The term abortion means to intentionally end a process prematurely. In terms of pregnancy, abortion refers specifically to the premature termination of a pregnancy by chemical or physical means. It shouldn’t be mistaken for a miscarriage, which is when the body cannot carry the baby to term and the fetus dies in the womb. While both occurrences have the same end result, miscarriage is an unfortunate natural incident and abortion is a human convention. There are two different ways to perform an abortion: Chemical and Surgical. Chemical abortion involves the use of drugs to kill the fetus, after which the fetus is expelled from the uterus by either chemical or physical means. There are three main types of drugs used for chemically induced abortions. These medications are only effective during the first two months of pregnancy, after which the abortion would not be successful. Surgical abortion, as the name implies, means removing the fetus by a surgical suction method. Most surgical removal methods can only be done during the first ten-to-fifteen weeks of pregnancy, as the fetus grows too large after this period. Surgical abortion after this period is commonly referred to as “partial birth abortion”, in which the fetus must be partially delivered before the abortionist can remove it fem the womb. The upside of surgical abortion is that it is completely effective, while chemical abortions are often more affordable. Medical surgery for abortion is usually safe, especially if it’s done by a licensed physician who specializes in abortion. However, some clinics practice unsafe procedures, carried out by non-certified personnel. This is one of the many problems people have with abortion.
The abortion topic is an extremely controversial one. While many groups are for abortion and a woman’s right to choose, there are just as many people who are demanding laws against abortion. Some people defend to death the constitutional right to do as you wish with your body, while some are fervently against the idea of killing an unborn child. As of today American women have the legal right to have an abortion in all fifty states, up until approximately the third trimester of pregnancy. Most states have banned the abortion of a fetus in its third trimester, except in extreme medical emergency. The Supreme Court has stated abortion laws and rights are preexisting in our constitution. And any law that contradicts this is unconstitutional. This right has been declared and protected in the 9th amendment and the 14th amendment. Despite the current law, there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding abortion.
In the argument over whether abortion should or should not be legal, people who fight in favor of abortion argue that it is a right which must not be limited or regulated by a government or religious authority. There are several reasons that proponents of abortion, referred to as Pro-Choice supporters, may give when asked why they feel it should remain legal. These justifications range from the safety of the mother to the safety of the child after birth. One such argument is the possibility that pregnant women may resort to unsafe, non-clinical abortions if they can’t get a professional abortion legally. Women who feel that their best option is to abort the child will most likely find a way to do it, and if they do not have a safe legal option they may turn to more dangerous options like self-abortion or non-certified operations. Modern abortion procedures are very safe, medically speaking. The risk of death resulting from a properly performed abortion is less than one in one-hundred thousand, or 0.001 percent. The risk of a woman dying during a natural birth (even with modern medical support) is 13.3 deaths every
100,000 deliveries, which is more than ten times the abortion risk. The American Medical Association views an abortion as a normal medical procedure when it is performed in accordance with medical standards by a licensed physician. Currently in this country, there are over seventeen-hundred board-licensed physicians certified to provide abortions. So long as it is not dangerous for the mother, most Pro-Choice supporters do not feel that there is any reason to ban the practice of abortion.
Another argument that is fiercely debated regarding abortion is the question of whether a fetus is considered alive. Most people who support abortion believe that a fetus isn’t considered a human yet. Therefore when a woman aborts a pregnancy she is not committing murder, which is the main claim of anti-abortionists. Scientifically speaking, a fetus under about twenty weeks is not capable of feeling pain. After twenty weeks the fetus will have developed the full array of brain cells that an adult human does, but it is in a sedated state. Though it is hard to tell whether the fetus can feel pain, most scientists believe that the twenty week mark is the beginning. A fetus has a heartbeat that you can hear by five weeks, however, and most anti-abortionists feel that that indicates that the baby is alive. This argument usually ends up being about religion. Anti-abortionists who believe it is murder are usually religious, while many pro-choice citizens strongly believe in the separation of church and state. While all Americans have the right to their religious beliefs, the government should not base their law-making processes on these beliefs as this would cause a conflict of interest. As long as religious groups contest that it is murder, the argument may go on and on.
