Should States Pass Legislation to Restrict Access to Abortion?

The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is still one of the most hotly discussed rulings in the history of the high court. Despite great efforts by anti-abortion supporters, the core tenants of that decision have remained in place for nearly 50 years now. However, these tenants are once again being challenged, as the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case concerning a Mississippi law that would outlaw abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The upcoming case raises a key question about the role of state governments on this issue: Should states pass legislation to restrict access to abortion?

Those who support states passing legislation to restrict access to abortion argue that current laws do not adequately protect the unborn’s right to life. They contend that the fundamental job of government is to protect the life of all, and an abortion is equivalent to killing a fetus. Additionally, this side may argue that the Supreme Court created a new law in its ruling in Roe v. Wade and that it should instead be the job of state governments to decide what restrictions can apply to abortions.

Those who oppose states passing legislation to restrict access to abortion argue that doing so is a violation of a woman’s right to privacy and the ability to make decisions about her body. This side may argue that an unborn fetus has not adequately developed yet to have rights, and that therefore the focus should be on the woman’s right to choose what she wants done. Finally, they may claim that the Supreme Court did not create a new law in Roe v. Wade, but rather simply interpreted the Constitution to invalidate a previously existing law. They argue that it is oppressive for state governments to pass laws that go beyond what that decision allowed for abortion restrictions.

So, what do you think? Should states pass legislation to restrict access to abortion? Students can answer Yes, they should; No, they should not; or a nuanced answer in-between!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner

-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 47%
No: 53%
  • Justus from Texas

    Right to Life is superior because the right to choose is limited when it comes in conflict with another’s life

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    • Howard from Kentucky

      Despite the fact that they believe it is the right to kill a baby it is not. It is illegal if it does not follow the heartbeat bill and would be murder if heart beat is detected. 6 months pregnant should not get a abortion and despite physical or mental problems the child may have if they don’t want them someone can adopt them. And babies have rights to just because they can’t talk and are hard to understand does not mean they not people. The fact that they are killing them should be against the law and they should have to face fines and jail time.

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      Despite the fact that they believe it is the right to kill a baby it is not. It is illegal if it does not follow the heartbeat bill and would be murde…

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  • Grace from Tennessee

    When I was only eleven years old, I had an unforeseen conversation with my friend about abortion. I believed that an unborn baby was still a human being and that abortion was wrong. Every apple tree comes from an apple seed, so if you kill the apple seeds, you kill the apple trees. My friend also believed that abortion was wrong, except in the case of rape. At eleven, I had never thought of this aspect. Of course, I knew about rape, how horrific and traumatic it was, and that no one deserved that to happen to them. Then, I thought about myself and what I would do in that situation, and I was internally conflicted. My heart beat faster as I thought about how horrible it would be to live with that memory and how the baby would remind me of the rape that happened. Still, I couldn’t agree with my friend’s statement, something in my heart told me that it was not okay. I reluctantly said, “I still think it’s wrong. I don’t exactly know why, but that is a baby’s life.” I was uncertain about it then, but I am certain about what I have researched and studied now. Abortion is murder and the federal government has the responsibility to protect these lives.

    Neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb has immense medical knowledge and experience on several levels. She works as a consultant to mothers with high-risk pregnancies, has had difficult pregnancies herself, and she said that abortions are never medically necessary to preserve the life of a mother. She lists several issues that can arise that would result in risk to a mother and an early delivery of the baby before they are able to survive outside of the womb, which occurs around 22 to 24 weeks of life, would be the method of helping the mother to survive, as her life is important too. Those situations are considered a preterm delivery, not an abortion. Abortions are not medically necessary, and the life of babies should be respected, cared about, and honored. After all, we were all once at that stage of life. Dr. Kolb states this:

    “The fact that every year, thousands of abortion procedures are done on babies that are the same gestational age as many of the babies I routinely care for, is something that very deeply and profoundly disturbs me as a physician. These babies move, breathe, can hear, cry and feel pain. The second trimester Dilation and Evacuation procedure, or D and E, involves dismembering the baby by tearing off his or her arms and legs, and crushing their bodies and skulls even while they are still alive. The 3rd Trimester induction procedure involves a lethal injection with a large needle into the baby’s heart or head” (“‘Abortion Can Be Medically Necessary’”).

