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Students Reflect on Women’s Reproductive Rights 3
thomas shuman 13 contributing writer
April 26, 2012

The argument over abortion in this country has destroyed the middle ground; you are either pro-life or pro-choice. The solutions proposed by both sides dichotomize the issue and make total victory the only option. However, there are always unintended consequences to laws that are passed and these must always be considered when making an argument.

If the pro-life side of the argument has its way, abortion will become restricted or completely prohibited. This will invariably lead to more babies being born to mothers who may not want or be able to support them. Under these circumstances, services like education, housing, and health care will become more problematic than they already are. Schools in poorer neighborhoods that are already having financial troubles will not benefit from the influx of new students. Violence in these neighborhoods, rebellion against a feeling of uselessness from society and, in some cases, the parents, would increase dramatically as the schools and family dynamics faded away.

In order to avoid these outcomes, we as a society must be prepared to provide aid to the families of these children. The pro-life mentality of protecting the sanctity of life cannot end after the baby is born. The argument claims that every life is equal and deserves to have a chance. However, if every life is truly equal, opportunities offered to one should be offered to the whole. This includes education, housing, and jobs. Such changes would require modification to many of our public services, which could increase government presence. Since the pro-life argument comes primarily from the Republican Party, a party advocating smaller government presence, these consequences must be considered, as ignoring them will only lead to a larger, more impoverished, and more violent population.

This logic applies to the pro-choice side of the argument as well. Should this side of the argument prevail, abortions would be available to women in every state. This scenario introduces the problem of alienated religious organizations. As we have seen in recent months, religiously-based businesses are often opposed to aiding their employees in getting birth control and abortions. If the government requires these businesses to provide these services for their employees, new tensions will form and old ones will be aggravated. We have seen abortion clinics firebombed by extreme pro-life activists and communities split by the issue of abortion. These are outcomes that both sides would like to avoid, as they impede intelligent, democratic progress.

Abortion is a very difficult topic for both sides of the argument. It is this difficulty that demands respect from both sides towards the other and solutions that are more than simplifying the issue to a “yes-or-no” question. We must also consider the other aspects of our lives that our actions, be they pro-choice or pro-life, will have and be prepared to deal with them in the most beneficial way possible. This is a decision that will have an impact on the size of government in our lives, women’s rights, and medical law for years to come. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to make the fairest, but not necessarily the easiest, decision possible.