Abortion 16 Essay, Research Paper
On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court had ruled in the case of Roe VS. Wade that women have the constitutional right to choose whether or not to have an abortion in the first three months of their pregnancy (Fiorina & Peterson, 1998). Until this point each state basically had their own abortion laws, and if one engaged in an abortion it was up to the state to decide if it was legal or illegal. Today still, abortion plays a large part in the world, and they are still legal. I have to agree with the decision of the Supreme Court, I feel that along with our freedom of speech, our freedom of choice in any matter should be available to everyone as well.
First of all lets discus exactly what abortion is, according to the Grolier encyclopedia , an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable, or capable of living outside the womb( )There are two types of abortions a spontaneous abortion, or also known as a miscarriage, occurs when the embryo fails to develop and dies. The second type is induced, which is a procedure intended to terminate a suspected or known pregnancy. Most of induced abortions occur in the first 12 weeks, after which involves a much more complicated procedure. More than three-fourths of conceptions are spontaneously aborted.
There are a lot of complications that come along with having an abortion some of these include, complications with future pregnancies, increased risk of breast cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, placenta previa, and excessive bleeding in other pregnancies(risks and complications, March 24, 1999). These are just some risks that need to be thought about when deciding whether to choose to have an abortion. There are also high risk groups that are involved, first being-women under 20 which have 2 times higher risk of medical complications and 150 percent greater risk of cervical injury. Second, are women who have had a previous abortion, 200 percent increased risk of miscarriages with future pregnancies, 160 percent risk of tubal pregnancy(risks and complications, March 24,1999). There are definitely a lot of things to ponder, this is not an easy nor painless both physically and emotionally procedure to with go. I feel that this choice should be left up to the woman though, not the government, it is her body not theirs.
There are a many different methods for obtaining an abortion, I will be discussing a few of them. There are three methods that exist for women who have engaged in unprotected intercourse and who wish to terminate a pregnancy. Administration of DES, which is a highly potent synthetic estrogen, this is taken the morning after. In general DES is recommended only in emergencies such as rape, it is highly effective but has many side effects which make it uncomfortable for women to take. RU-486 is the second method, which is taken orally and blocks the action of progesterone. RU-486 also holds promise for treating breast cancer, and perhaps AIDS. The third early-abortion method, menstrual extraction, involves the removal of the menstrual blood and tissue from the uterus with a cannula and sometimes a suction machine. This method is usually used when a woman s period is late by a week or two.
More than 90 percent of the abortions performed in the United States occur during the first trimester(Terkel, 1988). The methods are suction abortion, removal of the contents of the uterus through the use of a suction machine. Suction abortion accounts for most of first trimester abortions, and is more effective than the others. The dilation and curettage, dilation of the cervix followed by the scraping of the interior of the uterus. This method is mostly used closer to the end of the first trimester. Methods used during the second trimester include, dilation and evacuation, the fetus is crushed within the uterus, and the contents of the uterus are then extracted through a vacuum curette. Until approximately the 16th week, this method is the safest of the second trimester methods and takes the shortest time to perform. Intra-amnionic Injection, the replacement of amniotic fluid either with prostaglandins or with salt solution, causing fetal circulatory arrest. Major complications occur most frequently with this method choice. The third method hysterotomy, is used when the pregnancy threatens the woman s life, the fetus is removed through an incision.
Over the past twenty five years of changing laws, and finding reasons to make abortion illegal has not really had a lot of effects on the world as a whole. Still everytime this issue is brought about, it stirs up many non-resolved feelings. Abortion is a very touchy issue and probably will be forever, similarily like with slavery or racism. Laws allow women to legally have abortions, but yet each state makes it pretty hard to get the procedure started.
In most states a woman seeking an abortion must have the consent of the spouse, or father, or if she is a minor, the consent of her parents. In some states she must also consult a doctor and have their consent as well. I feel that these may be trivial regulations to try to prevent a woman from having an abortion, but if it was me, I wouldn t be able to tell my parents, especially because my mom would not permit me to have an abortion. I can guarantee that other young women also feel this way, therefore these laws are useful. I believe that a women has the right to choose, but I feel there need to be regulations such as consent to make the women have to struggle and really think about whether or not this is what she wants.
According to BBC News there are currently about 1.5 million abortions a year in the United States, since the Supreme Court decision there have been 30 million(US abortion rights, January 22, 1998). This seems like a very high number to me and perhaps it needs to be made even harder to obtain an abortion. With statistics like these I feel it will only grow larger, and it seems like no one is even considering any option but abortion these days, it seems that when a woman finds out she is pregnant abortion is the first thing that appears in their heads. About 40 percent of women have become pregnant by the time they reach 20, according to the National Abortion Federation and that girls between the ages of 11 and 19 account for more that one fifth of all abortions in the United States(Baird & Rosenbaum, 1989).
Should abortion remain legal or should there be more efforts to make it illegal? This is the question that has been popping up even before the Roe vs. Wade decision, and still today. I think that if after all this time, abortion still remains legal after numerous attempts to change it, there is a reason for it. There are probably a lot of explanations for this, and for abortion to remain legal. One being that there are always certain cases and different issues with different women.