    Jennifer Christine and Ashley Sigrest were both tragically raped. Jennifer did not have an abortion and said this:

    “I was told that ‘If you just abort, everything will be okay, and you’ll forget. If you just abort, then you can move on.’ There is no forgetting. No woman is ever going to forget what happened to her. I was told so many times that ‘If you’d just abort, you won’t always have this reminder hanging over your head. This reminder: Is my son a reminder? He absolutely is. My son is a reminder every day that as women we can rise above our circumstances. My son is a reminder that love is always stronger than hate, and that who we are as human beings is not determined by how we were conceived.”

    Rape is a terrible thing, it is not something that can disappear. It has emotional, mental, and physical impacts on a woman and her child. This doesn’t mean that a woman needs to abort her child, she also has the option of putting the baby up for adoption. Abortion also has a terrible impact on a woman and a deathly one on her child. Ashley Sigrest had an abortion. She had this to say:

    “… I could never, ever deal with my rape, because I was so focused on what I had done in choosing abortion. And that’s what people don’t understand. When they tell rape victims, ‘Oh yes, have an abortion. So that way, you can go on and we can deal with the rape.’ But the abortion just makes the rape 1,000 times worse. Because now you have these two horrible events that you have to deal with.”

    Rapists need to be punished by the for their actions. Babies need to be protected because it was not their fault. Stephanie Reynolds was conceived in rape and she said this: “This is a very personal topic for me, because my own mother was a victim of rape. And she chose life—my life. When someone says that children conceived in rape should be aborted, they are talking about me. My mother saw that my life was not worth less than anyone else’s simply because of the way I was conceived, and that I should not be put to death for the crimes of my father” (“Abortion In Cases of Rape”).

    The federal government must create a legal protection provision for the lives of the unborn babies. States should not be left to decide the fate of their young because it is the responsibility of the federal government to protect those civil liberties. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says this:

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    This explicitly disallows states the rights to “make or enforce any law” that deprives ANY person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Abortions kill babies who have no legal proceeding to protect their rights, they are voiceless and cant speak, they need to be protected on the federal level in their most vulnerable state. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The baby is not given a chance at life, this is unconstitutional and should not be left to the states to decide.

    Other arguments for abortion state that unborn babies are not human beings. Guess who else were not considered human beings? Slaves and black people about 100 years ago and before. Horrifically, the majority of people in that time believed that this was justified. However, it is not, it was not, and it will never be. A document that can be found at the U.S. House of Representatives website dating June 2015 says that over fifty-four million babies had been aborted and that 79% of abortions were by black women and that the same percentage of abortion facilities are “strategically located within walking distance of African and/or Hispanic communities.” These women are products of a social construct that dictates what behavior is accepted and the deceptions of the many outlets saying that abortion is the best option, when it is not. Abortion is the killing of our people, all races. Abortion is also the tragic and disproportionate killing of Black people. This must end. ALL human lives should be respected, and a baby is a human in the mother’s womb, no matter how they were conceived. One crime should not result in another crime against an uninvolved party, especially an innocent child. Abortion should be illegal in every aspect, completely and fully. The very least that states could do is restrict access to this immoral act. In the future, generations will see abortion as we see slavery now: unthinkable, immoral, corrupt, and wrong. Because that is exactly what it is.

