The issue of abortion is not an issue to be taken lightly. Abortion is, and has been, one of the most controversial issues in the United States. But when it comes to abortion, the U.S. is passionately divided into pro-life and pro-choice supporters. Both the supporters of the pro-life and the pro-choice beliefs are able to present strong evidence as to why they believe that their view point is correct. However, the two opposing beliefs are not as black and white as they may seem. When a person is choosing a side, there are many minuscule details that the person must examine. Everything from the age of the fetus, the reason for the abortion, and the type of procedure, along with many other details, make a difference. The mother often time is greatly affected by the abortion. It is a serious decision that the mother has to live with for the rest of her life.
The history of abortion goes a long way back. Laws against abortion began to appear in the early 1820’s. These laws put restrictions on the time frame in which a woman could have an abortion done, such as not allowing the procedure to be done after the fourth month of pregnancy. Because of these limitations, the number of illegal abortions increased. Many feminists opposed abortions because the procedures were still very dangerous to both the mother’s life and health. These women believed that abortion would not be needed if women gained more freedom and equality and focused a lot on prevention methods, such as safe, effective, successful birth control methods. They also believed that men, laws, and certain circumstances led to more abortions. By the 1965, all fifty states had outlawed abortion, with the exception of a few states who allowed it under the circumstances of saving the mother’s life, rape, incest, or having a deformed fetus. Different groups formed and worked hard to get rid of anti-abortion laws. In 1973, the monumental court case, Roe v. Wade, occurred. A pregnant single woman named Norma McCorvey, who went by the alias of Jane Roe, challenged the constitutionality of the criminal abortion laws in Texas because Texas only allowed abortions if the mother’s life was endangered.
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Roe believed that these laws violated certain rights given by the U.S. Constitution and after the Supreme Court closely examined both the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, the court decision went in her favor. This case, along with a similar case, Doe vs. Walton, involving a pregnant, poor mother of three in Georgia, Sandra Cano, whose alias was Doe, led to the legalization of abortion in the first trimester across the United States. There were some restrictions put on abortion rights in the later months of pregnancy. In the second and third trimesters, states had more rights to protect the potential life of the unborn child. A few court cases in the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s, Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services and Casey vs. Planned Parenthood put further restrictions on abortion. After all of these court cases took place, many groups were formed based on their belief of pro-life vs. pro-choice and all of the little groups that believe in either of these two ideas have had many conflicts with each other. Groups lead protests, fight with each other, and have even murdered people, such as abortion doctors, to stand up for their very radical beliefs.
There are many different kinds of abortion. Different procedures are done depending on what trimester of pregnancy the mother is in. The first trimester is 0 to 13 weeks, the second is 13 to 26 weeks, and the third is 26 to 42 weeks. For each trimester, there are a few different medical, chemical, and surgical procedures that can be done. Before a woman gets an abortion, she must meet with the doctor to talk about the procedure, risks, medication, different options, and what to expect afterwards. The doctor will usually do an ultrasound to see the exact age and position of the fetus, making the procedure easier. Then the doctor and patient decide what procedure would be best under the circumstances. There are a few options for the first trimester of pregnancy. One medical procedure that can be done is taking an abortion pill, which can also be called Mifepristone, Misoprostal, RU486, Non-surgical abortion, and Medication Abortion. This procedure can typically take place lace anywhere from zero up to seven to nine weeks of pregnancy. The pill causes the pregnancy to end and within the next 24 to 72 hours, it causes the uterus to contract and expel the extra tissue. Up to the thirteenth week of pregnancy, a procedure called Aspiration can take place. Aspiration is a surgical procedure. First the doctor numbs the cervix with an injection. Then a soft, flexible tube is entered through the cervix o the uterus. After that, the pregnancy is moved from the uterus by creating a suction from an aspirating machine or a hand held mechanism. In the second and third trimester, medical abortions are not possible. Different types of Aspiration are, though. One surgical method that can be used is called Dilate and Evacuate (D &E).
