A woman speaks during a protest on the Pentacrest in Iowa City on Saturday, May 5. The protest was held in response to Gov. Kim Reynolds's signing of a new bill that will ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected in the early stages of pregnancy. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Laursen: Abortion politics continues to manipulate voters

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Abortion has become an extremely polarized issue in the United States. Instead of considering the legality of banning abortions, politicians are quick to take political stances that perpetuate polarization.

By Lucee Laursen

lucee-laursen@uiowa.edu

Abortion: an issue that has created two polarized camps of people. Over the last several decades, abortion has become a topic that is increasingly difficult to talk about with people outside of our own belief system. Some believe that making abortion illegal would stop women from killing unborn children. Others believe that making abortion illegal is a human-rights violation because it restricts the decisions women are able to make about their own bodies.

Because people are almost incapable of holding conversations with others who do not share their viewpoints, it allows politicians to manipulate them. Abortion has become an issue publicly dominated by ignorance and an inability to understand others.

It is extremely problematic that abortion and political parties have become inseparable and indecipherable. A Pew Research survey conducted in 2016 found that 65 percent of Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while 75 percent of Democrats say abortions should be legal in at least most cases.

A similar study conducted by Pew in 1995 found that only 48 percent of Republicans believed abortions should be illegal and only 64 percent of Democrats thought abortion should be legal.

Over the last 20 years, abortion has become more polarized than ever, making it a consistent talking point for politicians. Republican candidates have to be pro-life and Democratic candidates have to be pro-choice. And even though the best, most effective legislation comes out of bipartisan support, somehow our society has been complacently allowed abortion to continue to be a divisive partisan issue perpetuating the split.

RELATED: University of Iowa OB/GYNs, Board of Regents warn Legislature against Heartbeat bill

Abortion has become an issue so deeply rooted in religion and political party that it is almost impossible to sort out the weeds. Clearly, it is difficult to unanimously decide if abortion is morally wrong. But what we should really consider is whether our government has the right to ban abortion.

In the United States, we are supposed to have our own free will to make decisions. We are able to burn the American flag in protests, create social uprisings by protesting in the streets, and even publicly speak against our current political leaders if we so desire. Freedom is at the forefront of our society; it is what makes America so great.

But when it comes to abortion, it seems that many of us forget that implementing abortion bans prohibits women from making decisions about their own bodies. Which is extremely hypocritical for a government that celebrates giving its citizens their own free will.

Many pro-lifers believe that abortion is morally wrong according to their religious beliefs. But let’s remember that our laws are not meant to govern morality, and our Constitution explicitly states that there must be a separation between church and state. So although I sympathize with pro-lifers and respect their right to protest abortion, their arguments have no place in our government.

Abortion is a civil issue that deals with complex issues that constantly struggle for traction. Politicians have continued to use polarizing rhetoric around abortion in order to create hyper-partisan divides to garner voters. At its roots, abortion should not be a political issue. The government should have no hand in deciding if abortion should be legal or not. Rather, people should continue to take their own stances on the issue. If people want to protest abortion, they should be able to do so. If people want to provide clinical abortions for women, they should also be able to do so. Politicians need to stop using abortion for their own political gain.

RELATED: Laursen: Reynolds faces polarizing decision with ‘heartbeat bill’

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