Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before birth, resulting in,or accompanied by, the death of the fetus. Some abortions occurnaturally because a fetus does not develop normally. Or because themother has an injury or disorder that prevents her from carrying thepregnancy to a full term.
This type of abortion is commonly known as amiscarriage. Other abortions are induced. Induced abortions areintentionally brought on, either because a pregnancy is unwanted orpresents a risk to a woman’s health. Induced abortion has become one ofthe most ethical and philosophical issues of the late 20th century. Modern medical techniques have made induced abortions simpler andless dangerous.
But in the United States, the debate over abortion has ledto legal battles in the courts, in the Congress of the United States, andstate legislatures. It has proven to be spilled over into confrontations,which are sometimes violent, at clinics where abortions are performed. There are many different methods in having an abortion. Inducedabortions are performed using one of several methods. The safest andmost useful and appropriate method is determined by the age of thefetus, or the length of pregnancy, which is calculated from the beginningof the pregnant woman’s last menstrual period.
Most pregnancies last anaverage of 39 to 40 weeks, about 9 months. This period of time is brokenup into three parts known as trimesters. The first trimester is the first 13weeks, the second trimester is from the 14 to 24 week and the thirdtrimester lasts from the 25th week to birth. Abortions in the firsttrimester of pregnancy are easier and safer to perform, that is because thefetus is smaller. Abortions in the second and third trimesters are morecomplicated procedures, which present greater risks to a woman’s health. In the United States, a pregnant woman’s risk of death from afirst-term abortion is less than 1 in 100,000.
The risk increases by about30 percent with each week of pregnancy after 12 weeks. Although it is sodangerous many women continue to have abortions. There are evensome drug medications used to terminate a woman’s pregnancy. In amethod commonly referred to as the morning-after pill, a woman is givenlarge doses of estrogen which is a female hormone within 72 hours ofunprotected sexual intercourse and again 12 hours later. This high dosestops the fetus from any further development at the earliest stages afterconception. Or the point when a man’s sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg.
Typical side effects of the morning-after pill may include nausea,headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, and sometimes fluid retention. During the first seven weeks of pregnancy a combination of twodrugs can be given in pill form to make a fetus. A pregnant woman firsttakes a drug which blocks progesterone, which is a hormone needed tomaintain pregnancy. About 48 hours later she takes another drug whichis a hormone like chemical produced by the body that causescontractions of the uterus, the organ in which the fetus develops. Thesecontractions expel the fetus. Misoprostol, which is another kind of drugcan also induce abortion when it is mixed with a different drug thatinterferes with cell division.
A doctor first injects a pregnant womanwith one kind of drug and about a week later the woman takes anotherdrug to induce contractions and to expel to fetus. When you combinethese two kinds of drugs it usually ends pregnancy effectively accordingto the 95 percent of the woman who have taken them. Although, somewoman experience cramps, bleeding and nausea. Some of the cases aremore serious, such as pneumonia, edema, arrhythmia and they effect theheart and lungs which may cause death. After the first 16 weeks of pregnancy , abortion becomes moredifficult.
One method that can be used during this period is calleddilation and evacuation. Which requires greater dilation of the cervixthan other methods. It also requires the use of suction of a large curetteand a grasping tool called a forceps to remove the fetus. Dilation andevacuation are complicated procedures because of the size of the fetusand the thinner wall, which usually stretch to accommodate a growingfetus. Bleeding in the uterus often occurs.
Dilation and evacuation mustbe performed under general anesthesia in a clinic or hospital. It istypically used in the first weeks of the second trimester but can beperformed up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Intact dilation andextraction, also referred to as a partial birth abortion, consists of partiallyremoving the fetus from the uterus through the vaginal canal, feet first,and using suction to remove the brain and spinal fluid from the skull. The skull is then collapsed to allow complete removal of the fetus fromthe uterus. Abortion has become one of the most widely debated ethicalissues.
On one side there are individuals who are for woman’sreproductive rights, including the right to chose to have an abortion. Onthe other side there are the pro- life advocates, who oppose abortionexcept in extreme cases, as when the mother’s life would be threatenedby carrying a pregnancy to term. At one end of this ethical spectrum arepro- choice defenders who believe the fetus is only a potential humanbeing until it is viable. Until this time the fetus has no legal rights.
