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Sociological Acceptance Of Abortion Essay Research Paper (стр. 1 из 2)

Sociological Acceptance Of Abortion Essay, Research Paper

In three weeks, Jennifer will leave for college. She broke up with her

boyfriend two weeks ago, and today she found out she was pregnant.

Should Jennifer have an abortion, or stop all her plans and have a baby

at eighteen? Either way the decision is hers to make. On January 22,

1973 the landmark decision of Roe vs. Wade occurring in the Supreme

Court made abortion a "constitutional liberty" (Francome 20). Legally,

Jennifer can receive an abortion. Socially, however, she will endure

many more obstacles.

Fighting for society’s acceptance

In today’s American society, viewpoints on certain topics often

conflict with what individuals believe is right. This is very evident

in the argument for acceptance of abortions among college students.

However, with the rise of the anti-abortion movement this procedure has

become less accepted and harder to obtain. Should abortions among

college students be more widely accepted in society? According to a

Planned Parenthood study done in 1997, forty percent of seventeen year

olds will become pregnant before their twenty-fifth birthday. This

statistic is directly targeted at college age females. The answer is

far from being strictly a black and white issue, but my own viewpoint is

"yes" abortions should be accepted among society for many reasons. The

controversial issue of abortion has many intertwining, surrounding

complications. Such an issue is never concrete, "in

America, about 20% of Americans thoroughly oppose abortions, 20%

thoroughly favor abortions, while a vast majority are ‘muddled in the

middle’" (Pojman and Beckwith 59). As with any pregnancy there are

impending risks involved and many extenuating circumstances that justify

an abortion. In a perfect world, abortions are not the best way to

prevent unwanted pregnancies, but there are many "bumps in the road,"

keeping the United States from being perfect.

Defining Life?

The main question facing society is the definition of a fetus’ point of

living. Pro-Lifers believe that, "a fertilized embryo is the foundation

for a living human being" (National College Students for Life). In

contrast, pro-choicers argue that a human being is something more

concrete with it’s own thought processes and consciousness. Petchesky

argues, "the fetus is only a potential human being, and we confuse

actual with potential" (432). So who is right and who is wrong? Who

makes the definition of a living human being? These however, are

questions that will most likely never be resolved. Therefore, both

sides need to accept and respect each other views on the issue for

society as a whole to be more accepting of abortion.

Emotional Instability

The emotions that result from being in a college atmosphere and the

emotions that occur with pregnancy do not coincide. Most college

students are not emotionally stable enough to carry or give birth to a

child. As stated by Rosalind Petchesky, "women between the ages of

eighteen and twenty are at the highest level of emotional insecurity

and have proven to be unfit mothers" (322). Entering college is a new

experience for teenagers which involves a new sense of freedom and

responsibility. College students are battling with being on their own

for the first time, managing their time and studying. College students

have too much emotional strain and stress on them to add the additional

stress of having a child. A survey was conducted among college males

and females on their various viewpoints of abortion. Of those surveyed,

82% of both males and females claimed they did not feel that they would

make a capable parent while still remaining in college. Having a child

brings a whole new sense of responsibility that I do not believe college

students are able to handle. The added stress of morning sickness, mood

swings, weight gain and other anxieties attributed to pregnancy would

place to much of a emotional strain on an already tense college

student. Pro-Lifers argue, "if one is responsible enough to have sex,

one should be responsible enough to deal with the consequences"

(National College Students for Life). I am in agreement with the

responsibility necessary to be a part of a sexual relationship but the

reality of unwanted pregnancies is far too large to overlook. Studies

show that "each year, one million teenagers become pregnant and 85% of

these pregnancies are unwanted" (Detroit News). Of course there is

always the counter argument of putting the child up for adoption, but

that leads to more emotional entanglements. Having to go through a nine

month period carrying a child growing inside you may cause you to become

attached to that child, which may not receive the life it deserves at

that time.

Consequences of unwanted pregnancies

When examining the records of any mental or penal institution and

prison, one realizes that in too many cases the person was raised in a

household where the parents did not want the child (Landes 121). A

child requires love and compassion to grow and live a happy life. The

children that do not receive adequate attention often go to jail or

become insane because they have never learned to love. Also because

abortions are not always easily accessible or accepted, mothers find

another way to get rid of the child. This means that the children live

in foster homes where they do not lead stable lives (Landes 122).

