By Kamakshi Dadhwal
Women’s right to choose, in the matter of abortion, is a fundamental human right, and reproductive freedom protected by the United States Constitution. This hasn’t stopped the state legislature of Florida from passing Bill 865, which would ban all abortions except those that would prevent the mother from serious injury. Members of the Florida House claim to be “compelled” to save the lives of the mother and the unborn child because they are recognized citizens of Florida, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles Van Zant. Evidently, the present lawmakers have it all backwards, since they claim that the unborn and unviable child is first a citizen of Florida. They seem to completely disregard the fact that the fetus is first and foremost a biological growth in the mother.
According to the bill, “the Legislature finds that all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at the earliest biological development of a fertilized human egg.” The pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion debate has been ongoing for decades and about 50 percent of Americans, as of May 2015, identify themselves as “pro-choice,” 44 percent as “pro-life”, and the remaining 6 percent don’t care, according to Gallup’s annual abortion opinion poll. As citizens all over the US statistically move towards a pro-choice stance, the legislature in Florida clearly has a regressive approach. The bill completely ignores the scientific fact that a fertilized human egg is not capable of being alive in the human sense; it cannot sustain life without being dependent on the mother’s body. The mother has a constitutional right to choose whether or not she wants to provide bodily dependence for such an organism.
Moreover, we know that the dependence of a child does not end at birth. If members of the House claim to care so much about the lives that “come from the Creator,” then they ought to open their eyes to the realities that await the future Floridians who are born from lawful compulsion. Many of these unwanted children are bound to face domestic neglect. Conversely, allowing abortion has historically lowered crime rates, according to the statistics in Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics. Owing to such facts, it is plain to see that the best way for the Legislature to better the lives of Florida’s citizens would be to understand the psychological repercussions and disastrous potential of their decision.
By claiming to have an interest in protecting citizens, the House members are deluding themselves. The House may be able to force women by law to not get an abortion– if these women are unable to travel to other states– and have a baby, but it will not be able to force the men in these women’s lives to stick around to share the babies’ responsibility. The House won’t provide these mothers with money to take care of their children’s needs, with or without a loving father. The House won’t be able to ensure that each child is physically, emotionally and mentally looked after in the way that each child deserves. There is grave injustice in such a step towards both the mother and the child. Forcing people to unwillingly become parents, even if they deserve to be held responsible for their consensual actions, seldom yields positive results.
Pro-choice is not a stance for men and women to engage in reckless sexual activities, unlike what many pro-life propagators convey. Pro-choice is the stance to change the image of our future generations in a way that all children are born out of love and are given a life of care and emotional stability, which only parents who actually want children are capable of giving. It seems inevitable that the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling, from 1973, will make for a tremendous amount of public upheaval, lawsuits, and protests in Florida’s cities against the Legislature’s decision. Either way, it would be wonderful if Florida’s lawmakers come to realize, by themselves, that they are a part of a democracy where liberty is not only celebrated but also revered. Giving women the right to choose for themselves, whether or not they want a child, is essential to the basic form of freedom. The Legislature ought not to try and snatch it away just because the popular vote in the House was won by some vague definition of what it means to “protect citizens.”