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Last week a pretty significant event occurred regarding the abortion debate! Tomi Lahren, a prominent conservative who supported Donald Trump and his platform throughout the recent election stated that she was prochoice, a stance not shared by her party. To see more quotes from Tomi, check out this article that describes the incident and its public reception. I think this is significant because it shows a significant member of a party, going against her “assigned” political beliefs to show her true opinion. She also states that she appreciates the support of women who may not agree with her, another important concept. I do not generally support Lahren or her beliefs, but I do respect her statements made in this instance. I think it is also significant that she shared the full backing of her party and The Blaze, up until she voice an opinion that did not align with theirs. This is an example of censoring to skew what is voiced to the public. Enjoy the article!

Check this out!

Hey guys! Check out this blog on poverty in North Carolina. It brings in a lot of facts and figures, as well as addresses the main causes of poverty. Although it is not related to my subject, I think it touches on an important topic and is a good read!

My Journey

This assignment has taught me a lot about my subject, as well as researching in this field. In writing this blog, I wanted to become better informed on both sides of the debate of abortion so I could form a more accurate opinion on the debate. I also was hoping to grow with my readers so as I learned, they learned as well. Although I gained a stronger perspective on both sides of the debate, my opinion on the subject changed very little. Despite this, I feel like my research validated my opinion under the assumption that I am better informed on the subject. Last semester I took a class on women throughout US history, and its very interesting to pair that with what I’m learning in this class. Not only do I see the progression of abortion rights throughout history, but I also see the feminist trends of today throughout history. The movement of abortion rights has not been a steady trend, which I have learned time and time again.

One of the biggest challenges for me while writing this blog was remaining unbiased in my posts. With a subject like this, where I have a strong opinion of my own, it was difficult for me to represent both sides. I tried my best to bring in articles from both sides, but even as I described and commented on them, I could tell I was judging one side over the other. Fortunately, my peers also commented on this, which was a benefit of using a blog as our method of writing. It was helpful to get direct feedback and be able to respond with answers to questions, or to acknowledge shortcomings in my posts. It was also beneficial to get compliments on my subject from people who may not know me personally. It was rewarding to think that I helped inform others and that my goal was somewhat reached.

Lastly I want to discuss what I am most proud of throughout this experience. My analysis post was the most challenging and in depth post we did, and being able to use so many links forced me to look at a lot of new material that I hadn’t considered before. It also helped me analyze the root of the debate and why it exists, which I think is most important to helping people move through the issue and work together to find a solution of some sort. I also really liked the implications post because I think it’s important to see the effects of the constant debate to truly understand why we must find a solution. I would not have written about this subject if there were drastic implications to society. I chose this subject not only to help women suffering from the stigma around it, but to help all of society understand the issue and understand why it is not ok. This being said, I don’t want to just point out the problems, I want to help solve them. This is why the theory post was important to me also. I truly hope people keep these in mind when approaching the subject in the future. If I didn’t change anyone’s minds, I hope I opened a door for conversation and doubt.

Recommended Reading

Hey guys! Check out this great blog about the stigmas around mental illness. I find that this is another social issue that is benefited by exposure and educated conversation. It’s a great topic and there have been some very quality posts about the stigma, where it comes from, and steps to get rid of it. Enjoy!

Listen up!

Despite the effects of a pro-life or pro-choice world, the polarization of this topic results in heavy judgement and gross stigmas for anyone who shows a strong stance. I would argue that all women are affected by the polarization of abortion. Those who are pro-life are often thought of extremists who care little for a mother or women’s rights in general, while pro-choice advocates are often given the name of “baby killer” as seen in this article. The people with no visible opinion are also attacked for their lack of action because the topic really has a “you’re with me or you’re against me” attitude. These stigmas result in shame from some women, or even the refusal to discuss the topic for others. I think the latter is the more dangerous of the two. As I’ve said in many posts, there is nothing more dangerous to a society than ignorance and without talking about the subject and sharing stories and experiences, how can the society be anything but ignorant?

 

I don’t believe that reducing the polarization of this topic is far off. As I have shown in former posts, many people on opposing sides share opinions, and very few believe in the extremes (abortion should be illegal in all cases or legal up to birth). What I see as a solution is not that all people believe that abortion is either ok, or not ok, but that all of society is educated and recognizes that it is not a black and white topic. If people would just continue the conversation on their beliefs and the root of them, I think this topic would cool down, and we would all be better off. So next time you’re in a situation that calls for your opinion, don’t back down. Here is a great link to help you out with these conversations and ensure everyone feels safe and respected.

