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The Constitutional Issue of Abortion

The Constitutional Issue of Abortion

Three Works Cited Many people believe abortion is only a moral issue, but it is also a constitutional issue. It is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body, and it should not be altered or influenced by anyone else. This right is guaranteed by the ninth amendment, which contains the right to privacy. The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This right guarantees the right to women, if they so choose, to have an abortion, up to the end of the first trimester.

Regardless of the fact of morals, a woman has the right to privacy and choice to abort her fetus. The people that hold a “pro-life” view argue that a woman who has an abortion is killing a child. The “pro-choice” perspective holds this is not the case. A fetus is not yet a baby. It does not posses the criteria derived from our understanding of living human beings.

In a notable defense of this position, philosopher Mary Anne Warren has proposed the following criteria for “person-hood”: 1) consciousness (of objects and events external and or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain. 2) reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems) 3) self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct external control) 4) the capacity to communicate, by whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of possible contents, but on indefinitely many possible topics. 5) the presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness, either individual or social, or both. (Taking Sides -Volume 3).

Several cases have been fought for the right to choose. Many of these have been hard cases with very personal feelings, but the perseverance showed through and gives us the rights we have today. Here are some important cases: 1965 – Griswold v. Connecticut – upheld the right to privacy and ended the ban on birth control. Eight years later, the Supreme Court ruled the right to privacy included abortions. Roe v. Wade was based upon this case. 1973 – Roe v. Wade: – The state of Texas had outlawed abortions. The Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional, but refused to order an injunction against the state. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court voted the right to privacy included abortions.

The Need for Tougher Prisons

The purpose of the prison system was meant to be a deterrent to crime, as a preventative measure and to those who have already committed crimes, it is supposed to keep them from coming back. Obviously this did not work, today there are overcrowded jails and courts that look to any other way to punish a criminal besides jail time. The other options do not work either, they have not reduced the prison population nor have they created a sort of fear of being punished that a tougher system might do(Faugeron 5). I think the prison system should be made tougher, and that the alternatives to prison be used in cases where the crime was very small and the criminal would benefit from some other form of punishment than prison. If the criminal has done something so bad as to end up in prison I would expect that they were being treated in a just fashion. Instead of the system trying to teach inmates a lesson there’s a law that says that “a convicted offender retains all the rights which citizens in general have, except such as must be limited or forfeited to make it possible to administer a correctional or federal agency”(Hawkins 135). In short they are real citizens except that the correctional facility decides when they eat and sleep. I think all prisons should take away the special privileges of prisoners because the system is supposed to deter criminals from committing crimes and instead are inviting them for extended visits. The only way criminals are going to get the point is by creating a prison system that does not allow anything special for the people who have committed crimes and gets back the root of the purpose for having prisons.

Prisons first used the theory of “changing his values so that he will not commit similar offen…

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Cohen, Adam. “A Life for a Life.” Time. Mar. 8, 1999: 30-35.

Faugeron, Claude. “The Changing Functions of Imprisonment.” Prisons 2000: An International Perspective on the Current State and Fututre of Imprisonment. Ed. Roger Matthews and PeterFrancis. MacMillian Press LTD.: London 1996.

Hawkins, Gordon. The Prison, Policy and Practice. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1976.

Laurence, John. A history of Capital Punishment. Citadel Press: New York, 1960.

“Questions and Answers About the Death Penalty.” Daily Tribune. 9 Jan. 1998: A4.

Palmer, Ted. A Profile of Corrctional Effectiveness and New Directions for Research. State University of New York Press: Albany, 1994.

Ten, C.L.. Crime, Guilt, and Punishment. Claredon Press: Oxford, 1987.

Vass, Antony. Punishment, Custody, and the Community. Sage Publications: London, 1990.

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