Abortion Essay, Research Paper
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Throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, abortion was legal until the moment of quickening. In 1588 Pope Sixtus V called abortion the same as murder and thus subject to the same penalties. Within three years Pope Gregory XVI eliminated any penalties until ensoulment- which was then determined to be about 40 days after conception (5). Pope Gregory XVI
shouldn?t have changed the law because if you have an abortion which was murder then you should get the same punishment. The law should have stayed the same through history.
In 1869 Pope Pius IX removed any distinction between formed and unformed fetuses and made the penalty for the sin of abortion
excommunication regardless of the stage of fetal development. At about the same time abortion was banned in most of Europe. The decision of Pius IX
was reaffirmed in 1917 with publication of the Code of Canon Law (5). The Code of Canon Law was just restating that the result of an abortion is
excommunication (Roleff, 22). Personally I feel excommunication is not a severe enough punishment. A few laws I thought were fair were against abortion and said it was wrong. One major abortion law was passed Britain in 1861. This law made abortion a felony and this was enforced for nearly 100 years (Flanders, 5). Also, Connecticut passed the first abortion statute in the United States in 1821. This statute made it a crime to give a woman a poison to cause her to
miscarry (5). In 1830, New York criminalized the performance of abortions after the fetus can be felt moving but exempted those necessary to save the woman?s life. Then, in 1845, New York became the first state to place women under threat of prosecution for having an abortion (6).
In 1859 the American Medical Association passed a resolution condemning abortion and urging states to make it illegal. In time each of the
states changed its laws. By the end of the century abortion was a major crime nationwide. All but four states allowed therapeutic abortions to save the mother?s life. In those four, even life-saving abortions were criminal (6). There should be some exceptions like if the birth of a child will kill the mother.
In 1959 the American Law Institute proposed a Model Penal Code that advocated sweeping liberalization of state abortion laws. The ALI recommended that state lawmakers broaden the grounds for legal abortion to include mental health of the mother, pregnancy due to rape or incest, and fetal deformity. Not one state legislature adopted the ALI suggestions (7).
Rape should not be a reason to have an abortion because there is other alternatives like adoption. The mental health should depend on how severe
the mother?s health would be after the outcome of the pregnancy. Incest and fetal deformity should also depend on the severity.
During history, abortion was one law that was constantly changing. In 1900, every state had outlawed abortion. The only way you could get an
abortion was if it was to save the pregnant woman (Lowenstein, 28). I think it could be tolerable if women had abortions only to save her life. Other reasons for having an abortion are not acceptable to me.