America has long been associated with the idea of freedom, our emblem an image of a bald eagle soaring the skies unchallenged and free. As an American, I can truthfully say that we like to wear our freedom like a cape and tut tut at the mistakes of the past, shaking our heads and saying “We would never deny anyone anything they were entitled to today.” And yet every year thousands of American women have the option of getting an abortion torn away from them due to unfair restrictions imposed on a service that is their constitutional right. Truthfully it looks as if we aren’t that different from our predecessors.
Under Roe v. Wade, the bill passed in 1973, abortion is a woman’s constitutional right. It is clear and simple and yet the some states seem to be struggling with this particular concept. Despite legalizing abortion there are still so many unreasonable restrictions being imposed that in some states such as North Carolina, Arizona, and Arkansas it becomes near impossible for a woman to get an abortion. These women may not go through with having an abortion but because of restrictive laws they are denied a chance to even consider that option. Furthermore there are “waiting periods” between the first consultation and the actual procedure itself. Now this may seem all fine and dandy but this condition results in time and travel constraints on a woman who can’t afford the trips back and forth probably because she has to work two jobs just to make ends meet which is most likely the reason she needs the abortion in the first place.
You may want to dismiss the fact that restrictions on abortions aren’t an issue but with the recent “fetal heartbeat” law of North Dakota it becomes difficult to deny that the issue has reached a new peak of unreasonable. The law passed in March of 2013 is the harshest in the country and bans abortion after six weeks as that is when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. However some women don’t even know they are pregnant at six weeks therefore denying them one of their basic rights despite the fact that they weren’t aware of their pregnancy. Though a US Judge has ruled against the law; striking it down, North Dakota has appealed against this ruling and is attempting to get the law read by one more judge.
A law like this is not only unfair but downright deceitful, just imagine for one second that you are in an abusive relationship and you think you may be pregnant, however since you are so afraid you don’t know for sure until after six weeks. You know you don’t want to bring a baby into this world but it’s already been over six weeks and you can’t afford to travel to another state to get an abortion. A lot of thought is often given to the fact that by having an abortion you are killing a human being; however the fetus’s life isn’t the only life that is of value. The mother’s life matters too and by restricting her access to abortion you are requiring her to have a child that could force her to stay in an abusive relationship, to give up her dreams, or to struggle in poverty. Even worse restrictions like these are forcing those in desperate need of an abortion back into the pre Roe v. Wade era when deaths via coat hangers and back alley abortions were a commonality.
It is our job as citizens, no as human beings to ensure that laws like this never come to pass so that a woman never has to die slowly because she is stuck in a life she never wanted. North Dakota may not want that fetus’s heart to stop beating but its heart isn’t the only one in the picture.
The fact of the matter is that abortion is legal and no matter how much you disagree with it, no restriction that hinders a woman’s constitutional rights should ever be permitted to pass. By putting restrictions on abortion you are essentially putting restrictions on her womb, which makes one wonder whether or not a woman’s body is hers and hers alone or just property of the Government. If America is going to preach about rights and freedom then it needs to make sure that every one of those rights is carried out. It is time to put one foot out and take a step forward, change needs, no begs to be made. Even stopping one restriction such as North Dakota’s ban on abortion from being passed is a step forward, a tiny step but a step nonetheless. We must ensure that no one looks back on this part of America’s history as we look back on segregation and slavery.