The National Opinion Research Center has a survey that proves this point I am trying to make, it reads as follows(Allgeier,1995)
Please tell me whether or not you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if . 1. The woman s health is seriously endangered? 2. She became pregnant as a result of rape? 3. There is a strong chance of serious defect in the baby? 4. The family has low income and cannot afford any more children? 5. She is not married and does not want to marry the man? 6. She is married and does not want any more children? Of course not all of these are reasons I feel to keep abortion legal, but some are, therefore I would not want it to be illegal. I feel that if abortion were legal in some cases and not in others that would also invade someone s freedom to choose. If abortion is legal there should be no restrictions, just regulations.
It seems to show that in the survey done by the National Opinion Research Center, many people may consider a woman s sexual behavior in making judgments about whether or not her abortion was appropriate. There also seemed to be a strong feeling to me that people might reward conscientious women by granting them abortions, and perhaps punishing less responsible women by pushing motherhood on them and wanting to deny them rights to have an abortion because of their acts. But it seems to me that we would not want less responsible women raising children. Attitudes toward abortion also seem to vary according to socioeconomic status, race, whether they are religious or not, and age.
Why do women seek abortions? In a study that was done about abortion, by Russo, Horn, & Schwartz, shows the percentages of reasoning behind different categories of abortions. 75 percent of unmarried minors reported that they were not mature enough to raise a child. 5 percent reported they were merely avoiding single parenthood. Some external reasons that were important to minors were, desire to complete education was 37 percent, inability to afford a child 29 percent, issues that were related to social approval 14 percent, and their partners reaction to the pregnancy 12 percent(1992).
Abortion is definitely one of the most widely debated ethical issues of our time, and on one side are pro-choice supporters who like me believe in a woman s right to chose even if it means to choose to have an abortion. On the other side there are the people who are pro-life, whom oppose abortion totally. Both of these groups have different beliefs and concerns, like exactly when the fetus is considered a human being. In 1978, Mary Clark, coordinator of the California Abortion Rights Action League, described abortion as the most basic right a woman has. If a woman can t control her body, she has no control over the rest of her life (Newsweek, June 5, 1978). From the opposite side of the debate in an assertion by the president of March for Life, Nellie Gray; You are either for killing babies or you re not. You can t be for a little bit of killing babies (Newsweek, June 5, 1978).
There have been many arguments, fights and harmful attacks at clinics, both trying to prove their reasoning, but no compromise has been made. The fact that medical information and technology keeps advancing is not helping the debate nor is the fact that some methods of contraceptives can be used as abortion methods also. A lot of people as do I, feel that the lines between pro-life and pro-choice are somewhat blurred. Pro-life supporters are also concerned with the threats to reproductive rights and the danger of the government to decide what options are available to them. Similarily pro-choice individuals are deeply saddened by the act of abortion and try to help minimize its use by educa`ting others.
When people are deciding whether to be pro-life or pro-choice they rely on what they have heard about abortion or what someone they know went through, instead of thinking about how they would feel if it was them in the situation. For example in an article I read entitled Before I Had Time to Think by Nancy Anders, she talks about how she became pregnant from date rape. How her parents made her have an abortion because a similar thing had happened to her mother and that was how she dealt with it, so they felt it was the best thing for her as well. She never had an opinion in the matter, and after it was over she totally regretted it, now she is pro-life (Blanchard, 1994). That just shows exactly where pro-choice comes in at, and the important need for a freedom of such.
The opposition of abortion seems to always rely on the fact that a fetus is a human being, from the moment of conception. When people use this as an argument I do not believe they argue it wisely. For instance we are to believe that a fetus is a human and continues to be on through childhood, but than when argued people reply with, OK, draw a line, and from one point it is not a human and then after that point it is. Like it is a choice for which the nature of things no good can be given reason. It is said that arguments similar to this are sometimes called slippery slope arguments which means that the phrase is perhaps self-explanatory, and it is frightening that opponents of abortion rely on them so heavily (Baird & Rosenbaum,1989).
There is a lot of talk about the Abortion-as-Birth-Control Hypothesis, but what exactly is this? In 1977 Jimmy Carter changed his opinion on Federal funding for abortions for poor women on the notion that it might encourage women to use abortion rather than contraception for birth control. I do not know who would support this sort of hypothesis, because first of all there is not a 100 percent effective contraceptive available, and just because a woman became pregnant it does not mean that they were relying on abortion rather that contraception for birth control. More than half of abortion patients in 1989 reported that they had been using contraceptives during the month in which they conceived (Allgeier, 1990). Another factor is that most investigators of repeat abortions find that there is little evidence that women fail to use contraception because legal abortion is available (Allgeier, 1990). Some would argue that President Carter s point is supported by the incidence of a woman having two or more abortions, which is increasing, and that this rise does not necessarily result from the abandonment of contraceptives (Allgeier, 1990).
After researching information for this paper I have found that there were a large amount of facts that I had no knowledge of prior to making my choice on the abortion matter. I would still have to agree that I definitely would vote for the right to choose, I also agree that the desire for a child s death is nothing anyone would want to celebrate. Many pro-life supporters base their ban on abortion with the notion that it is murder, but I feel that it is not truly murder. I believe that even though as the sperm and the egg were contributed to the contraception they were clearly, but that the fetus is not capable of survival outside of the uterus until late in the second trimester.