Yet another argument claims that abortion grants the option of choosing whether to give birth to a baby with severely debilitating or possibly life-threatening medical conditions. Many believe that it is not right to bring a child into this world knowing that it will be sentenced to a life with a handicap. When a mother undergoes an amniocentesis, the results from the test indicate a great number of possible diseases, defects or genetic abnormalities that may accompany the child. These problems may affect not only the unborn child but also the family of the child, future caregivers, and society as a whole. Monetarily, a child with Downs Syndrome can cost a family anywhere from five hundred dollars a year to several thousand (Depending on the state lived in and the severity of the child’s needs). This means a significant financial burden on the prospective family, as well as a strong emotional toll as well. Aside from a disease like Downs Syndrome, there are other genetic diseases that are basically a death sentence for the child. A child born with Tay Sachs disease can expect to suffer a grueling four years of progressive neurological and physical deterioration, ending in death at age four. A parent who discovers that their child will be born with Tay Sachs would not want to bring the child into the world knowing that grim fate awaits it. Also, there are many complications for pregnant women. Some women cannot safely carry a baby for nine months, and could be harmed if they did not abort the pregnancy. When it is a choice between the child and the mother, it is a difficult task to decide. These situations are hard for the parents involved and pro-choice supporters believe that the right to spare the family and the child from a very difficult life should be left up to the families.
The most crucial argument at the core of the greater abortion debate is this: Does a mother have the right to decide whether to carry her baby to term? Pro-Choice supporters, as their name would suggest, feel that an American woman does have the unalienable right to choose whether to abort her pregnancy. In nineteen seventy-three, the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe versus Wade set the legal standard for abortion in America. In the case the court decided that a mother has a right to terminate a pregnancy until the baby is viable, which is determined to be around twenty-eight weeks. Since Roe vs. Wade, this has been the law. Anti-abortionists deny that the baby is not “viable” up to the twenty-eighth week, so they believe that the law should be changed to prevent the murder of unborn fetuses. However, until the Supreme Court rules in favor of a change, the law is on the side of Pro-Choice; a mother has the right to decide whether to keep her baby to term.
Opponents of abortion identify themselves as pro-life, and they almost universally believe that abortion is the act of killing of an innocent human baby. There are many different religious, political and social groups that have taken a stand against abortion. Most Christian groups feel that abortion is a sin, while most conservative political parties discredit it as a murderous form of birth control. No matter the group, the arguments against abortion are just as numerous as the arguments for it. As stated earlier, one of the main points that anti-abortionists push emphasizes that unborn fetuses are in fact innocent human babies, and they therefore have a right to live. While this argument may never be settled definitively, there is a case for believing a fetus to be alive. As I stated earlier, a fetus has a heartbeat by week five of gestation. Most people would agree that a heartbeat is a sign of life, given that the lack of a heartbeat is a
definitive sign of death. A fetus at the age of six months will have many of the same vital signs that a living person has. Obviously the fetus can’t breathe until it is expelled from the womb during childbirth, but Pro-life supporters don’t believe that a “first breath” is necessary to be considered alive. From a Christian standpoint, the killing of a baby is considered murder, which is a sin. The Sixth Commandment of the Bible’s Old Testament says that “Thou shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13), and most Christians see abortion as the taking of a human life. Whether religiously motivated or legally motivated, Pro-life supporters feel that abortion is murder and should be outlawed.
From the standpoint of a medical professional, abortions are a difficult subject. When a doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath, he swears to adhere to it throughout his service as a doctor. Within that oath, the speaker states that he will not perform “abortive medicine” on a woman. In certain translations of the oath, it states that the doctor shall not give a woman a “pessary”, which is a device inserted into the vagina to induce abortion. Following the Hippocratic Oath, no doctor should be able to perform an abortion. However, many medical professionals believe that the oath is outdated and archaic. Some medical professionals only believe that Pessary-style abortions are not allowed, while others feel that in today’s modern medical society, the outlawing of abortion is not necessary at all. However, those who hold true to the oath do not believe in providing abortions. This ethical battle remains a core issue at the heart of the debate, but neither side can claim to be “right”.
Just as pregnancy can have an adverse effect on a mother, abortion also has a number of negative effects. Abortions can lead to a variety of psychological damages including guilt, severe
postpartum depression and increased suicide risk. In fact, women who aborted a pregnancy are significantly in risk of committing suicide than women whom decide to carry their babies. There are also more cases of eating disorders, insomnia and anger management issues in women who have aborted a pregnancy. Apart from these side effects, there are more dangerous health risks. Abortion raises the chances of possible future miscarriages by around fifteen percent. This is of particular importance to young mothers-to-be. They may not be ready for children at the time of abortion, but they might want to have children later in life. However, if they have had an abortion they might not be able to bring a baby to term. Abortion can also increase the chances of a woman developing breast cancer. In the early stages of pregnancy the levels of estrogen increase, which causes the mammary glands to produce milk. When abortion interrupts this occurrence, immature cells which are left behind in the woman’s breasts can result in a higher risk of breast cancer. The correlation between abortion and breast cancer is just one of many health risks associated with the controversial procedure.