Extenuating circumstances

More than 87,000 rapes were reported in 1996, and 40% of those rapes

were considered date or acquaintance rape among women between the ages

of sixteen and twenty, typical college age students (Willke 193). Rape

is a violent act that may leave a woman pregnant. Christina, a 20

year-old rape victim, remarks on her decision of abortion rather than

adoption, "losing a seven week fetus which weighed less than aspirin

tablet does not compare to losing a seven pound baby with hair and

fingernails that would look like me" (Bender and Leone 132). Regardless

how much a mother loves her child, it is unbearably difficult to look

into its face without thinking about the mortifying activity on how the

child was conceived. Rape is a harsh crime and having a baby reminding

the woman is too much to ask, unless she is totally willing.

Abortions should also be more accepted and accessible to women whose

lives are in danger or whose children will be born with a terminal

illness. Pregnancy does not go with out health risks. However,

"teenage mothers are more likely to give birth to unhealthy children due

to their immaturity" (Maloy 124). It is not fair to the child nor the

parents to bring the child into the world under those circumstances.

The parent’s life would be completely altered due to the demanding needs

of terminal ill children and this would not correspond with a demanding

college schedule.

Breakdown of sociological expectations

Society’s expectations of today’s generation also conflict with the

acceptance of abortion among college students. All of our lives it is

instilled in us to further our education by attending a college or

university. Those females who have achieved this goal should be highly

praised. However, this praise and recognition is then shattered upon

them becoming pregnant. The treatment received and the emotional

struggles endured will make it hard for a continuation of their college

education, not to mention the emotional strength it takes to carry and

then support a child. According to the same Planned Parenthood study,

mentioned previously, the majority of female college students that have

children in college, are not able to finish their college careers.

Another issue that society deems important is family values, and once

again, society’s lack of acceptance of abortion conflicts with this

issue. We have been taught, and studies show, that a nuclear family is

healthiest. The probability of a pregnant college student being a part

of a nuclear family, with two married parents, is low. As supported in

the survey conducted, 30% of males said they would not support a child

that was a result of a one night stand. This leaves the child without a

two parent family, which is against society’s norm that we are expected

to follow.

Financial burden

Seventy-three percent of college students are receiving some form of

financial aid, grant, scholarship or student loan (College Board 1996).

College students are usually already on a fixed and strict budget and

children are a huge expense on top of that. It is estimated that

8,000-10,000 dollars are spent on a newborn within it’s first year of

life (Hume 213). With or without support, many college students could

not afford the expense of a child in addition to college expenses, and

therefore would be forced financially to drop out of school. Secondly,

a large portion of the financial burden of children is held by medical

expenses. There is a great insufficiency in the number of inexpensive

and accessible medical utilities for young adults without any form of

insurance. To follow through with a healthy pregnancy, adequate

pre-natal care must be given. Because the majority of pre-natal

development occurs within the first trimester (Willke 46), favorable

development requires frequent check ups, along with vitamins and drugs

that help prevent birth defects. Facilities that dispense such services

are usually expensive and require medical insurance. After a child is

born, immunizations and follow up care is required. These procedures

also require some form of payment. The majority of college students do

not have jobs that provide adequate medical coverage, if they even have

jobs. So obviously, for many

reasons having and supporting a child is too much of a financial burden

on a college student and abortion seems the logical answer.

Is there a solution?

Now that all the problems of having a child in college have been

discussed, it’s time to ask the question-Can anything be done to make

abortions among college students more socially accepted? I believe

something can be done and many different possibilities need to be


More education

As with any other issue, education is the basis of judgment. According

to psychologist, Dr. Martin J. Sternberg, "the way children are educated

at a young age directly affects their behavior as adults" (Pojman and

Beckwith 418). Therefore, children need to be educated possibly as

young as elementary school on the topic of abortion. At this age

children are just starting to learn of society’s expectation of them to

go to college in the future. They then will be able to directly

correlate the need of responsibility to raise a child with the struggles

of a college student, and learn they don’t mix. Of course education

cannot stop at this age, and must continue throughout high school.