Celebrity Experience

This video feature clips of Naya Rivera discussing her decision to get an abortion and how she reflects on it still today. Showing clips like this in the media starts to remove the stigma of abortion in society. As Naya mentions, discussing it is important, and not a lot of people do. I like this video because it shows a real person who made the decision and how it has affected her. Naya doesn’t regret the decision and states that she wrote her book, where it is mentioned, for her son, who she loves with all her heart. It also deals with the topic of her telling her now husband about her decision after it had been completed. She says that he dealt with it in the best way a man could, another great example of how this can be dealt with by anyone. This video and article are a way that Entertainment Tonight shows its respect for this woman and her decision.

 

Common Ground

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this topic is extremely polarized, but I think this is because of a misinformed public. The best thing we can all do to find the common ground in this issue is to stay informed on what the debate is actually about and what factors are involved in it. As shown in this article, there are many similarities in opinions from both sides of the debate. This shows that it is not as polarizing of a topic that many may think and recognizing this is a good step in quenching the constant contention surrounding the topic. In reading various articles on both sides of the debate, many times I find the disagreements based in statements without factual support. If people were to check their resources, or just look into these facts a bit further, they would see the lack of support. The polarization of this topic is rooted in the fact that most abortion opponents consider it the murder of a child, but this article shows the contention for less dramatic and more logical reasons. These reasons includes the American obsession with fundamental rights, the fact that religion is heavily intertwined with political beliefs, and the fact that it was legalized as a right, not as a medical necessity. These reasons show even more that the controversy is misunderstood.

Relatable

Check out this post from a fellow blogger! This blogger focuses on the subject of sexual assault which is definitely related to the subject of abortion, as it is often used as an exception for more conservative views on abortion. It also relates by being in the family of women’s rights. Being informed on this topic is important for everyone, and would only enhance the view point of my subject.

Abortion as a Spectrum

Abortion rights are as much of a cultural war pitting traditional values against progressive values as it is a political debate, it is anything but an argument of choice/privacy. The pro-choice movement is often associate the women’s rights movement, which claims that to take away a woman’s choice is taking away her rights. Alternatively, many religious groups are associated with the pro-life belief, based on their beliefs regarding conception. Although this argument seems to have only two options, I would argue that most peoples’ positions lay on a spectrum, and this polarization is a result of the political influence on the topic.

How did we get here?

In order to understand how these belief systems developed, we must look at the history of this topic. It is significant that abortion was legal for thousands of years including a period of time past the adoption of the Constitution. The mid-1800s came with states banning abortions, which was mostly motivated by the worry that high birth rates of immigrants would dominate those of the native population. Another motivation for criminalizing abortion was to decrease the competition doctor faced in practicing medicine by making doctors the only profession that could practice medical care. Unfortunately, the criminalization of abortion did not change the number of women who looked for and obtained abortions. Back-alley abortions were very dangerous and many women died or experienced bad medical problems as a result. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade to allow women to get legal abortions. This significantly reduced injury and death associated with abortion. Since then, the Supreme Court has begun allowing certain restrictions such as parental involvement, waiting periods, and biased counseling. This brings us to what people believe today, and why. These are the “two sides” of the debate, despite the fact that there are many more than two options.

Pro-life advocates argue that the right to have an abortion is a public issue, because they believe that killing a fetus is the equivalent of murder. They make this claim with the underlying assumption that human life begins at conception and the human zygote is a person with the right to life. Some pro-life organizations include National Right to Life, American Life League, and Americans United for Life. Pro-choice advocates argue that the right to have an abortion is covered in the right to privacy. They base this claim on an underlying assumption that a fetus cannot feel pain and becomes a person when it can survive outside of the womb, therefore, it is the mother’s decision to make the medical decision regarding their own body. Some prominent pro-choice organizations include Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Network of Abortion Funds.

What does everyone else think?

This next section is a collection of basic arguments from both sides, and how they are debunked by the respective group of people. Starting with pro-choice advocates debunking pro-life arguments, this article by women and for women starts with the most inarguable point that pro-life advocate argue, that abortion is murder. This is the hardest point because it is more based in opinion or religion. The responses given to this are that a fetus is dependent and that the “right to life” doesn’t imply a right to use another person’s body or to have somebody else’s will imposed upon your body, which is what happens to the mothers. Another argument is that it’s irresponsible for a woman to have sex if she is not willing to get pregnant. This is denounced by saying that the responsible choice is a matter of opinion and based on a woman’s ability to support her child, she may feel that it is more responsible for her to have an abortion. One argument that I hadn’t heard before is that when pro-life advocates claim that abortions in the case of rape are acceptable they are saying that a child conceived in that way is worth less than a child of willful conception. Which is giving the desire of the mother priority of the life of the child, which shouldn’t change if someone is truly against abortion. Another argument is that women often regret the decision, the rebuttal for that simply states that we regret many things, and can’t ban all of them. The last argument I’m mentioning is that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for something morally disagreeable, but again by that argument, Americans shouldn’t have to pay for a military if they find American foreign policy morally wrong.