Pro-Life supporters claim that the lack of adoptable babies available is due to the practice of abortion. They feel that if abortion were not legal, more babies would be available for adoption to those parents who can’t conceive on their own. This option avoids the debate over whether abortion is murder and allows for the child to have a future with parents who truly want the child. This idea is fiercely fought against by clinics and doctors that provide abortions. Abortion industry makes around $831 million dollars annually in this country, as one single abortion can cost anywhere from $350 to $1,000- or even more. Doctors and clinics who make money from the abortions feel that they have the right to run their business so long as it is done so within the law, and they would stand to lose all of their profits if abortion were banned. If
abortion were illegalized, many doctors would stand to lose money, but there would be more children available for adoption as well. Overall, the Pro-Life side of the debate focuses on the moral, ethical, and medical consequences of abortion.
It is hard to say whether I agree or disagree with abortion. When you look at all of the
Arguments for and against it, there is a lot to consider. In my opinion, Abortion is not something to be taken as lightly as it is in this country. In many ways people treat it like it is just a form of birth control, which is wrong. Just because you became pregnant and you don’t want to have a child does not mean that you should have an abortion to “fix the problem”. Abortion should be reserved for situations when it would benefit the parents and prevent the child from having a difficult life. In my opinion, a mother should consider adoption as well as considering adoption, not just one or the other. If the baby will be born with a debilitating disease and will not be cared for properly, I think that it is up to the parents to decide whether to have the baby or not. There is no reason to bring an unwanted child into the world unless you are willing to give it up for adoption, which many mothers are not willing to do.
From a legal standpoint, I don’t think that the government should have a say in whether a mother wants to have her baby or not. Abortion is a very personal decision for a mother-to-be, and the government does not have a right to get in the middle of that decision. Roe versus Wade set the standard for the legal position on abortion, and I think it is right. Abortion after twenty-eight weeks is wrong because the mother has had time to decide whether she wants to keep it, and by that point the baby has a heartbeat, brain and other organs. At that point, the baby should not be terminated. Most of the anti-abortion argument comes from religious people who see
abortion as a sin. While their opinion is fair, it should not be the basis of any legal decision to ban abortion. The separation of church and state rule is an important part of the United States Government system. If we allowed religious beliefs to influence our law-making, we would have so many different rules that we would not be able to keep up with them. For instance, rules put in place by Christians might outlaw drinking while Jewish laws might ban the sale of pork. Meanwhile, Islamic laws would force prayer throughout the day. This cannot happen because we have so many different religions in this country. Laws apply to all people, so it would not be fair to apply one religion’s rules to everyone. That would violate their basic rights. This applies to the abortion topic as well; religious views on abortion should not be used to make laws against it.
As I said before, I do not think abortion is necessarily a good thing. However, it is a right of a woman to decide what she wants. So, in order to prevent abortion without making it illegal we should educate teens about the risks of unprotected sex. The statistic data states that fifty percent of women undergo abortions when they are less than 25 years old. Obviously most women who undergo abortions are young; most likely not ready to have a child. They probably did not understand the chance that they could get pregnant, and are faced with the possibility of having a child. Making the situation even worse, many of the women who have abortions are single as well. Almost 65 percent of them are single according to statistics. Imagine finding out you were pregnant under the age of twenty five with no spouse. It is an intimidating situation, and abortion seems like the easiest option to a young, scared girl. That fear may even lead her to make unsafe decisions, especially if she is a minor. A girl who is afraid to tell her parents that she is pregnant is much more likely to attempt a self-abortion or an illegal abortion. Young women are the more high risk demographic for abortions, we should try to educate them more to
prevent pregnancy. Teaching teens about sex, pregnancy, abortions, contraceptives and abstinence is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. In doing so, you would be able to prevent abortion.
The issue that I have with abortion is that it is used as a form of birth control. Women who know the dangers of unprotected sex should be doing everything in their power to make sure that they do not get pregnant. However, they choose to turn to abortion to avoid having to take care of a child. This is morally wrong. The problem is that there is no way to tell whether a woman could really take care of a child. I feel that a social worker system could be used to evaluate a mother-to-be and see whether she should be allowed to have an abortion. It would be like the social work needed to allow adoptions to take place, only it would decide whether a parent should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy. This would avoid an overall ban of abortion, but would provide a form of regulation. This regulation may help prevent some of the unnecessary abortions that take place.
Abortion is one of the most polarizing topics in America today. Those who are against it are utterly abhorred by it, while those who support it feel it is an untouchable right that they are owed. Whichever side of the argument that you take, abortion is a relevant topic and I think that it will be brought even more into the spotlight in the next few years. As there are more and more stories of young women dying during illegal procedures, the government will eventually have to step in and make a decision. I hope that when that time comes, the law-makers take into consideration the rights that women are granted by the constitution. The freedom to do what we wish with our bodies is a fundamental right afforded to all Americans, and to take away the right
to abortion would be wrong. However, if the government is able to find a suitable middle ground between regulation and freedom, I think we can prevent unnecessary abortions while maintaining the right to terminate a pregnancy that will be bad for all involved.
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