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Sample Argumentative Essay: The Politics of Abortion
An argumentative essay expresses a stance on a topic and demonstrates the stance's validity by presenting arguments based on logic and evidence. This sample argumentative essay tackles the controversial issue of abortion. The stance defended here is that of the pro-choice, arguing that abortion should be legal so as to allow women the freedom to make the best choice for their personal lives. Read on to see how the author builds the argument supporting the thesis and refutes counter-arguments.
The quote “the personal is political” became the rallying cry of second-wave feminists who came to the realization that their personal experiences were shaped by their political situation, which propagates gender inequality among many forms of inequality. This quote continues to ring true for American women whose various rights are being impinged upon by the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade. Being one of the most controversial political debate topics , abortion is an extremely polarizing issue. It has been the topic of essays and debates. However, the issue of abortion is not merely an interesting controversial topic to write about but an issue that deeply affects the lives and futures of women and generations of Americans. People from various demographics have strong opinions about abortion, especially about what the government should do with regard to it. The Republican Party, given its primarily religious members, particularly white evangelicals, believes it is a sin and equates abortion to murder (Blazina, 2022). In contrast, the Democratic Party holds that women should have the option to have an abortion, but that the logical approach is to limit the conditions that allow it. The Democratic Party’s members are not unified in their stance, as some democrats say that abortion should be legal for all cases while others say it should only be legal in certain cases, such as when the mother’s life is in danger. Although abortion is a major political issue that would have major impacts on society, its legalization should not be based on the stand or beliefs of political parties but should be decided solely by the individual because this decision primarily affects them. Each individual has unique situations and reasons for getting an abortion, and each one should be given the right to decide for themselves.
Abortion as a Way Toward Women's Political Freedom
While parenthood is an experience that many desire, this desire is not universal. Furthermore, despite the widely positive experience associated with it, pregnancy and childbirth remain one of the most dangerous things a birthing individual may face. In 2020, a study revealed that 17 out of 100,000 births in the US result in death (Zephyrin and Tikkanen, 2020). The case is even more dangerous for people of color who have less access to healthcare and experience (Zephyrin and Tikkanen, 2020). In some instances, abortion is required to save the health or life of the pregnant person. Furthermore, even if such complications are overcome, unintended pregnancy also has numerous adverse impacts on the mother’s life as well as the family (Sawhill, Karpilow, and Venator, 2014). In particular, unintended childbirth has been a key contributor to the growing class divide since it can contribute to or, for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbate lower educational attainment, lower income, as well as poor mental and physical health (Sawhill, Karpilow, and Venator, 2014). Unintended or mistimed pregnancies have a life-altering impact on the woman’s life beyond the nine months of carrying the pregnancy yet so many women are not well-equipped to prevent this. Due to lack of access and education, plenty of women still cannot take advantage of contraceptives; likewise, there are too many victims of rape. Given these factors that prevent women from preventing unintended pregnancies, they should be given the right to abortion as well as improve the US education system by bolstering it with comprehensive reproductive health education.
What happens to and in their bodies should be a woman’s choice in the same manner that we honor an individual’s living will and advance directives for medical decisions. Advance directives honor an individual’s right to bodily autonomy in case they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. If an unconscious individual has a right to bodily autonomy, what more is a conscious, fully functioning individual who knows that they do not want a pregnancy or want to save themselves from a risk caused by the pregnancy? This decision to terminate or continue with pregnancy should not be controlled by anyone else but the individual. It should not be a political issue, but a personal matter decided in absolute confidence with the guidance of medical professionals.
The issue of abortion is an issue of political freedom. Anti-abortion movements wish to have control over what a woman can and cannot do. Not to mention, they wish to know what women do with their body or health, which should be personal, confidential matters. However, this issue is disguised as an issue of morality, of being about murder—the personal lives of women are being forced into the public domain. Matters like this, however, are incredibly personal and, thus, should be treated as such. Instead of attempting to regulate what a person can do about or with their body, women should be given the rights and the means to seize control of their lives, starting with their own bodies.
The Anti-Abortion Stance
As already alluded, anti-abortion movements argue that abortion is murder and that banning abortion is protecting the life of an unborn child. They argue that abortion does not only affect one person, but also the child since it is the unborn child’s life that is being terminated (Holland, 2016). They argue further that the life of the unborn child should be treated equally to that of the mother.
However, the anti-abortion stance puts importance only on the hypothetical life of an unborn child. Some have gone as far as ascribing roles to it, saying that the unborn child may one day find the cure for cancer. Meanwhile, this argument ignores the various ways an unintended pregnancy could adversely affect the life of the pregnant individual whose life already exists.
Giving women access to abortion would benefit society in a multitude of ways. Abortion not only helps curb the problem of overpopulation, which is one of the reasons the earth’s resources are being overused. Another benefit implicitly caused by abortion is that it helps reduce the number of unwanted children who either go into foster care, are neglected or abused, or become victims of child trafficking (Sawhill, Karpilow, and Venator, 2014). As already discussed, unintended pregnancy tends to have a negative effect on the individual’s or family’s financial status (Sawhill, Karpilow, and Venator, 2014). When an individual or family goes into poverty it puts the children at a disadvantage and at risk for various crimes.
Thus, while this argumentative paper maintains that abortion is a personal issue, the author also acknowledges that people’s personal lives have an effect on society. In this case, allowing women to have power over their personal lives, will have a positive impact on society. When women are empowered to control their fertility, they can acquire education and contribute positively to society.
For women, the personal is indeed very political. The issue of abortion is a primary example: political forces attempt to control their personal lives through legislation that impinges on their right to bodily autonomy and to privacy. It is unlikely that one moral framework will triumph over the other, however, individuals should be accorded their right to exercise their rights according to their own belief systems. Thus, the thesis statement of this argumentative essay (see our guide on how to write an argumentative essay ): the issue of abortion should be treated as a personal matter, to be decided not by politicians or court justices, but by the individual based on their personal beliefs and needs. As the land of the free, the US should respect this as fundamental freedom of each individual.
Blazina, C. (2022, July 15). Key facts about the abortion debate in America. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/07/15/key-facts-about-the-abortion-debate-in-america/
Holland. J. L. (2016, November). Abolishing abortion: The history of the pro-life movement in America. The American Historian. https://www.oah.org/tah/issues/2016/november/abolishing-abortion-the-history-of-the-pro-life-movement-in-america/
Sawhill, I., Karpilow, Q., and Venator, J. (2014, September). The impact of unintended childbearing on future generations. Center on Children and Families at Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/12_impact_unintended_childbearing_future_sawhill.pdf
Zephyrin, L. and Tikkanen, R. (2020, November 18). The shameful abundance of birth- and pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. Stat News. https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/18/shameful-abundance-pregnancy-related-deaths-u-s/