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Home Issue Index Issue: Abortion

Abortion

Issue Overview: Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. Reproductive rights refers to access to birth control and contraceptives, which generally includes the right to abortion. Human pregnancy, or gestation, lasts about 39 weeks and is normally divided into three trimesters of 13 weeks each. The fetus is often considered viable—capable of independent life—between the 20th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. View Issue Overview and Video

Pro/Con Articles

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Affirmative action allows universities and other organizations to maintain diversity, which helps break down racial barriers and better reflects an integrated world. Affirmative action is also necessary to "level the playing field" for minority groups following centuries of discrimination. Ending affirmative action programs would halt some of the advances that minorities have made.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

Affirmative action merely turns the tide of discrimination against nonminorities and worsens race relations in the country. It is unfair and unconstitutional to give people systematic preference based on the color of their skin or their gender. Furthermore, affirmative action actually threatens to hurt minorities, by leaving their academic and professional achievements open to question.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

It should be a woman's right to decide whether or not she carries through a pregnancy. If abortions were illegal, women seeking to terminate their pregnancies would be forced to resort to unsafe and dangerous underground procedures. State governments restricting access to abortion are blocking the rights of women to decide what to do with their own bodies.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

A fetus is a human life, and abortion is therefore murder. Even if a fetus was conceived by a rape, terminating a pregnancy amounts to killing an innocent child. The so-called morning-after pill constitutes abortion and should be banned. States that have attempted to limit abortions have done the right thing.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Providing birth control coverage will make it easier and more affordable for women to obtain the method of birth control that is most effective and appropriate for them, resulting in fewer unintended pregnancies and abortions. Having fewer unintended pregnancies will save, not cost, U.S. taxpayers money and will have other positive benefits on U.S. society as a whole. Some birth control medications can also be used to treat serious illnesses, so their efficacy goes beyond family planning. Employers with moral or religious objections to birth control should not be exempt from the policy, as exempting them would effectively enable them to make a choice about contraceptive use for their female employees.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

Providing such coverage will not reduce the number of abortions in the United States. Furthermore, women already have access to birth control, and the policy will cost taxpayers money. It also threatens U.S. society, since it could lead to greater sexual permissiveness. Birth control should not be covered as a means of preventive health care, because pregnancy is not a disease but a natural state and thus should not be regarded as an illness to be "prevented." In addition, some types of birth control may work by causing abortions, so religious and other employers objecting to contraceptives and abortion on moral grounds should be exempt from the policy.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Any new screening method that can increase the likelihood of safe air travel should be employed. Modern terrorists use explosive powders and liquids that they know will be missed by conventional metal detectors. The room where the scanned images are viewed is far removed from the airport security checkpoint, and the scanners themselves are able to blur subjects' faces. The scanners are safe, noninvasive and faster than manually "patting down" every passenger.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

The images the scanners create clearly represent an invasion of privacy, and could be in violation of pornography laws. Rather than spending money on new scanners, security officials should direct more resources toward collecting and distributing intelligence on potentially dangerous passengers. Finally, adding an additional layer of security to airport security checkpoints will lengthen lines and increase flight departure delays.