show that the majority of women having abortions do not repeat the procedure.

The other side hails the end of abortion as the means to altar the moral fiber of our nation. That is unlikely. Surface changes do little to affect character. Legally protecting the status of the unborn may save lives, but will not make lives more intrinsically valuable.

Statistics tell us that somewhere between 700,000 and 1,100,000 abortions are performed every year in the United States. If abortion was restricted or eliminated, on the surface it would seem to have a dramatic effect on our nation. Despite being the wealthiest nation in the world, we struggle with poverty. Almost one-fifth of people who work full time, year round still live below the poverty level.

After becoming frustrated with the one sided arguments in books on abortion or women’s rights, I came across “The Persistence of Poverty in the United States.” I wanted to know why the wealthiest nation in the world can’t absorb the increase in population. By gross numbers, we should easily be able to. The difficulty is that the same women who are having abortions, are at the greatest risk of poverty.
Mangum’s book describes a process referred to as “the feminization of poverty.” The American economic structure has become such that household must have more than one income to rise above the poverty level. At the same time, the number of two parent households has declined. The highest rates of poverty in the nation are single mother families. These women are in dire straits because they are less likely to have higher education, they have less work experience and amount of time available for employment, and must pay for child care while working. The elimination of abortion will certainly increase the number of single-parent households in our country. There will be an increase in cyclical poverty as well.

However, this phenomenon began almost simultaneously with the advent of legalized abortion. Using the “well being of a child in a poverty-stricken, single parent home” argument to protect abortion rights doesn’t work. The free access to abortion hasn’t prevented the shift to the single parent family in the last thirty years.

If abortion were eliminated, American women would continue with the myriad contraceptives still available. Adding almost one million people to society every year would exacerbate problems that already exist, but not cause a new crisis. The politics and moral considerations aside, eliminating abortion will merely further exacerbate problems that will take more than reproductive rights to fix.

Headlines, Breadlines blow my mind

Headlines, Breadlines blow my mind, and now this deadline..

Oh crap. The scholarship deadline that I thought I'd have until midnight to do, is due at midnight EST! Crap.

Oh well, I always work better under pressure.