Abortion Rights in the United States

Hi! My name is Piper White. I’m a teenager in the bay area of California. I’ve attended many women’s marches over the years and that is were my inspiration for this project came from. I wanted to look into the different perspectives held by multitudes of people.

The Roe V. Wade Court Case in 1973 legalized abortion across the United States but within recent years the American mindset towards abortion has become exponentially more aggressive and the laws surrounding the matter have tightened. My goal with this project was to look ethically of abortions from different perspectives in order to understand why we have become more anti-abortion as a nation.

Why is it so controversial

Choice. That’s why the discussion never ends. There are 4 bioethical principals that we discussed in this class: autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. All 4 of these principals apply to either side of the abortion argument which has lead the laws in our nation to constantly shift as both sides continue to argue for their beliefs.

  • Autonomy
    • The principle that states people have the right to make their own choices if they are mentally capable of doing so.
  • Non-Maleficence
    • The principle that supports causing as little harm as possible in a given situation.
  • Beneficence
    • The principle that emphasizes benefiting the person the most via the information provided to them by their health care provider.
  • Justice
    • This principal typically this consists of if the choice being made is legal and who has the legal right to make the decision.

View 1: Pro-Life

Pro-Life emphasizes the importance of human life and believes no pregnancy should be terminated.

  • Autonomy
    • This principle is not a super dependable one for pro-life supporters. An argument could be made the fetus had no say in losing its life because its mother terminated the pregnancy.
  • Non-Maleficence
    • This is the most common argument made by people who are pro-life. They’re defending the fact that when an abortion occurs it is ending a life. The principal nonmaleficence goal is to cause harm to a few people as possible.
  • Beneficence
    • Doctors are required to provide all options to patients regarding their health. That includes options of adoptions in the case of abortion.
  • Justice
    • Abortions are illegal in some states so an argument can be made there and also over the fact that women are making a choice to terminated a pregnancy which took two to create and a life which has no say. So neither the father or child has a say in a situation they are involved in.

View 2: Pro-Choice

Pro-Choice is about as simple as its name. The idea is that it is the woman’s body and therefore it is her choice to make. Planned Parent Hood has been under fire as of late by the pro-life action league because they provide women with affordable reproductive help if they wish to use it.

  • Autonomy
    • The principal of autonomy applies here as it is the woman who is pregnant who is affected most. It is her body that will have to carry a child to term or her body that has to go through the abortion process. She is arguably the most affected person by this choice and pro-choice groups make commonly this their main argument.
  • Non-Maleficence
    • This principle is defendable by pro-lifers under a couple of circumstances. 1) If the child being carried will cause the mother major harm if she gives birth. 2) If the child will suffer from a harming condition.
  • Beneficence
    • Heath Providers must offer the option of abortion is legal in that state. Other than that there are not a lot of reasons to make this a definable position.
  • Justice
    • The main argument made using this principal is that if abortion is legal women have the right to chose it for themselves. Arguing that it is their body and their choice as the law states it is.

Statistics of Abortions in the U.S.

Real Life Stories

Story 1: Lexington, Massachusetts

A mother living in Lexington with her husband found out she was pregnant with their fourth child. Her husband told her she should only have the child if it was a boy because they already had 3 girls. The woman refused to take a gender test because she felt it was wrong and her husband pushed her into having an abortion. She cried the entire time she was waiting at the clinic and it scared her for the rest of her life. She ended up divorcing her husband and still thinks of the child she lost years ago.

The principal of autonomy is called into question here. The woman went through with the abortion but she was heavily influenced by her husband to the point where the decision cannot be determined as her own.

Story 2: Oklahoma City, United States

Ashley lives in Oklahoma City and suffered from an emotionally abusive relationship. She had already had two kids with her husband and when she found out she was pregnant with their third she started researching her options because she was filled with dread about being pregnant. She felt that having a third kid would harm her already unsteady mental heath and prohibit her from being a good mother to her children. She medically had an abortion through planned parent hood and was 100% happy with her choice. She knew she was in a rough place and needed to heal herself before introducing something new into her life.

The principal of autonomy is exercised here because Ashley knew her options and choose what she believed to be best for her. She exercised her right to autonomy and non-maleficence as she believed she would struggle to parent her children well if she had another child because she did not want to have a child that would have come from her abusive relationship.

To be this project was important because it allowed be to deep dive into the differnt aspects and view points surronding abortoins. I thought about how differnt situations could affect differnet peple and wy they would make the choices they did. It allows me to be more open minded when discussing this topic in the future and understand where people are coming from.


  • Here are links to major organizations and more information regarding abortions other reproductive services I found while researching.
  • National Organizations
    1. Planned Parent Hood
    2. STD Test Centers
    3. Kaiser
      • If you are a member of Kaiser this is an interesting page to read – they have specific rules about when they can tell legal guardians/parents information and what information can be shared.
  • Bay Area Organizations
    1. FPA Women’s Health

Provide Your Thoughts

Here is a link to a google form. Its goal is to gather information from teens about their thoughts on abortion and the thoughts of their communities.

project sources

Share this project
  1. April 26, 2019 by Lilly.Whitner

    Hi Piper! Really interesting topic here and you laid out all the information really clearly so well done! One thing that caught my eye — that I hadn’t heard before in this highly publicized and politicized debate — is the statistics on 2006 vs 2016 states and their stance on abortion. I was really surprised to see that more states are “hostile” to abortion now, than in 2006. That’s crazy to me. It seems like — just by looking at those graphs — things are moving to a more traditionally conservative viewpoint. So, my question for you — what do you attribute this to? Given that the 2016 maps were generated after a 2-term democrat president… I find this all really interesting! Did you find anything in your research that would explain this trend demonstrated on the maps?

  2. April 28, 2019 by Minea.Hill

    I’m really glad you weren’t afraid to take on such a controversial topic. I believe you did so in a very effective way, through analyzing both sides to effectively bringing all aspects to light. I understand that a large part of individuals choosing the pro-life side is due to religious beliefs. It is unconstitutional for those in a position of power to push their religious beliefs on the masses and this is a huge issue for me. I am aware that there are other factors as well, however it is still a part of it at some point. Do you think that protestors should be allowed to stay in the parking lot of planned parenthood and yell at those entering? Again, this is a constitutional right but does this go against the safety of those entering?

  3. April 29, 2019 by Kaili Nakanishi

    Hey Piper! Well done on your presentation. I found it interesting that states are becoming even more hostile to abortion than before. That’s kind pretty shocking!

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