    Works Cited:
    “‘Abortion Can Be Medically Necessary.’” Live Action, prolifereplies.liveaction.org/medically-necessary/.
    “Abortion In Cases of Rape.” Live Action, prolifereplies.liveaction.org/abortion-in-cases-of-rape/.
    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/amendments-11-27
    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs
    https://docs.house.gov/meetings/JU/JU10/20171101/106562/HHRG-115-JU10-Wstate-ParkerS-20171101-SD001.pdf

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    When I was only eleven years old, I had an unforeseen conversation with my friend about abortion. I believed that an unborn baby was still a human bei…

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  • Natalie from South Carolina

    When is a human a human? How old (or young, or healthy, or cognizant) does a person have to be to have fundamental rights? Our constitution supports the rights of EVERY AMERICAN, and the moment we start ruling out certain groups as unworthy of basic rights is the moment we start tearing apart America’s founding principle of the equality of all humankind.
    The idea that one can be too young to have basic human rights reminds me of a line in George Orwell’s book “Animal Farm”: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Abortion can only survive on that kind of oxymoron. Taking a human life is murder – regardless of the length of that life.

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    When is a human a human? How old (or young, or healthy, or cognizant) does a person have to be to have fundamental rights? Our constitution supports t…

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  • Leah from Missouri

    I vote yes. The primary job of the government is to protect and govern all life–black, white, mixed nominations, born and unborn. The Roe V. Wade ruling is taking away an American’s right to life. When a woman decides to have a medical procedure done, she is making a choice for her body. When a woman decides to have an abortion done however, she is making a choice for not only herself, but more importantly, her child. She is speaking, thinking, doing, and choosing for her child. Please note I did not say, “medical procedure” when talking about an abortion, for it is anything but that. Our country has labeled abortion as many different things to avoid calling it by it’s rightful name, murder. Instead, it is called “a medical procedure,” “termination of pregnancy,” or other such names. In other words, people try to sugar coat the bloody murder it really is.
    I have heard arguments that say “I was caught up in the moment,” and “I cannot afford the expense of a baby,” but those are all lies. There are government and religious programs out there to provide assistance to women in crisis, many would even put the child up for adoption to find a loving home for him or her. As for the other excuse, birth control is widely available to all women, many times at little to no cost.
    How is a baby a baby only when him or her is wanted? Women talk to their babies, and call them loving names, buy them clothes in anticipation for his or her arrival, just days into their pregnancy. How is it just a “fetus” though, months into pregnancy when the baby is not wanted?
    I have also heard the argument of “Well, shouldn’t we provide assistance to these women if they are going to go through a abortion, safe facility or not?” I vote no. Abortion is not a new thing; It has been happening since long before Planned Parenthood was in business. Abortion does not improve the lives of women seeking them.
    When you look into the eyes of a newborn baby, they are alive. They kick, cry, eat, cuddle, they are alive. They did not become a person and start growing the second they came out of the womb. They were alive, even then. If someone murders a two year old, they end up in prison, but an unborn life, who can think, see, touch, feel, is nothing but a “medical procedure.” Just think about that. I vote yes.

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    I vote yes. The primary job of the government is to protect and govern all life–black, white, mixed nominations, born and unborn. The Roe V. Wade rul…

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  • Stella from Pennsylvania

    As with a multitude of politically charged topics, one often hears the emotion of America’s abortion debate first: claims of babies ripped from the womb “moments before birth,” horrifying descriptions of maternal mortality, eulogies of people unborn. However, such pathos-based arguments ignore a more logical approach. Based on the parties involved (mothers, unborn children, and communities), this topic should be evaluated through the standard of quality of life.

    Abortion arguments are often framed around late-term abortions, defined here as those occurring after 21 weeks of gestation. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, under 2% of abortions occur after 21 weeks. In fact, a majority of over 90% occur within the first 14 weeks of gestation. Additionally, late-term abortions are often necessary for protecting maternal health – within Roe v. Wade itself, there is a provision to protect mothers’ rights to an abortion in cases of medical emergency, regardless of state law.

    Early-term abortions, which constitute a strong majority, present an interesting dilemma: is human life at any stage “sacred,” or should one prioritize the quality of life for a mother who may not want (or be able) to support a child? The sanctity of life argument, appealing as it may seem, does not consider the adoption argument presented as an abortion alternative. In a country with an already overwhelmed foster care system, children often face a poor quality of life in foster care.

    In summary, preserving a woman’s right to an abortion improves the quality of life for mothers and unborn children while reducing the strain on an overburdened foster care system. Given stakes of literal life and death, it is vital that the United States give this issue the thorough consideration it deserves.

