Abortion Essay, Research Paper
An abortion is a woman’s option to terminate a pregnancy. It is an induced
miscarriage. Abortion has become an extremely controversial topic in the past 3 decades
since it has been legalized. There has been extreme violence stemming from this issue
that we as a country need to put under control, regardless of our personal stances on the
There are many reasons why a woman would choose to have an abortion. She
does not feel she is ready to be a parent, she can not afford a baby, and being too young
or immature to be responsible for another life are only three of these reasons. If a woman
becomes pregnant due to a rape or from incest would be another reason. It has been
found that almost fifty per cent of all women will have an abortion by the time they reach
45. Is this number increasing since the legalization of abortion? Probably not,
considering the fact that before abortions were legal they were still being preformed. The
only difference is now they are safer.
Before 1965, abortion was somewhat taboo. No one dared to even discuss the
issue. Abortion was frowned upon and considered “evil”; therefore it remained a very
private issue. Abortions were performed by doctors, nurses, midwives, even
chiropractors. Being that abortions were not performed in a hospital or clinic, anyone
who felt like it could become an abortionist. These abortions were referred to as back-
alley abortions. They were unsafe and lead to the deaths of many women, but in 1933 it
was estimated that nearly 2 million were performed (Grisey). This proves to us that
regardless if abortion is legal or not, if a woman feels she needs to have one she is going
to. The prices of these abortions ranged from about $83 for white women to about $45
for women in prision or African American women.
There are currently two types of abortions, medical abortions and surgical
abortions. A medical abortion is done without surgery. There are two steps to this
abortion. First the woman is either given an injection of a drug called methotrexate or a
tablet called mifepristone. These drugs stop the pregnancy. Next the woman is given
Misoprostol, which may be recieved in either pill or suppository form. This causes the
uterus to contract and empty, which expels the fetus from the woman’s body. This type
of abortion can cost the woman anywhere from $200 to $350.
The second type of abortion is a surgical abortion. There are three commonly
used methods of surgical abortion: manual vacuum aspiration, dilation and suction
cutterage, or dilation and evacuation. The method used depends upon the length of the
pregnancy. The manual vacuum aspiration empties the uterus with the gentle suction of
a manual syringe. This type of abortion can be used up to ten weeks from the woman’ s
The second method of surgical abortion is the dilation and suction cutterage
method. During this procedure the uterus is emptied with a machine-operated suction. A
narrow metal loop also known as a curette may be used to clean the walls of the uterus.
This method of abortion can be from six to fourteen weeks after the woman’s last period.
Both of these procedures take about 10 minutes to complete.
The last method of surgical abortion is the dilation and evacuation. During this
procedure the womens cervix is slowly dilated with a series of tubes, that increase in size,
the biggest being about the size of a ball point pen. Next the uterus is emptied using a
suction machine and various medical instruments including a curette. This method of
abortion is used up to 24 weeks since the woman’s last period. Abortions are rarely
performed anytime after 24 weeks. They will only be performed if there are serious
health risks to the mother. Any of these abortion methods will cost approximately $450.
During or after an abortion most women will experience cramping, somewhat
similar to menstrual cramps. Some women experience no pain at all and some
experience a more severe pain. After an abortion a woman should relax for the rest of
the day, but she can return to normal activities, excluding sexual intercourse, the next
There is a wide spectrum of opinions regarding abortion. There are those people
who are willing to murder doctors and women at an abortion clinic. There are those who
feel that a person should have the right to choose if they want to have one. Then there
are those who believe it is a violation of our freedom to make abortions illegal.
The Catholic Church has taken a strong stance against abortion. In the 14th
century a Dominican moralist and Archbishop of Florence, Antoninus, condemed
anyone who would attempt or have anything to do with an abortion. He claimed they
were guilty of sin, regardless if the abortion was successful or not. Antoninus does,
however, write that abortion is okay if it is necessary to save the mother’s life.
The Second Vatican Council refers to abortion as an “unspeakable crime”. The
Pope defined abortion as “the deliberate killing by whatever means it is carried out, of a
human being in the intial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to
birth”. It is written in the “Declaration on Procured Abortion” that “from the time that the
ovum is fertilized, a life has begun which is neither that of the father or mother; it is
rather the life of a new human being with it’s own growth. It would never be made
human if it were not human already. (Farminton Fellowship Study)
The Church’s stance is that from the time an egg is fertilized by a sperm, there is a
human life, which can not be taken by anyone. The Church argues that just as a person
may not kill another on the street, a person may not kill an innocent fetus. To look
through the Church’s eyes on the issue of abortion is to see it as a violation of the first
commandment, “thou shalt not kill”.
One of the most difficult abortion related issues faced by our country’s lawmakers
are parental consent laws. Some states are now requiring that a teenager must tell at least
one of their parents, in some states both, if they plan to have an abortion. It has been
found, in a 1991 study, that sixty one per cent of all teenagers who choose abortion do
discuss it with a parent. However those who do not discuss it with their parent don’t for
obvious reasons: they feel they will dissappoint their parents, they fear violence, or being
forced to leave home.
In the states where there are currently parental consent laws, teens who feel they
cann not tell their parents have two options. They must travel to a state where they can
obtain a legal abortion without parental consent or they must obtain a judicial bypass.
Both of these choices make it much harder for the teen to obtain an abortion and also
take valuable time. To prevent the teens from leaving the state to get an abortion some
states reintroduced the Child Custody Protection Act into the House and the Senate. The
bill was passed, but President Clinton threatened to veto it and it was never taken back
into consideration. If passed this would subject any one, other than a parent, who helped
a teen cross state lines to obtain an abortion, to criminal prosecution.
I feel that whether or not a woman chooses to have an abortion is her own choice.
Currently we do not force women who want to keep a child to abort it, so why should we
force a woman who does not want to keep her unborn baby to keep it? To outlaw
abortions kills women. When alcohol was outlawed by nineteenth amendment, people
did not stop drinking. Bootleggers made or imported alcohol and sold it on the black
market. The same will happen with abortion if it is outlawed, it will be driven back into
the back- alleys, back to abortions being performed with coathangers.
In Medicine and Christian Morality O’Donnel argues that in this country there are
certain “truths that we hold to be self evident” that being the fact that “all men are created
equal”. But how can a fetus be granted rights if it imposes upon the rights of the mother
who bears it? It can not be granted these rights. A fetus is not a thinking, reasoning
human being, a woman is, so there is no way a fetus’ rights be more important than the
Personally I feel that by forcing a mother to have a child that she does not want
will lead to an increase in child abuse and neglect. I am not encouraging the use of
abortion as a method of birth control, but accidents will happen. Some people are
responsible enough to deal with these accidents, but some feel that they are not ready to
bring a child into this world. If a mother feels she can not properly care for a child, isn’t
it better for the fetus to be aborted before it is brought into a world where it can not be
properly loved, cared for and supported?
1. Grady, John L, Abortion Yes or No. (no printing press). Florida,1972.
2. Grisey, Germain, Abortion: the Myths, the Realities and the Argument.Corpus Books,
3. O’Donnell, Thomas J, Medicine and Christian Morality. Alba House, New York, 1976