WE NEED A NEW DEFINTION OF PARENTHOOD
By Richard Davis
Over the past 50 or more years we have heard just about every possible argument for and against abortion. In 1973 the issue seemed to be settled from a legal perspective when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, making abortion a constitutional right.
But the debate never ended and the anti-abortion forces have been patiently packing the courts with sympathetic judges with the hope of once again making abortion a criminal act. In 2021 we are now on the verge of having a country where abortion will no longer be a constitutional right. The Supreme Court could go further and turn pregnant women who have abortions into criminals.
When it comes to abortion and the law I have a simplistic view. The courts should not be telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her body. There are many other issues to consider and I will not rehash them.
Recently, I have had a chance to re-think the abortion debate because of what is happening at the Supreme Court. What I am about to say may seem ridiculous but it is no more crazy than the notion of restricting a woman’s ability to have an abortion.
If government and the courts assume control over an unborn fetus then I think they have to take responsibility for what happens when that fetus is delivered against the will of the mother.
Consider these numbers as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “In 2019, 629,898 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. Among 48 reporting areas with data each year during 2010–2019, in 2019, a total of 625,346 abortions were reported, the abortion rate was 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 195 abortions per 1,000 live births. From 2010 to 2019, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 18%, 21%, and 13%, respectively. However, compared with 2018, in 2019, the total number increased 2%, the rate of reported abortions increased by 0.9%, and the abortion ratio increased by 3%. Similar to previous years, in 2019, women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions (56.9%). The majority of abortions in 2019 took place early in gestation: 92.7% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (6.2%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (<1.0%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. Early medical abortion is defined as the administration of medications(s) to induce an abortion at ≤9 completed weeks’ gestation, consistent with the current Food and Drug Administration labeling for mifepristone (implemented in 2016). In 2019, 42.3% of all abortions were early medical abortions. Use of early medical abortion increased 10% from 2018 to 2019 and 123% from 2010 to 2019. MMWR Surveill Summ 2021;70(No. SS-9):1–29.”
What these numbers tell me is that if abortion is difficult to obtain then a lot more babies will be born. If government forces these babies to be born then government should be just as responsible for the welfare of these children as if they were the parents. An argument could be made that government becomes a surrogate parent when it takes control of a life.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned we need to make a legal case for the government support of all the children, until the age of 18, who will be born to women who wanted abortions but could not get them.