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    As with a multitude of politically charged topics, one often hears the emotion of America’s abortion debate first: claims of babies ripped from the …

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    • Leah from Missouri

      Hi Stella,
      You made some really argument and I respect your opinion. My question though is this: What if you were one of the 2% that you talked about when discussing abortion rates? I vote pro-life, so I believe that any “fetus” is a living, breathing life from the moment of conception. I understand that foster care is a huge problem in our world today. I also understand that the quality of life those kids experience is less than children who are not in foster care. However, I just cannot believe that they are better off dead. I realize stuff is easier said than done, but my thought to this would be to increase the number of Christian, non-profit organizations out there who are working to provide homes or assistance to women in crisis. Coming from a conservative church with hundreds in attendance, I know first hand how many people would love to give money or even adopt a child of a mother who planned on aborting. Many times, it is not that a mother wants her child dead, rather, she feels it is her last resort. If America increased the number of clinics working for the unborn, I believe many lives could be saved. I know many would ask, “How would you fund something like that?” It does back to what I said before. There are thousands who would love to work with and give money to an organization like this.
      Again, I really enjoyed hearing your opinion, and feel you made some good points that I would not have thought of. I just wanted to throw out another opinion and idea. Thanks!

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      Hi Stella,
      You made some really argument and I respect your opinion. My question though is this: What if you were one of the 2% that you talked about…

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  • Justus from Pennsylvania

    Absolutely. The abortion argument has many flaws.
    1) Bad constitutional precedent. The Supreme Court overstepped its power in Roe when it suddenly nullified hundreds of laws in all 50 states with it’s ruling. It defied past precedent by applying a due process clause (a clause saying your rights cannot be taken away without a speedy, public trial, etc.) and said that that abortion is a liberty, therefore, it cannot be taken away. The problem is that there is no liberty to abortion.

    2) My rights end where your rights begin. A woman is free to some extent to do what she wants with her body, but that right ends where the body and life of another human being begins. Abortion cannot be a liberty, because it infringes on another being’s life. This makes abortion licentiousness, not liberty.

    3) Does not behave like a right. Also, if it is a right, why is abortion the only “right” trying to be subsidized? Free speech, religion, assembly, etc. are never subsidized, so why is abortion receiving special treatment? Answer: it is not a right.

    4) Moral wrong. Abortion justified taking another, weaker beings life because it’s inconvenient for the stronger beings. How morally repugnant. The mark of a great society is one where the strong protect the weak and innocent. Abortion kills the weak and innocent because the strong will it.

    The sixth commandment says: Thou Shalt Not Murder. Taking the life of a baby for no reason, and having unfettered abortion itself is morally wrong. Therefore, there should be restrictions on abortion.

    So while I think this should be an issue for the states, I would like to see the Supreme Court rule that abortion deprives a human being of their God-given right to life, is murder, and therefore should not be upheld as a right.

    Abortion clearly requires restrictions, because unfettered liberty is merely disguised licentiousness.

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    Absolutely. The abortion argument has many flaws.
    1) Bad constitutional precedent. The Supreme Court overstepped its power in Roe when it suddenly nu…

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  • Bo from Wyoming

    This is unconstitutional in my opinion. It protects her rights, aswell as the doctor-patient confidentiality act which protects her medical procedures.

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  • Jonah from Ohio

    A women gets to be in control of her own body. Period. End of Discussion. Good Night, Sweet Dreams. There is no way to stop abortions from happening. There is no way to determine when life begins. This bill is just another misogynistic attempt to stop women from having rights over their own body. Legislation that prevents this will just make back-alley abortions more prevalent, putting more women at risk. It would also make miscarriages be looked into, and investigated. This causes more trauma for a family who is probably already grieving. Furthermore, is it really right to send a woman to jail because she got screwed over by life? Legislation like this isn’t pro-choice, it’s anti-woman.

