The right to abortion is widely contested by many regions of the world, especially in the United States. On February 14, a 27-year-old woman from southern Arkansas found herself in the waiting room at Hope Medical Group for Women (an abortion clinic) after traveling for two hours. Traveling to have this type of procedure is common in the United States. The right to abortion has been legal in the USA since 1973, so there is a strong debate between going back on this law or leaving it as it is. These 2 ideas are represented by 2 different sides, the pro-life (against abortion) and the pro-choice (for abortion). In this article, we will present the history of the right to abortion in France as well as in the United States.
The right to abortion in France is represented by a woman, Simone Veil. This woman was a French magistrate and politician. Coming from a Jewish family and a survivor of Auschwitz, she decided after the war, to study law and political science. It was in 1974 that she was appointed Minister of Health by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Beyond her political role, Simone Veil has become the ultimate icon of French feminism, after having adopted the Veil law, which authorizes the voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG). At the time, the passage of this law was preceded by the legalization of contraception in 1967 but especially by the Bobigny trial in 1972, where Five women were tried for the an abortion procedure of a young minor woman who had been raped. This trial was impactful as it led the French to stop prosecuting abortions and to adopt the Veil law (two years later.) The validation of this law divided politicians of the time, and led to heated debates, in particular between the parties of the left (who were for) and the right (who were against). After more than 25 hours of negotiation, the law was finally passed.
Simone Veil at the National Assembly
Even if in France today the right to abortion is still a source of conflict, it has been adopted by most of the population and is far from being questioned. However, this is not the case in all countries, especially in the United States, where abortion has become a major political struggle. Abortion has been authorized in all the states, since January 22, 1973. However, the vote of this law created a political and religious fight, between “pro-choice” and “pro-life”. The pro-choice fought for the right to choose to have an abortion and the pro-life foght for the prohibition of the right to abortion, the right to life. Conflict between these two sides has led the Supreme Court to authorize the right to restrict this law. 487 laws have thus been adopted to reduce its scope across the country.
Between 1992 and 2002, a thousand abortion establishments disappeared and 80% of those remaining were the subject of demonstrations by pro-life opponents. In states like Mississippi, Nebraska, Missouri, there wouldn't even be any left.
Even if this right is officially recognized, it is constantly challenged and if certain States could, they would ban it.
In some states, the laws are so restrictive that it has become very difficult to be able to abort. For example, in May 2019, Alabama passed the most repressive anti-abortion law in the country. A doctor practicing abortion, will serve up to 99 years in prison. No exception is possible even in the event of rape or incest. A small number of clinics remain, clandestine in some of their actions, still allow abortion in their establishment. This can be reassuring to women, even if these interventions are against the laws. Under such conditions, the health of the mother can be compromised because of a lack of equipment or even of experimentation on the part of the doctor. Indeed, few doctors accept to act illegally. For example in Italy, for various reasons (religious, moral, personal), in 2016 70% of gynecologists refused to practice an abortion however abortion is very legal in this European country.
At the arrival of Donald Trump, who calls himself openly pro-life, in power, the law authorizing the voluntary termination of pregnancy had been threatened. He is the first pro-life president in the United States to participate in marches to prove his belief in this ideology. On January 24, the billionaire, also head of the country, participated for the first time in the annual pro-life march in Washington.
"It is a great honor for me to be the first President in history to participate in the March for Life!” The fight is far from over between the two camps.
In a survey by the Pew Research Center in August 2019, 61% of those questioned declared that abortion should be legal in all cases. On the contrary 38% said they were against all circumstances.
Abortion is a right which has the capacity to save many lives, especially if pregnancy puts the life of the woman or that of the fetus at stake. This right exists to prevent children from being born in poor conditions (especially if the mother is not in a good psychological or material situation) or to allow women, victims of rape or incest, to be able to abort this child which was not desired.
The right to abortion, still considered as the last resort by pro-choice, is necessary to improve the lives of women and no longer harm their physical or mental health. This right is then a necessity indeed, yet many regions of the world are against abortion for religious or ethnic reasons. Some practitioners protest in front of abortion clinics and prevent women who have come to have an abortion with sentences such as:
"Do not commit murder, the murderers will go to hell"
"Do not trust this clinic, trust the Lord Jesus Christ"
The violence and radicalism of these practitioners is ] blatant, and the Bible never mentions abortion as a sin. It is written in the sixth commandment ("Thou shalt not kill," Ex. 20.13; Dt. 5.17) that all murder is a sin and therefore condemnable. Then comes the biological-philosophical point of view of the question, which will remain pending; "At what point are we considered to be a living being in their own right?" " The answer to this question would then allow us to know which side between the pro-life and the pro-choice is legitimate.
We can also add how abortion doctors have been executed for practicing abortions... who are the real murderers in these cases? Better would be the death of a Man having the conscience of his person than the death of a fetus not having this conscience? These are extremist ideas. Since 1990 in the United States, 11 murders have been committed against members of clinics or centers performing abortions, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 188 arson attacks, thousands of attempted intrusion there are also the numerous daily harassments that women who have undergone abortion undergo should not be forgotten
"The Legal Status Of Abortion Worldwide", map publish in September 2019
In the South, compared to the North, most of these countries are generally against the legalization of abortion. There is then a strong contrast which is found, again, between the North and the South.
The right to abortion is a right which is not fully acquired especially in United States where this right could quickly disappear. In fact, many states decide to go back. In addition, supported by an openly pro-life leader, the law in favor of abortion is currently threatened. The United States would potentially become a world with the same ideologies as the South. As a result, the North-South barrier would become thinner. We will wait and see what the future holds. Which side will America look at, either pro-life or pro-choice?