Therights belong to the woman carrying the fetus, who can decide whetheror not to bring the pregnancy to a full term. At the other end of thespectrum are pro-life supporters who believe the fetus is a human beingfrom the time of conception. The fetus has the legal right to life from themoment the egg and sperm unite. Between these positions lies acontinuum of ethical and political positions. A variety of ethical arguments have been made on both sides ofthe abortion issue, but no consensus or compromise has ever beenreached because, in the public policy debate, the most vocal pro-choiceand pro-life champions have radically different views about the status ofa fetus. Embryology, which is the study of fetal development, offers littleinsight about the fetus’s status at the moment of conception, furtherconfounding the issue for both sides.
In addition, the point when a fetusbecomes viable is constantly changing with every passing year medicaladvances make it possible to keep a premature baby alive at an earlierstage. The current definition of viability is generally accepted at about 24weeks gestation; a small percentage of babies born at about 22 weeksgestation have been kept alive with intensive medical care. In the abortion debate, the combination of medical uncertaintiesand emotional political confrontations has led to considerable hostility . However, for many people, the lines between pro-choice and pro-life areblurred.
The issue is also far less polarized. Many women, who considerthemselves pro-life supporters, are concerned about the danger ofallowing the government to decide what medical options are available tothem and the possible threats to reproductive rights. Similarly, manywomen, who contemplate their view as the pro-choice view, are deeplysaddened by the act of abortion and seek to minimize its use throughmore education about abortions, prevention’s of pregnancy and the useof birth control. Many people on all sides of the controversy feel thepolitical debate has led to a stalemate because it ignores the nuances ofthe issue. In response, participants in the abortion debate find commonground in the admission that the issue is surrounded by complicated,difficult questions that require more than simplified pro-life orpro-choice supporters. Abortion has been practiced around the world since ancient timesas a crude method of birth control.
Although many religions forbade orrestricted the practice, abortion was not considered illegal in mostcountries until the 19th century. There were laws during this time,however, that banned abortion after quickening which is the time thatfetal movement can first be felt. In 1803 England banned all abortions,and this policy soon spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Throughout the middle and late 1800s, many states in the United Statesenacted similar laws banning abortion.
In the 20th century, however,many nations began to be lenient about their laws against abortion. Theformer Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) legalized abortion in1920, followed by Japan in 1948, and several Eastern European countriesin the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, much of Europe and Asia, alongwith Canada and the United States, legalized abortion. An estimate of about 50 million people have abortions a year. Ofthis number a lot of the abortions that are performed are done illegallywhich lead to immediate deaths.
Illegal abortions are more likely to beperformed by untrained people, in unsanitary conditions, or with unsafesurgical procedures or drugs. In many European countries it is morelikely for woman to have illegal abortions. In countries where abortion islegal less than one percent of pregnancy related deaths are caused byabortion. In the United States. the legalization of abortion became an issue in1966, when Mississippi passed a law permitting abortion in cases of rape.
In the following four years, other states started to legalize abortion toinclude cases in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s health, the fetushas serious abnormalities, or the pregnancy is the result of sexualrelations between close relatives. The Supreme court decided in the early1973 two cases known as Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, that abortion waslegal for any apparent reason before the 24th week of pregnancy. Thereason for this is because the fetus has not yet become viable.
The rulingof the Supreme Court allowed individual states to change the law byrestricting abortion after viability. Except in certain cases when thepregnancy presents a threat to the woman’s health, abortion is allowedno matter how many weeks. In 1976 the Supreme Court recognized the right of pregnant girlsunder the age of 18, know as a minor, to terminate her pregnancy. Thecourt ruled three years later that states may require consent of one of theparents of the minor, who wants a abortion.
However, consent is notneeded if a confidential alternative form of review, such as a judicialhearing. A judicial hearing is made for young women, who had chosennot to involve their parents in their decision of abortion. The SupremeCourt of The United States also ruled that a judicial court may approve aminor’s decision of abortion, in place of her parents, only if the judgefinds that the young girl is capable to make the decision on her own. Ifthe judge finds the minor not mature enough to make the decision ofabortion on her own, the court can rule whether the termination ofpregnancy is in the minor’s best interest. Since these decisions many states have enforced parental consent,or notification laws.