Educating young children implants the notion in their minds, but high

school students are on a more mature level to comprehend information,

especially dealing with sexual relationships. High school students are

also at the perfect age to realize the emotional and physical hardships

that would be endured if one was to have a child in college. Of the

college students surveyed, 63% did not know exactly how an abortion was

performed. Teaching

children about abortion at a young age, and constant reinforcement

throughout their schooling will allow them to be more knowledgeable and

accepting if they are a part of, or know someone who is a part of such a

situation, once they reach college age.

In addition to education about abortion, education about alternative

methods of birth control is necessary. A study done in 1995 showed that

82% of women that received abortions, that year, were not using any

method of birth control at point of conception. It could be inferred

from this statistic that these women did not have knowledge about birth

control or access to it. Again, starting at an early age in education,

children should be taught the logistics of different methods of birth

control. In many states, including North Carolina, the only method of

birth control allowed to be taught, by law, is abstinence. The presence

of pre-marital sex among teenagers in today’s generation cannot be

ignored. Instead of trying to discount the number of teenagers that

participate in pre-marital sex, society should go with a more realistic

approach and educate them about birth control and therefore, there will

be fewer necessary abortions.

Educating today’s youth about abortion and birth control will conjure

ideas in them at a young age. With education comes knowledge, and with

knowledge comes acceptance.

Greater accessibility

Much of the problem with accepting abortion is the lack of facilities

that perform abortions. Only thirteen percent of abortions are

performed within hospitals (Landes 64). The rest are performed outside

of hospitals in clinics. The Alan Guttmacher Institute

surveyed and found only 2,680 abortion clinics in the United States.

Eighty-eight percent of the clinics are only in metropolitan areas where

ninety-eight percent of abortions are performed (Landes 64). Rural

counties that contain colleges or universities do not have such

accessibility to facilities that perform abortions. The AGI discovered

that eighty-three percent of rural counties did not have clinics.

Limited facilities that perform clinics poses a dilemma for college

students that may not have transportation or time, to travel to

metropolitan areas. However, if colleges installed on-campus abortion

clinics with certified doctors and psychologists, for counseling

purposes, this problem could be corrected. With on-campus abortion

clinics, it would show the university to be more accepting and

understanding of college students need for such medical facilities, and

therefore, society as a whole may be more accepting. The clinics should

be widely advertised so that students knew of their presence. However,

they should also be in an environment that the students still feel safe

and protected. It is imperative that these clinics include

psychologists for counseling needs because, as previously stated,

college students are encountering many new experiences and may need

someone to talk to about their decision. The increase of abortion

clinics, in places where college students can access them, is essential

to society being more understanding of college students’ situation if

they become pregnant.

Coming to a compromise

Abortion will always be a very controversial issue with many different

aspects intertwining within the issue. People will have their set

opinions on the topic and that is

fine. All that is being asked is, that society, as a whole, come to the

realization of the situation that college students are a part of. An

understanding of the stress and pressure that is already upon college

students is needed to comprehend the impossibility of undertaking, and

following through with, a pregnancy during these years of life. There

are many people that consider themselves pro-choice, but pro-life for

themselves. These people need to be recognized as leaders, in such

that, they have made an opinion for their own bodies but are not willing

to make the same decision for the rest of the world. For many reasons

such as, lack of finances and medical care, society’s expectations of

our generation, and the emotional strain of pregnancy and motherhood

clearly illustrate need for acceptance in today’s world. College

students are not emotionally nor financially stable enough to carry and

raise a child. One night of stupidity should not be punishable by a

lifetime of struggleIn three weeks, Jennifer will leave for college. She broke up with her

boyfriend two weeks ago, and today she found out she was pregnant.

Should Jennifer have an abortion, or stop all her plans and have a baby

at eighteen? Either way the decision is hers to make. On January 22,

1973 the landmark decision of Roe vs. Wade occurring in the Supreme

Court made abortion a "constitutional liberty" (Francome 20). Legally,

Jennifer can receive an abortion. Socially, however, she will endure

many more obstacles.

Fighting for society’s acceptance