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These procedures take two or three days. On the first day, a sonogram is preformed so that the doctor can determine the age and the position of the young fetus. Then the doctor enters dilators into the woman’s cervix. Overnight, these dilators expand and open the entrance to the uterus. The doctor uses special tools to remove the uterus and get rid of the pregnancy. The final step of this abortion procedure is suction using the aspirating machine. In the case of a third trimester pregnancy, the procedure is a bit more spread out. Additional dilators are entered into the woman’s cervix on the second day and on the third day, the fetus is removed. Another procedure that can be used in the second or third trimester of pregnancy is Induction abortion, which is a fairly rare procedure. In induction abortion, fluids, such as salt water, urea, or potassium chloride, are entered into the amniotic sac. Prostaglandins are then inserted into the woman’s vagina and pitocin in injected through the veins. Another procedure that can be done is partial birth abortion. In partial birth abortion, the abortion doctor uses a sonogram and grabs the baby’s legs with forceps. The baby’s legs are then pulled out of the birth canal. After that, the doctor delivers the baby’s whole body, with the exception of the head. Then the doctor thrusts scissors into the baby’s skull and the scissors are then opened to enlarge the baby’s skull. Then the baby’s brains are sucked out and the dead child is removed from the mother. Currently, there are people trying to pass laws in many states against partial abortion to make it illegal. There are also abortion processes to selectively remove babies from a mother’s uterus if she is having multiple babies. Sometimes the babies have something wrong with them, have a better chance of survival if there are less of them, or are getting deprived of nutrients.
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Abortion has become one of the most common medical procedures performed in the United States today. About 1.2 million abortions are performed each year in the United States. Studies have shown that 40% of all women will have at least one abortion at some point in their reproductive lives. Studies have also shown that abortions are most common in women ages 20 to 24 at 33% and least common in girls ages 14 or younger, at 0.7%. The majority of women, 67%, who get abortions have never been married before. White women are the leaders racially of women who get abortions at 40.9%, closely followed by African American women at 31.7%, and Hispanic women, at 20.1%. They are not as common in women who are Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American. Most women who get abortions are Protestant, at 42%, or Catholic, at 27.4%, although 22% of women have no religion at all. Women of other religions get abortions less than 7.6% of the time. About 36% of women who get abortions have been pregnant and had an abortion before, although 27% have gone through neither experience at the time of their first abortion. About 25% of the time the woman has given birth before, and 12% of the time the woman has not had children yet, but has had an abortion before.
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The issue of abortion is most often divided into the supporters of abortion and the opposers of abortion. The supporters are part of the pro-choice movement, while the opposers are part of the pro-life movement. Both of these groups have opposing, differing viewpoints and because of this, have conflicts with each other sometimes. Both of these groups have a lot of good information that they base their beliefs on. Some people are on the fence about their beliefs and agree or disagree with certain aspects of the pro-life or pro-choice movements, while others believe their way is the only way to go.
The pro-choice movement focuses more on the rights of the women as opposed to the rights of the fetuses. They do not believe that the unborn child has rights in the womb. It is uncertain when exactly human life begins and because of this, they believe the fetus is a potential life, not an actual life. They view the embryo as a clump of tissue, not as a human being. Technically, the sperm and egg are also alive, but they are not considered to be an actual human life form. Most abortions take place during the first trimester, when the baby could not technically live without its mother. Many supporters are not necessarily pro-abortion, but just pro-choice. They believe that abortions can be limited due to sex education, proper birth control, and abstinence. They believe a woman should have the right to choose what happens with her own body, personal health, and future. Supporters believe that a woman should have control over her reproductive life. Denying a woman the right to get an abortion would be denying her a basic right and freedom. If a man is able to run away from a pregnancy, then a woman should be able to do so, also. Many people believe that abortion is used as a contraceptive, but only 8% of women who get an abortion did not use any means of birth control in the first place.