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    A women gets to be in control of her own body. Period. End of Discussion. Good Night, Sweet Dreams. There is no way to stop abortions from happening. …

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  • Artem from Illinois

    Abortions are not desirable. In fact, the consensus between all Americans – one of the very few things that pro-choice and pro-life people agree upon – is that abortions should ideally be minimized. However, with the current realities in the US, restricting it by passing prohibitory legislation would be a mistake. Abortion is not so much a “choice” as a last resort. A half of all abortions are made by women below the federal poverty line, and 73% of women undergoing an abortion report not being able to afford a baby was the reason for their decision (https://www.usccb.org/committees/pro-life-activities/poverty-and-abortion-vicious-cycle). As such, restricting abortion will place a large strain on government resources by requiring both more funding for foster care facilities for the newly abandoned children and more assistance to low-income Americans, who will now be even more impoverished due to having unwanted kids. These children, who would otherwise not be born, would be brought up in destitute households, likely neglected by their parents and their government. A disproportionate number would be left fatherless, plunging them further into poverty and emotional struggles (https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/09/30/single-parent-families-are-more-likely-to-face-poverty-and-theyre-more-likely-to-be-black/). Due to the extremely low social mobility in America, impoverished children are much more likely to drop out of high school, not get higher education, use narcotics, join gangs, and partake in virtually all harmful behaviors. Half of these kids remain poor for the majority of their childhood, and a third remain poor in adulthood (http://webarchive.urban.org/publications/901356.html). These people then have premarital unprotected relations, and the cycle continues. As such, restricting access to abortion would only cause more misery, more suffering, more poverty, more crime. Abortion bans do not battle the root of the problem, but instead try to cure the symptoms at the expense of women’s rights and livelihoods of lower class Americans. These laws try to protect the right to live of an unconscious and unfeeling clump of cells. In return, they infringe on the right to a safe, secure, happy life of people that are completely and undoubtedly alive and conscious, existing independently of their mothers. The true way to battle abortions is not to overturn Roe v Wade. Instead, it is to improve sex education, access to birth control, quality of life, and social mobility. As a result, the very need for abortions will nearly disappear.

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    Abortions are not desirable. In fact, the consensus between all Americans – one of the very few things that pro-choice and pro-life people agree upon …

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  • Heidel from Ohio

    It’s fundamental legislation for women to be in control of her reproductive rights. The government is separated from religious beliefs, and many of the arguments believe that life is at conception due to religious institutions that shape that narrative. However, scientifically the fetus can’t be sustained until at least the second trimester, therefore first trimester abortions should be sustained for cases of incest, rape, and for those who lack proper access to birth control: as in young adults and accidental failures of current birth control.

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    It’s fundamental legislation for women to be in control of her reproductive rights. The government is separated from religious beliefs, and many of th…

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  • ahna from Minnesota

    Abortions will happen regardless if they are legal. What’s more important the health and well-being of the person already on this earth or of the fetus which is essentially not a person yet.

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    Abortions will happen regardless if they are legal. What’s more important the health and well-being of the person already on this earth or of the fetu…

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  • Katelyn from Nevada

    No, any state should not have a say with what a woman does with her body. Many lawmakers are worried what happens to an “un-born babies,” but they do not provide support for mothers and children after the child is born. The foster care system is overrun with children without homes, and proper funds are not given to the system to take care of these children. Also, support is not given to LGBTQ+ and immigrant children. Those who are “pro-life” are not really pro-life, because they do not give any support the children who are already born. A fetus is not a living being because it can not survive outside of the woman’s body. If they fetus was a living being, shouldn’t a pregnant woman be able to take out life insurance for a fetus and collect insurance money if they miscarry. Also, shouldn’t child support start at conception. Law-makers are often “pro-birth,” but they do not care about the mother and child after the child is born.

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    No, any state should not have a say with what a woman does with her body. Many lawmakers are worried what happens to an “un-born babies,” but they…

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  • Zoe from Georgia

    My body my rights. Instead of banning abortions, increase access to a comprehensive sexual education program. Increase access to free birth control for all sexes. Increase welfare programs to help single parents and children in poverty.

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    My body my rights. Instead of banning abortions, increase access to a comprehensive sexual education program. Increase access to free birth control fo…

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