Abortion Essay Research Paper One of the

Abortion Essay, Research Paper One of the most controversial topics over the years, and still today, is abortion. Is abortion murder or not? When does a fetus become a human? There are no answers to these questions. Everyone individual has their own beliefs on whether or not abortion is justifiable. Abortions have been performed throughout many of centuries.

Abortion Essay, Research Paper

One of the most controversial topics over the years, and still today, is abortion. Is abortion murder or not? When does a fetus become a human? There are no answers to these questions. Everyone individual has their own beliefs on whether or not abortion is justifiable. Abortions have been performed throughout many of centuries. Recently, there has been a number of court cases that has changed the legality of abortions, especially in the United States, for example Roe v. Wade. Even religions have changed their views on abortions over the course of the years. In the abortions wars there are two parties, pro-life and pro-choice. Pro-life believes that abortion is murder and is completely immoral. Pro-choice, however, believes that it is the mother’s choice if she wishes to terminate the pregnancy or not. There are countless ways to perform an abortion. Some are obviously much safer. Even then there are some serious side effects that may happen during or after an abortion, both physical and psychological. This essay is just skimming the top of the abortion issue. Hopefully it will give you a general idea of how complicated this topic is.

Before there was a legal system, as we know it, abortions were decided just by your religious beliefs. Judaism believed that the life of someone already born is more important then that of the unborn. Therefore is the mother’s welfare is at risk an abortion is permitted. However it is not acceptable to terminate a pregnancy for any other reason. In Islamic beliefs a woman has the right to have an abortion, until the soul enters the fetus, between 40 to 120 days after conception. Buddhists believe that abortion is justifiable. They say that the fate of the unborn child is not to come into the world at this time. The Bible says in Num 5:27“God mandates ‘trial by ordeal’ for women accused by their husbands of adultery. The priest is instructed to make a potion, the accused is ordered to drink it, and if she miscarries, she is considered guilty.”(Abortion in history) Early Catholics didn’t believe that the soul entered the fetus until later, 40 days for boys and 90 days for girls. Only in 1869 did the Catholic Church declare that the soul entered the fetus at conception, therefore rendering abortion murder.

Until the second half of the nineteenth century, the English Common Law was that abortions were permitted until the quickening, that is until the baby started moving. After that, with the new advances in the medicine field we came to understand more what happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy and abortions. The abortion laws were made to protect the women from uncertified abortionists.

There is one remarkable legal battle that changed the American abortion laws to what they are now, Roe v. Wade. It took place in 1973 in Texas. Roe, Norma McCorvey, was an anonymous plaintiff against the State. The ruling, abortion is legal. It gives the mother the right of whether or not to terminated her pregnancy. However, that does not give the woman the right to terminate her pregnancy for any reason during all nine months. “The court said that the woman may have an abortion until fetal viability, the time at which it first becomes realistically possible for a fetus to live outside the woman’s body. At that point the state’s interest outweighs the woman’s right.” (Roe v. Wade) There are obvious exceptions to that law if the mother’s health is at risk. And just as a passing comment, Roe has now changed sides. She was an active abortion activist for close to 20 years. Now she is just as involved in the opposing side. She has converted to Christianity and has been baptized. She is a leader for the anti-abortionists.

The methods of abortion are divided into early abortions and later abortions. The newest addition, just approved by the FDA, is the RU-486 pill. Also known as mifepristone or the abortion pill. It may be used from the fifth week until the seventh. It is a chemical that interferes with the function of the placenta, which in turn starves the fetus. The fetus is then expelled using misoprostol. The abortion takes place over a few days. The woman may bleed for about 9 days, and may experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and painful cramping. Other way of abortion is vacuum aspiration, used from the sixth week until the sixteenth. This is performed by inserting a powerful suction tube into the uterus. The force of the suction removes the fetus. Possible complications are infection, cervical lacerations and uterine perforation. There is another method to abort a fetus, which is not approved by the FDA, it is called methotrexate. It is used from the fifth week until the ninth. Methotrexate interferes with the growth process, which is why it is used in the treatment of cancer. The fetus is then expelled using misoprostol.

Methods of late abortions include dilation and evacuation. In which the fetus is removed by forceps. The fetus is torn apart limb by limb. The complications are infection, cervical lacerations and uterine perforation. This method is used from the thirteenth week until the twentieth. Prostaglandin or misoprostol is also to terminate the pregnancy. It is used to induce premature labour. Live births are common. The complications include convulsions, vomiting and cardiac arrest. It may be used from the sixteenth week until the thirty-eighth. Digoxin induction is used from the sixteenth week until the thirty-second. It involves injecting a lethal chemical into the fetus’ heart. It is followed by an induced labour. Saline abortion is when a salty solution is injected into the amniotic fluid. The salt poison’s the fetus. This method is rarely used due to the severe health risks for the woman. The last method used is the partial birth abortion. This used from the twentieth week until almost the last weeks of the pregnancy. The baby is pulled into the birth canal. Then a catheter is used to suction the baby’s brains, so it fits through the canal in one piece.