If a woman’s life is endangered, then she should have the right to terminate the pregnancy to save herself. Also, if a woman gets pregnant as a result of rape or incest, sometimes abortion is the best option because going through with the pregnancy can put the woman through avoidable emotional trauma. If a woman is raped, it is not her fault and she should not have to deal with all the additional pain. In circumstances dealing with incest, there is also a greater chance that the baby will have something wrong with it. If a woman realizes early on that her child has a physical or mental disability, retardation, or handicap, she should have the choice of how she wants to handle the situation because once the child is born, her life and the lives of others will be permanently altered. Pro-choicers believe that having unwanted children results in more child abuse, which would be awful for the child. Many people are against abortion because of their religious beliefs, and because everyone has different or no religious beliefs, they should be able to make the moral choice they want. Even if abortion was made illegal, tens of thousands of women would still get the procedure done illegally in places such as back alleys, even though it can be very dangerous, result in more deaths, and be more painful.
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Although many people say there are other options other than abortion, such as adoption, it is unfair to ask a woman to go through the embarrassment, pain, and prolonged emotional effects of giving her child up. Even if a woman decides to give up the baby, she has to be pregnant for ninth months of her life, which can affect her education, her job, her self image, her relationships with people, and is expensive. Sometimes women believe they have no other option. For example, pregnant teenagers are merely adolescents who are not ready for the responsibility of a child and are faced with many issues because of it. Many pregnant teens are kicked out of their homes, disowned from their families, and left with no money if they choose to keep their pregnancy. They sometimes drop out of high school and get a job in order to make enough money to care for the child. On top of that, they have to deal with more physical dangers during the pregnancy and psychological issues than normal. Abortion also helps to control overpopulation. In the cases of multiple births, selective abortion can actually save lives, because some of the cases most of the babies would actually be born stillborn, be born with problems, or would be competing for nutrients. Pro-choice supporters are also very against pro-life supporters doing radical things, such as bombing abortion clinics, murdering abortion doctors, or harming pro-life supporters. They think it is hypocritical that they perform these violent acts and that some of them support capital punishment because it is technically a form of murder, just like they believe abortion is. Supporters believe that abortion should be a private, personal, unique decision between the woman and her doctor. Abortion procedures are very safe, sometimes safer than actual child birth, and women should have the right to control what happens with their bodies.
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The pro-life movement focuses more on the rights of the fetus, rather than the rights of the mother. Supporters of the pro-life movement believe that they have to be the voice of the unborn child, who can’t speak for his or herself. They believe the fetus is a potential human being that should have the rights of a normal human being and they believe that life begins at conception. Because of this viewpoint, abortion is viewed as murder. People who believe that abortion is wrong for religious reasons believe that every child is a gift or “blessing” from god and the bible believes in the sanctity of every human life. Although pro-lifers acknowledge that cases of rape and incest are very unfortunate, they believe the child should not be punished for this because it was not their fault. Instead, the person who committed the crime should be punished. In some cases of rape, proper medical care can ensure that a woman will not get pregnant. Every potential life that is aborted could have been the life that was destined to do something miraculous, such as becoming the doctor who discovers a cure for Cancer. Many people who support abortion believe that women should have control over their body, but pro-lifers believe that part of being in control of one’s body is knowing how to prevent unwanted pregnancy through abstinence, contraception, and sex education.
Abortion should not be used as another form of contraception. Although 88% of abortions happen in the first trimester of pregnancy, at the time the baby is not just a clump of tissues, but a developing organism. The fetus’s heart begins beating within the first 18 to 25 days in the womb. Brain waves have been recorded in the fetus as early as 40 days in the womb. Although the fetus is only 1 ounce in weight and 2 ½ – 3 inches long, he or she can already squint, swallow, make a fist, suck his or her thumb, kick, hiccup, sleep, wake, and has fingerprints. At this point, all of the fetus’s body systems are working and he or she could fit in the palm of your hand. The fetus is already sensitive to heat, touch, light, and noise. Due to all of this medical evidence, pro-lifers argue that an unborn baby is undoubtedly a human being. Many people believe that certain abortion procedures can still be unsafe because many complications can arise from them, such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, ectopic pregnancies, future premature births, subsequent infertility and miscarriages, future premature births, due to cervix damage during previous abortions, small-for-date babies, and placenta praevia.
