Welcome to “Battle of Beliefs,” your one-stop shop to see opposing viewpoints on a current event or social issue. In a culture plagued by political polarity, it is rare to find a space for civil discourse and respectful conversation. That is what this column aims to be: a neutral table where all sides of the argument have a seat. Every article, one representative from both the UT College Republicans and the UT College Democrats will share their opinions about a prevalent topic in our society, whether it be a current event, a social issue that affects Americans or anything in between that is worth discussing.
This week, amid the recent Texas abortion bill and the protesters who visited campus to share their anti-abortion ideas, the topic of discussion is the legality of abortion.
Alexa Worley, College Democrats
Abortions are a fundamental human right and are to remain legal, safe and attainable.
I want to begin that these conversations should be held by those who have a uterus. Men can have an opinion on abortion, but they shouldn’t force or legally stop a woman from doing so. It’s been an obstacle to have to sit and watch cisgendered men create, establish and enforce laws that withhold freedom of choice. Cisgendered men do not have authority of a woman’s choice nor do they have the legal right to do so, contrary to popular gender structure belief.
Embryos and fetuses are not independent and are not viable. They have no personhood at conception and cannot be self-determining beings. When undergoing an abortion, the pregnancy is what’s being terminated, not a baby. What has been misconstrued over the past few years is the language used for political gain and ignoring the medical validity.
State legislators have recently been passing “fetal heartbeat” bills. They are implying that after six weeks of pregnancy, when embryonic cardiac activity is possibly detected, there is a sign of viability. The embryonic cardiac activity is not actually a heartbeat but that of electrical impulses. Viability cannot occur until around 24 weeks. And not that it actually matters, but less than 1% of abortions are performed over 21 weeks.
If abortions were made illegal, women from poor and marginalized groups will suffer the most.
These vulnerable groups consist of those living in poverty, rural areas and young children. They are going to be the ones driven to extremely unsafe abortions. A country with more restrictive abortion laws have 34 deaths per 100,000 childbirths with a rate of unsafe abortions being 23 of 1,000 women. Compare this to a country with less restrictive laws, which have one or fewer deaths per 100,000 childbirths and two out of 1,000 women performing unsafe abortions. There is also an effect on a country who goes from less restrictive abortion laws to more restrictive laws. With new legal restrictions imposed in Romania in 1996, the ratio of deaths increased from 20 to 148 deaths per 100,000 live births. Thankfully, the restrictions backpedaled and decreased to nine deaths per 100,000 live births.
Based on my observations, you are only wanting to control women by pushing this false rhetoric that you are “pro-life,” when in fact you are “pro-birth.” It is time we have these open conversations.
For the opposing viewpoint, what are you doing specifically to be “pro-life?” Are you voting for candidates that want to create and fund more welfare programs for the unprivileged? Are you wanting to create better sex education programs? Will contraceptives and safe sex practices be easily attainable without parental consent? Will you be reconstructing the foster care system? What impact do you create limiting women’s reproductive options?
Maxwell Hawkins, College Republicans
The “my body my choice” argument has faulty reasoning.
A baby is not an extension of the mother but rather a separate entity. At conception, a unique set of DNA is created, in which the zygote has 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 chromosomes from the mother. These chromosomes help determine the baby’s sex and other physical traits. Week two after fertilization, the baby’s heart and a primitive circulatory system will form (Mayo Clinic). Week five after conception, the baby’s head forms. The week after, the baby’s nose forms. Week seven after fertilization, the baby’s toes appear. By week 10, the baby has also formed genitals, fingernails, eyelids and external ears. Just in the first trimester, a fetus has grown many of the traits that are noticeable after birth.
The question of abortion is do parents get to decide to end a child’s life for the sake of their convenience, and if so, where do we draw the line of defining what people are? As it is illegal to end a human’s life, as it should be, it is important to define what qualifies as human life within the lens of fetal development and how that line can affect other groups of people.
Meaning, if individuals define what life is outside of conception and fertilization, that same line would be drawn for other individuals as well. If abortion is allowed when the fetus has a heartbeat, this means that having a heartbeat does not make you human, which means that people with pacemakers do not have human value. The same line can be drawn for lung development and individuals that need an iron lung. If you believe that a fetus is not a human until the brain stops developing, then men below the age of 25 aren’t humans. Also, if you believe sentience is the definitive feature of human life, then people in a coma and people who sleep aren’t people while in those positions.
However, even though a fetus relies on the mother for her body in the developmental stage, that does not end with birth. Even after out of the mother’s body, the baby still relies on the parents for food, water, shelter and the frequent diaper change. Since human life should be defined under conception and fertilization, this means that humans themselves cannot define what life is, rather science and nature do. Under this reasoning, therefore no one has a “fetus shower,” but it’s called a baby shower because it’s a human.
Under the Fifth and 14th Amendment of the Constitution, the government cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty and property” without due process of law. Since a “person” is defined under conception and fertilization, due to the unique DNA, this does include the fetus.
It is worth noting that there are other issues that incentivize abortions, like poverty and a flawed foster care system, and these issues need to be dealt with as well. Nevertheless, approximately 62 million abortions have been conducted in the United States since 1973 (CDC).
Genocide of human life is unacceptable. Condoms are free in the TRECS.
Thank you to Alexa and Maxwell for representing their two organizations this week. Keep an eye out for the next issue of “Battle of the Beliefs” in the near future.
UT College Democrats and UT College Republicans are student run organizations dedicated to increasing political activity in students and electing political officials of their political parties in all level of government. Check out their Instagrams at @utcollegedems and @gopatutk.
Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.