According to the Westside Pregnancy Resource Center, the leading causes of abortion related deaths are hemorrhage, infection, embolism, anesthesia and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies. The risk of breast cancer doubles for women having their first abortion. The risk is multiplies with every other abortion. The woman can lower the risk by giving birth to a child. Compared to woman how haven’t had an abortion the relative risk of cervical cancer is 2.3 for those who have had one abortion. For those who have had multiple abortions the relative risk jumps to 4.92. There are similar elevated risks for ovarian and liver cancer. Another health risk if pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which is potentially life threatening and can lead to ectopic pregnancy and reduced fertility. Patients who have chlamydia, which is 20-27% seeking abortions, 23% will develop PID within four weeks of the abortion. Those who don’t have chlamydia have only a 5% risk of developing PID. Teenagers, who account for 30% of all abortions, are at higher risks of suffering from complications.

According to the Westside Pregnancy Resource Center, in a study of post-abortion women, only eight weeks after their abortion found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had troubles sleeping, 31% had regrets about their decision and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic drugs by their doctor. Another study found that more than 19% of the women suffer from diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the symptoms of PTSD include hyperarousal (anxiety attacks, irritability, difficulty concentrating, disturbed sleeping habits…), intrusion (the reexperience of the traumatic event at unexpected times, flashbacks), constriction (the numbing or inability to recall the abortion or important parts of it). Some women, 30-50%, experience sexual dysfunction immediately after the abortion. The problems sometimes include loss of pleasure, increased pain, an aversion to sex or males, or promiscuity. Some women suffer for only a brief period of time, others for a long time. Of the women who experience post-abortion sequelea, 60% reported having suicidal thoughts. Twenty-eight percent attempted suicide, of which half attempted more than once. Approximately 45% of all abortions are repeat abortions.

“Abortion rights are pro-life. They give a woman the right to control her own body, which is part of her right to her own freedom and life. An embryo, in contrast, is pre-human, only potential, not actual life. As such, it cannot possess any rights.” (Leonard Peikoff) Those who believe that it is the woman’s choice to have or not to have an abortion are called pro-choice. This is how they perceive abortion. During the first trimester the embryo is undistinguishable mass of cells that lives in the woman’s body, its host. Therefore it’s obvious that the host should decide whether or not to terminated the growth of something in them. “If you call the embryo an ‘unborn child’, then you could call, with equal logic, any adult an ‘undead corpse’”. (Leonard Peikoff) The embryo has the potential to become a child, in the womb it is not a child. Seeing that being a parent is a tremendous responsibility, should we enforce that on anyone? Does anyone have the right to tell a woman what she is allowed to do her body? Is that not one of the fundamentals of abortion? The woman is the one who must suffer the discomfort of being pregnant and having to go through the labour. Not only does she have to go through the physical changes; she must also go through the emotional states of pregnancy. Yes, there is always adoption. But she must still go through the pregnancy.

The flip side of the coin is pro-life. They strongly believe that abortion is murder. There is child growing inside the womb. The mother has no right to end a life. Life begins at conception. To terminate that life unjustly is immoral. To kill a child simply because the mother feels herself unfit to care for a child is completely unacceptable. If a woman chooses abortion she is being selfish. She isn’t taking into account that there is another being dependent on her, her very own child. There are other choices other than abortion, ones that preserve the precious life of the fetus. The first is not getting pregnant in the first place. Contraception is so openly available and inexpensive. Adoption should not be over-looked. With adoption the mother won’t have to care for the child and no harm will come to it. Pro-life leaders feel that they must feel that they must fight for these defenseless children. Did you know that one child is aborted every 22 seconds in the United States. Another interesting fact is “77% of the pro-choice leaders are male. One hundred percent of them will never get pregnant.” (Rodman & Buckley)

I can’t classify myself as pro-choice nor could I call myself pro-life. I do believe that the embryo becomes a life at the moment of conception. However, I don’t believe that abortion, within the first trimester, is murder. After the first trimester the embryo becomes a fetus and to end its life is wrong. By the end of the first trimester a woman should know whether or not she is willing to care for a baby. Adoption I think is a very good alternative. I think that pro-choice does have many good points. Especially those on the right of freedom and the right to choose what happens to your body. Pro-life has, for me, the strongest point, which is that the fetus is a child that has started at conception. Abortion for myself is not an option. For many it is though. If the abortion is performed within the first trimester that, to me, is acceptable. If an abortion is to be performed after that is should be for only one reason, which is the mother’s health is at risk.

Abortion in History

www.pinn.net/~sunshine/abortion/history.html

November 20th, 2000

Abortion Rights Are Pro-Choice

Leonard Peikoff

www.aynrand.org/medialink/prolife.html

November 20th, 2000

How Abortions Are Done

Westside Pregnancy Resource Centre

www.w-cpc.org/abortion/methods.html

November 20th, 2000

Mental Health Risks of Abortion

Westside Pregnancy Resource Centre

www.w-cpc.org/abortion/emotion.html

November 20th, 2000

Physical Health Risks of Abortion

Westside Pregnancy Resource Centre

www.w-cpc.org/abortion/physical.html

November 20th, 2000

Roe v. Wade

www.roevwade.org/court.html

November 20th, 2000

Women and Abortion: Another Voice

Monika Rodman & Kathleen Buckley

www.prolifeinfo.org/atr026.html

November 20th, 2000