Studies have also shown that abortion leads to an increase in the chance of contracting breast cancer. They also believe that abortion is very expensive and costs tax-payers a lot of money and undermines future economic growth. Because so many tax payers oppose abortion, it is morally wrong to use their money to pay for it. Opposers of abortion also believe the statement that abortion controls population growth is false because the rate of food production is faster than the rate of population growth, which means that overpopulation does not necessarily pose a problem. They also believe that there are many parallels between the arguments of slavery and abortion because in both instances it has been argued that slaves and fetuses were not people, and in the end slavery was declared wrong. Also, often times, when minors choose to have an abortion procedure done, they do not fully understand what they are doing and because of this, regret their decision later on. Abortion can often cause intense psychological pain, stress, and feelings of regret. Adoption is also a great alternative to adoption because there are 1.5 million wonderful families who want to adopt a child. A child who is unwanted to one family is a dream come true to another.
Many families are able to provide a loving home to a child who cannot be taken care of by another woman or family. Some women choose to abort children with disabilities, but in reality, these children grow up to be some of the kindest, sweetest, gentlest kids of them all. If women are not equipped to deal with them on their own, they can get help, give them up for an adoption, or even put them in special home or school where they will have good care as they grow older. Aborting a baby because of a disability is a very prejudice thing to do and is the start of people trying to design the perfect child. Advancements in medical technologies can also help women whose lives are endangered, who are pregnant with multiple babies, or have undergone something traumatic to carry their baby to full term.
Abortion can have a big effect on women. Although not all women are subject to these complications, many are. There are many long term and short term medical complications the woman has to deal with, such as severe blood loss, exposure to bacteria on the inside of her body, peritonitis, hemorrhaging, and injury, infection, and internal bleeding to organs from the tools used. Although it is very rare, death from abortion happens sometimes, too. Because of abortion, it is harder for women to get pregnant in the future, and there is a greater risk of ectopic pregnancies, sterility, tubal pregnancy, and damage to the cervix. Other injuries can also happen due to abortion. Women also suffer many emotional effects after they undergo an abortion procedure. Among the many side effects are depression, long-term grief reactions, anger, sexual dysfunction, guilt, flashbacks, memory repression, suicidal ideas, and difficulty keeping close relationships. Abortion also causes an increase in suicide attempt, drug and alcohol abuse, nervous breakdowns, feelings of regret, and being placed in a psychiatric hospital. Many women, about 60%, said the abortion did not approve their lives, although it did help some people, and some said it actually made their lives worse. It also hurt the spirituality of some women because women felt like they were breaking the Sixth Commandment, thou shall not murder.
Abortion is one of the most controversial issues dealt with today. It has been an issue since the 1820’s. It is one of the most serious decisions a woman will have to make in her life. Many different kinds of women get abortions. There are many different abortion procedures that can be done, depending on how far along a woman’s pregnancy is. The issue of abortion is divided into people who strongly support it, pro-choice, and people who strongly oppose it, pro-life. Both the supporters of pro-life and pro-choice are able to present a lot of very powerful evidence as to why they believe their viewpoint is correct. Although choosing a side may seem easy, there are many minute details that need to be examined, and occasionally people end up agreeing with some aspects of it and disagreeing with other aspects of it. After a woman has an abortion, she has to be prepared to deal with many physical, emotional, and spiritual issues. Today, many people are trying to get laws passed for abortion, against abortion, or involving a certain aspect of abortion. Today, abortion remains one of the most disputed, common, easiest medical procedures in the United States.