Abortion Essay, Research Paper
In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that abortion is a woman s choice, one that government cannot prohibit (Crooks 16). Ever since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, Abortion has changed its course in society. It has remained one of the most highly controversial topics in modern day society. Many abortions were performed before the Supreme Court decision, but the settlement made it less risky for the doctors involved and safer for those who chose to have an abortion. There are two kinds of abortion, spontaneous and elective. Spontaneous abortions are more commonly known as miscarriages, while an elective abortion requires a decision to terminate a pregnancy. Elective abortion can have positive and negative biological, health, psychological, and cultural impacts on those who choose them.
There are many different types of abortions that can be preformed. The type used depends on how far along the pregnancy is. Most abortions are done before 12 weeks after the last menstrual period. Suction curettage is usually done from 7 to 13 weeks. This is a procedure in which the cervical os is dilated by graduated metal dilators or by a laminaria; then a small plastic tube, attached to a vacuum aspirator, is inserted into the uterus, drawing the fetal tissue, placenta, and built-up uterine lining out of the uterus (Crooks 349). This procedure does not come without risks. Some of these health risks include infection and hemorrhage. Between 13 and 21 weeks, dilation and evacuation is used and is the safest and most widely used technique. It is similar to suction curettage. Another way of terminating a pregnancy is with the use of hormones, such as prostaglandins, which cause contractions. Complications from abortion procedures that include labor contractions can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; tearing of the cervix; excessive bleeding; and the possibility of shock and death (Crooks 351). There has been research that has indicated that a first-trimester abortion does not have lasting effects on fertility or pregnancy, but having two or more abortions could cause a higher incidence of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancy in later pregnancies. Sometimes, where abortions are illegal, women attempt to self-induce abortion by enemas, laxatives, pills, hers, soap, and various substance. Illegal abortionists typically insert a catheter or sharp instrument into the uterus to induce contractions (Crooks 351). This is highly unsafe and could cause irreparable damage, or even death. On the other hand, there are instances where abortion may be a wise decision. It is reserved for seriously abnormal pregnancies or for drug users whose lives are chaotic (Crooks 351). I believe that these cases justify a decision as serious as abortion. There are several factors that must be considered before deciding to get an abortion.
If the decision is made to have this done, it can have either positive or negative psychological affects on those involved. One study of 1000 men interviewed in abortion clinics stressed the importance of men talking about their own feelings (Crooks). The abortion issue concentrates more on the female than on the male involved. It can have a serious impact on the lives of both the woman and her partner. According to several studies, about three-quarters of male partners of pregnant women agreed to the abortion decision and helped pay for the procedure (Crooks). Sometimes the responsibility is shared between the couple and the male can be more understanding about the situation. He could also pay for and accompany her to the clinic because he is afraid. Even the dilemma of choosing abortion is a difficult decision for a woman and her partner because it deals with highly personal morals, values, and priorities. Although the abortion may have been a good decision hey may also feel regret, depression, anxiety, guilt, or anger about the abortion or why it was necessary (Crooks 351). Similarly, abortion may seem damaging emotionally, but research indicates that legal abortion does not usually cause lasting emotional trauma. Anxiety or depression may be experienced, but these feelings usually resolve when the abortion is done, and some women even have positive feelings about their choice months or years following the abortion. However, women who have repeat abortions experience higher emotional distress in interpersonal relationships than do women having a first abortion (Crooks 352).
Abortion is part of our culture and no one is an exception. In our society, most women who have abortions are young: 20% are under 19, most are under 25 (Crooks 349). Teenage and young adult pregnancy is extremely high in our culture and especially now when sexuality is everywhere. Young pregnant women are more likely to have an abortion because of their age. They may not be ready financially or emotionally to raise a child. In addition to young, white, unmarried women, who obtain the most abortions, approximately 20% of abortions are for married women (Crooks 349). This shows that the stereotype that only pregnant teenagers get abortions is untrue. Married women may have abortions because they already have several children and cannot afford another one, or because it was accidental. Moreover, Catholic women are as likely to obtain an abortion as other women, and about 18% of all abortions are by born-again and evangelical Christians (Crooks). This indicates that abortion reaches into any religion and any culture. When it comes down to it a decision has to be made.
Abortion is an extremely serious issue and takes much deliberation to decide whether or not to have one. Several important factors come into play, such as morality and ethics. If I was faced with that decision today and my girlfriend was pregnant, I would have to regretfully say that I would opt for the abortion. Of course this would be something that the both of us would discuss and try to come to a mutual agreement, but at this point in my life I would not be able to raise a child. There are financial reasons, as well as, the fact that I am still in school and cannot support myself, let alone a family. If it were not for these obstacles, I would want to have the baby.
Crooks, Robert, and Karla Baur. Our Sexuality, 7th ed. Brooks/Cole Publishing: 1999.