Although some laws have been argued in courts foryears. For Example in 1990, Hodgson v. Minnesota, the Supreme Courtupheld a law requiring that prior notice of the minor’s parents must beprovided before and abortion is performed. In a similar case thathappened in Ohio, the Supreme Court upheld a requirement for notice orconsent of only one parent. In 1980 the Supreme Court upheld anotherruling restricting the availability of federal Medicaid funding forabortions that were medically necessary. After that ruling, abortionpayments for the poor women were limited to cases in which thepregnancy threatened the woman’s life.
Also in 1977, the Supreme Courtallowed the city of St. Louis, Missouri to exclude elective abortions fromprocedures performed in a public hospital. In 1983, the court found it unconstitutional to require that awoman considering an abortion should be given information developedby the state, talking about risks and consequences and that they shouldwait 24 hours after receiving the information about abortion. Also in1986, the court struck down a law in Pennsylvania requiring that state-developed materials about abortion being offered to woman that areundergoing the procedure of abortion. In 1989 there was a Supreme Court decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health services, and since then the court has permittedseveral state imposed restrictions to stand.
The Webster case upheld aMissouri law that prohibits the use of public facilities or publicemployees for abortion and requires a physician to determine theviability of a fetus older than 20 weeks before performing an abortion. In1991, in the case of Rust v. Sullivan, the court upheld a federal policy thatprevented health care providers who received federal funding fromengaging in any activities that encouraged or promoted abortion as amethod of family planning. This policy was later annulled by PresidentBill Clinton in 1993. One year earlier in 1992 the court decided PlannedParenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which was a case inwhich the court reaffirmed the central ruling of Roe v.
Wade, that noundue burden on access to abortion should exist for a woman over 18years of age prior to fetal viability. That case also permitted states morefreedom in regulating abortion. The court overturned rulings whichmade it possible for states to once again require that a woman be giveninformation about abortion risks and consequences and wait 24 hoursbefore actually performing the procedure. The last bill enacted by the Congress was passed in 1996, banningthe practice of partial birth abortions. President Clinton rejected the lawbecause it failed to permit use of the procedure when a fetus displaysabnormalities, or when carrying a pregnancy to term presents a seriousthreat to the woman’s life or health. Since then many states have passedthe law banning use of the procedure.
Since the Supreme Court ruling in 1973, pro-life supporters haveworked continuously to reverse the decision. They had state and federalofficials to place restrictions on women seeking abortions or onindividuals providing abortions. In 1994, the Freedom Of Access toClinic Entrances Act was enacted, which made it a federal crime to useforce, threat of force, or physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, orinterfere with reproductive health care providers and their patients. During that same year, in a case known as Madsen v. Women’s healthCenter, the Supreme Court upheld the basic right to protest in peaceful,organized demonstrations outside abortion clinics.
More than twodecades since the Supreme Court first upheld a woman’s right toabortion, the debate over the morality and the legality of inducedabortion continues in the U. S. Although pro-life and pro-choicesupporters still continue to argue the issue. A growing number ofindividuals and organizations are kind of leaving the debate in search ofcommon ground. Many people hope that broadening the arguments toinclude a wider spectrum of perspectives will improve the chances of anend to the issue. The argument for abortion is that women who accidentally getpregnant have the option to get an abortion.
Instead of just having thebaby and leaving it stranded abortion will not leave you in that situation. In some cases the pregnancy is unwanted and therefore that is why Ithink abortion should be legal. I feel that the woman should be able todecide what happens to their body. Some woman must have theabortion other wise it is a threat and risk to their lives and to their health. Some parents might not be understanding and when they find out thattheir child is about to perform and abortion, the parents won’t let thechild do it.
Therefore the child is forced to have an illegal abortion whichis extremely dangerous. On the other hand, the argument against havingabortion is that it can be very risky. Some abortions are so severe thatthey can kill you. Most of the abortions don’t necessarily have to protectthe mothers health since she wants to kill the baby.
If the mother doesn’twant to baby so badly than she should put it up for adoption. Majorityof the abortions performed in the United States are done in an unskilledway, which leads to either woman dying or having horrendous sideeffects such as the inability to have children. The woman who is havingthe abortion should be responsible to prevent a pregnancy from thebeginning of the sexual relationship. In conclusion I feel that abortion should be legalized through out theworld. I think an amendment should be passed for all those unwantedmothers who either can’t afford to have a baby or who just don’t want it. Obviously my position on this case is to allow the choice of an abortion inany case.
I hope I’ve proved my arguments for having an abortion. In thefuture, I aspire that abortion will be legal in all states and not just selectedstates through out the country.