Three days ago pro life advocate group March for Life lined the steps of the capital building in Olympia to protest the current abortion laws, and to show support for a new bill introduced by R-Spokane Valley Senator Mike Padden that would require parent notification for abortions requested by minors. This comes at the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision which saw the legalization of abortion across the country. The rights of women over their own bodies is under serious attack, and there are many factors that must be considered when delving into this highly controversial subject.
The new bill proposed by Senator Mike Padden, on the surface, seems like a very rational approach since consent from parents is mandatory for minors to do anything from driving a vehicle to getting a tattoo. However, what pro lifers aren't taking into account are cases of incestual rape and the rate of children born out of unwanted pregnancies. One Michigan teen in 1992, to her attorney before a judicial bypass hearing, may have stated it better than anyone so far:
"I am mature enough to know that I am too immature to have a baby."
As for life beginning at conception, this argument has been shot down by scientists for decades yet the Religious Right have either denied the validity of these studies, or completely misinterpreted the results. Conception, or fertilization, is not an exact point of time that immediately afterward a human life is formed. Rather it is a process that takes at least 8 weeks before a grouping of cells can form into a recognizable fetus. All human cells are alive, from skin cells to sperm and ova. This does not mean that a living human being is created simply by the process of fertilization. With this line of reasoning, the potential for human life began 4 billion years ago when single celled organisms began to become more complex and that means that all cells, human or not, are inherently related. So if the potential for human life begins at conception, then all potentiality should be considered, as one anonymous grad student has eloquently put it:
"[Y]oung children are potential adults, but it doesn't follow that we should give them the right to vote. Adults are potential seniors, but they won’t get a senior’s discount. Seniors have the inherent capacity to be dead, but we should not treat them like they are corpses."
A very controversial study by economist Steven D. Levitt, covered in his bestselling non fiction work Freakonomics shows a crime rate trend that directly correlates with the decision in Roe v. Wade. Levitt's study shows a comparison with the crime rate in Romania after outlawing abortion, and the crime rate after legalization of abortion with Roe v. Wade in America. Romania saw an unprecedented influx of crime in the decades following abortion being made illegal, and in America the crime rates actually went down in the decades following Roe v. Wade. With the legalization of abortion a whole generation of children being born into poverty and severe living conditions that might subject them to criminality were instead never born. This is a murky piece of statistical information to wade through, and it seems almost inhumane to even consider abortion on this premise. However, the facts are there and the study, though scrutinized by many, does rely on concrete statistics.
What the question really boils down to is a woman's right to have control over her own body. With the recent influx of gun control opposition by the same people that want to outlaw abortion, a rational person sees a hypocrisy taking place. An American has the right to own a tool specifically designed to kill, but a woman does not have the right to own her body and to make decisions for her future. Yeah, that makes total sense.