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In My Opinion:

Two opinions on the pro-life / pro-choice issue

by Teen Editorial Board Member, Keshia Hall

October 1999

To explore the pro-life, pro-choice issue, Keshia interviewed two friends of hers. Steven and Rachel, both 15, are at opposites ends of this national controversy. Keshia's questions and her friends' answers, may give you something to think about!

The InSite: From your perspective, when does life start?

Steven: At conception.

Rachel: When the baby is able to survive outside of the mother's womb. This, of course, differs from person to person, as I have heard of some babies surviving after being born [after only] five months [in the womb] while others die at seven.

Life starts at conception.

Life starts when the baby is able to survive outside of the womb.

TI: Do you believe that a baby is a part of the mother until he or she is born?

Steven: The baby is alive and thus a human being on [its] own, however, it needs a mother to survive.

Rachel: Of course, the baby is a part of the mother. The mother is responsible for keeping the baby and herself alive and in good health. What the mother does will always affect the baby. Smoking, drinking, etc. All have their effects on the baby.

TI: As you see it, what is the difference between a baby and a fetus?

Steven: The only true difference is the terminology. Fetus...baby... it doesn't make a difference. And actually the word 'fetus' means 'little one' in Italian.

Fetus...baby...it doesn't make a difference.

Rachel: A fetus is an embryo which has developed life systems (e.g.. heart, lungs, brain etc.) A baby is a fetus that has been born.

A fetus is an embryo...

TI: Do you think abortion should be used as a contraceptive device?

Rachel: No! Not only is [abortion] costly, but each time you have an abortion it reduces the ability to carry a fetus to term. There are many other ways out there to protect yourself against pregnancy.

TI: Do you think there are some situations in which abortion is right?

Steven: Never!

TI: Do you think there are some situations in which abortion is wrong?

Rachel: The only situation when abortion is wrong is when being used as a contraceptive.

TI: But otherwise....

Rachel: If a woman gets raped, does she have to go through 9 months of being reminded every day of what happened to her? And the rest of her life if she chooses to keep the child? If there is a family struggling to survive with [the] children [it already has] and the mother finds out that she is pregnant, should she still have [another] baby? A 15 year-old girl gets pregnant by her 15-year-old boyfriend after the condom broke.... should she be made to have the baby? There are only a few situations where abortion is the answer. It is not an easy thing to do. A lot of women are emotionally scarred for life. But it is not as hard as giving up a child for adoption after you have carried it for 40 weeks, looking after it, feeling it kick and grow.

There are only a few situations where abortion is the answer. It is not an easy thing to do.

Steven: A mother is a human being, like us all. She can choose to do anything she wishes,according to the [laws of the] United States of America. The fact is, when a pregnant woman uses abortion as a means to the end of her pregnancy, there are serious mental issues that go along with that decision. Also, physical problems may occur in the uterus if the procedure is done incorrectly. The bottom line is that is it crazy that we should believe in an idea proposed by a woman [26] years ago, who is now [by the way] against her original decision [to seek the right to have an abortion.] [Roe vs. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court ruling of January 1973].

(For more information on Roe vs. Wade, go to: http://cnn.com/SPECIALS/1998/roe.wade/ )

I've stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and watched Norma McCorvey [the original "Jane Roe"] enter that incredibly hypocritical building, and deliver a videotape to the Justices. I don't understand how a country that stands upon such moral grounds as this one, could allow abortion to continue. It's a disgrace to this nation and a disgrace to this world.

I do not understand how a country [the USA] that stands upon such moral grounds as this one, could allow abortion to continue.

TI: You both have very strong opinions on this issue...as do many people in this country. The law says that a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion, but obviously, the discussion is not going to end there! Thanks for your time!


 

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