The History Of Abortion Essay, Research Paper
History of Abortion
In the United States, abortion laws began to appear in the 1820?s, which
forbid abortion after the fourth month of pregnancy. Through the efforts of mostly physicians and doctors, the American Medical Association, and legislators, most abortions were outlawed by 1900. Illegal abortions still frequently occurred, though they became less frequent while the Comstock Law came into effect, which essentially banned all birth control information and devices. By 1965, all fifty states banned abortion, with some exceptions such as the following: to save the life of the mother, in cases of rape and incest, or if the fetus was deformed.
Then, groups like the National Abortion Rights Action League and the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion worked to ease up anti-abortion laws. In 1973, in the case of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court declared most existing state abortion laws to be unconstitutional. This decision ruled out any legislative interference in the first trimester of pregnancy and placed limits on what restrictions could be passed on abortions in later stages of pregnancy.
While many celebrated the decision, others, especially in the Roman Catholic Church and in theologically conservative Christian groups, opposed the change. This is when ?pro-life? and ?pro-choice? groups evolved as the most common reference to the names of the movements, one to fight against abortion and the other to fight for abortion.
Early opposition to the turning of abortion laws and restrictions included such organizations as the Eagle Forum, led by Phyllis Schlafly. Today there are many pro-life organizations, such as Operation Rescue and Community of Faith, which vary in their purpose and strategies.
Opposition to abortions has increasingly turned physical and even violent; this first happened in the organized blocking of access to abortion clinics, organized primarily by Operation Rescue, which was founded in 1984 and led by Randall Terry. On Christmas Day, in 1984, three abortion clinics, unfortunately, were bombed, and those convicted called the bombings ?a birthday gift for Jesus.?
Within the churches and other groups that oppose abortion, the issue of clinic protests has become increasingly controversial; many who oppose abortions separate themselves from those who accept violence as a way to express their views on abortion. The violence expressed by some of these pro-life groups has decreased their influence on abortion activists because of the hypocrisy that exists.
The most current conflict over abortion has been on the termination of late pregnancies, which are referred to as ?partial birth abortions? by those who oppose them. Pro-choice advocates maintain that such abortions are to save the life or health of the mother or to terminate pregnancies in which the fetus cannot survive birth or cannot survive very long after birth. Pro-life advocates maintain that it is possible that some of the fetuses may be saved and that many of these abortions are done in cases that are not hopeless. The pro-life advocates state that the baby is alive and that he or she is already born. Many pro-choice advocates even say that partial birth abortions are not right.