Now that you’ve heard one side of the debate, I will show the other. This website is specifically used to teach pro-life supporters how to defend their view. The first step they cite is to clarify the issue by saying that it is not about giving a woman a choice, but about not allowing someone to kill a baby just because they are defenseless. It follows this by defending the belief that a baby is a person by confirming that the unborn are in fact humans. To say that because they are so small they cannot be a person is not supported because that would imply that a smaller human deserves less rights than a larger one. They show that level of development should not play a part in the decision because a young girl is less developed than an adult one, and by those standards a newborn would not be a human being. They argue that the environment cannot play a role, because a change of location does not make something human. Going through the birth-canal does not create human nature. Lastly it argues that dependency should not have an effect or that would imply that conjoined twins, or those who depend on insulin would not be considered humans.

Another website providing evidence for why everyone should be pro-life debunks lies and myths surrounding abortion. My problem with this article comes from the fact that their main argument is that statistics are not true and people lie. This seems to be based in hearsay rather than fact. It also claims that pro-choice advocates force abortion onto frightened young women who don’t know any better. This seems to be quite the opposite from everything I’ve read. It also argues that because Soviet Russia and Nazi, Germany were the first places to legalize abortion that that means it must be wrong. This is an informal fallacy and proves nothing, and even if it was a form of proof, the information is a half-truth. The articles fails to include the fact that both Iceland and Sweden also legalized abortion at this time whereas in Germany, abortion was only legalized under certain conditions. Overall as I read this article, although it may have had some valid points, I was generally disappointed in its lack of evidence and factual information.

Taking another look at pro-choice

The next article I chose, because it took a different view of the pro-choice view. This article was written by a pediatrician who often saves the lives of babies. She doesn’t quite see it this way. From her point of view, she performs daily procedures that torture these babies while every part of their bodies refuse it. The doctor talks about how she forces children to live because parents’ ask them to, but in the neonatal ICU, the children have no rights. Despite having to deal with this terror, she says that the children are loved no matter what, and because of this, she realized that the only thing she can do is trust the parents’ decision, because their decision comes from the deepest sense of love.

It really is a spectrum!

This article introduces this concept by showing the range of beliefs held by both sides. Pro-choice advocates make-up a slim majority of the country and believe an array of options for pregnant women including full-access to abortion, parental consent for minors, support in cases of rape, and many other variations on access to abortion. Although the pro-life view is much more clean cut, there are still different beliefs in the viewpoint. Less than half of the pro-life population believes that all abortions should be banned, many believe it should be allowed in cases of sexual assault or in order to save the life of the mother. This being said, many pro-life lobbyists focus their energies on mandated waiting periods and removing public funding on abortion, which are causes that many pro-choice advocates might agree with or even be lobbying for themselves. This is one example of similarities between the two sides of the debate. The great graphic below comes from a website the discusses the common ground shared between pro-life and pro-choice citizens. The graphic shows that there are certain percentages of each group that believe in the same concepts, which range from “pro-choice” beliefs, to “pro-life” beliefs. Although some are definitely more supported by one side or the other, there are still people from both factions sharing the belief.

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Although so many people share opinions on different issues revolving around abortion, the political sphere makes it seem like a black and white debate. This article claims that politicians use the emotion and personal feelings surrounding the issue to manipulate voters on an issue that normally doesn’t take the forefront in debate. Republicans gain appraisal from their supporters by reducing government funding for abortion and related organizations, while Democrats gain support by protecting these organizations. Both groups benefit from this polarized debate by playing on heartstrings to gain funding and positive attention for their strong stance. A recent article gives a good view of abortion in the current political sphere by showing Donald Trump’s pro-life argument. Trump, representing the pro-life side, faced Hilary Clinton who represented the pro-choice side of the debate and used the vagueness of when an abortion was acceptable to back her into a wall. By forcing her to admit that she believed that there could be a circumstance where an abortion may be necessary days before a baby was born, he interpreted her words as endorsing eugenics. This is an example of when the topic is discussed in extremes because of its basis in a political sphere.

So what is happening right now?

I’m ending this analysis post with two articles that show the relevancy of the topic to the lives of the readers. The first article states the Florida Supreme Court’s block a law that would have required a 24 hour waiting period before getting an abortion. If you look back at one of my first posts, it dealt with this same restrictive policy. The court claimed that these laws are an unnecessary and dangerous burden and are required for no other operation. Lastly, this article about abortion policy in North Carolina, connect this issue back to the readers closest to my home. This state law would require doctors to supply the government with an ultrasound if they are more than 16 weeks pregnant. Proponents argue that the law is to make sure doctors aren’t lying, while opponents claim it is an invasion of privacy used to intimidate those seeking abortions.

The topic I have chosen has many layers and this post was meant to identify a good number of them. The most important message to understand is that this is not a black and white subject, and it is about much more than privacy. I hope you enjoyed this longer post, please comment if you have any questions or if I can clarify anything!

 

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