During the recent controversial election period, bickering between Democrats and Republicans over several key issues like gun control, abortion, and foreign policy seemed to have been silenced as voters focused on the credibility of the candidates. Now with Trump in the oval office, protests and riots have called out the 45th president on his perceived racist, sexist, and crude comments, and the spotlight has now returned to classic left/right debates.
One of the most important and controversial issues following Trump’s inauguration is the debate over abortion. Roe v. Wade was the landmark decision made by the United States Supreme Court in 1973 that made abortion legal in all 50 states, and since then, the Supreme Court’s decision has been fiercely debated. However, the debate has been missing the mark on both sides.
The conservative side has been calling its platform the “pro-life” side to the argument. Republicans, having a substantial Christian presence, take the pro-life stance very seriously. Some Christians that side with the Democratic Party will even vote for the Republican candidate simply because he or she takes the pro-life stance. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, during a debate in his 2016 Presidential campaign, said, “I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of abortion.”
The liberal side has been calling its platform the “pro-choice” side to the argument. The Democrats have used the argument over abortion as a pitch to women’s rights advocates, which created the term “pro-choice” and the phrase “a woman’s right to choose.” Hillary Clinton stated during her campaign, “We’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s a hard choice and it’s controversial, and that’s why I’m pro-choice, because I want people to make their own choices.”
The problem with this debate over abortion is what platform it is debated upon. Once again, since the Roe v. Wade decision, the issue over abortion has become an issue of women’s rights, when it simply is not. We’re not talking about equal pay, we’re not talking about domestic violence, we are talking about the life of an unprotected fetus. Countless times Americans have heard pro-choice women say: “Why should the government tell me what to do with MY body?” The thing is, it’s not YOUR body we are talking about. You are not aborting yourself, you are aborting a fetus. That is not an insult to feminism or to the left wing, but the issue on abortion is a very sensitive and important issue, and the “a woman’s right to choose” slogan has oversimplified this complex subject. Now the conservative stance on the argument, known as the “pro-life” stance, is also not the way to go about solving the argument. We are now continuously seeing Republicans label Democrats as these murderous felons who have no value for life. Republicans, instead of bashing the Democrats for their abortion stance, rather need to work with elected democratic officials towards a solution.
So what platform should the argument fall upon, since it isn’t an issue of women’s rights? That’s where the complexity of the subject comes in. The issue of abortion is deeper than our political beliefs. Americans, instead of approaching this argument on the political platform of “choice vs. life,” need to come to a decision of where we stand on fetal rights. Are we willing to give a human fetus the same rights as we do a human child? It’s not an easy question to answer.
170 years ago, women had no rights, but through persistence and courage, women have equal rights in 2017. 120 years ago, children had no rights, and now many laws protecting children from neglect and abuse have been put in place. So it seems as if we have started this trend of “protecting the unprotected.” Are we heading in the same direction for fetal rights? Will abortion in America be outlawed in 50 years? 100 years? Never? No one knows at this point, but first things first: we have to figure out where we stand regarding fetal rights. We can not continue to procrastinate answering this question, and we must work together to see where we stand on this issue as a nation.