Theright to life is guaranteed by the constitution of the land andenforced by different government agencies. Abortion is theintentional discontinuation of a human pregnancy before the end ofthe full term. This is one of the exemptions to the right to lifeenshrined in the constitution and has been legalized in almost allstates of the US (Wilson, 2013). Abortion and the issues surroundingit have thus become very topical considering the varying opinionsthat have created strong opponents and even stronger proponents. Thispaper is a research into Abortion and the issues surrounding it.
Abortionis a complex and often very controversial issue in the society today.The safety of abortion can be equated to the type of medicalprocedure and the stage of the pregnancy. Abortion within the firsttrimester is the safest with the least number of healthcomplications. There are two types of abortion procedures availableto women, the medical and surgical methods. The medical methodinvolves the use of pills within a pregnancy period of 10 weeks. Thismethod has been in use from the early years of 2000 in the U.S with avery minimal record of major problems.
Thesurgical method involves the use of medical instruments to remove thepregnancy of up to 12 weeks. Surgical abortion is common and has beenused for more than 40 years to terminate pregnancies safely. Minorimmediate complications include infection, bleeding, fever andvomiting while major complications are excessive bleeding, ripping ofthe uterus, cervical injury, embolism and anesthetic complications.The risk of complications is often brought by gestational age of thepregnancy, method of abortion and the expertise of the medics(Wilson, 2013).Medical experts argue that maternal death duringchildbirth is ten times more likely to occur as compared to abortion.Medical reasons like defects in the uterus and health problems of thewoman make abortion necessary. Pro-life medics have come out to provethe existence of life through brain wave activity detected in theuterus.
Historical,Cultural and Legal Issues
Abortionwas carried out before about 1900, but it was illegal unless thewoman’s life was in danger. Laws prohibiting abortion led to therise in unsafe methods which translated in complications and maternaldeaths. The ability to carry out an abortion depended on the economicsituation of the woman. Thus poor and women of color were pushed tounsafe ways of terminating the pregnancy. Even though the exactnumber of unsafe abortions cannot be established, many women weretreated for health complications.
Casesof infertility and chronic illnesses were also reported during thatperiod. In the formative years of 1960, a group of clergy cametogether to provide safe and illegal abortions. This gave rise to theformation of an underground feminist abortion service in the year1969 that provided safe and inexpensive services (Cook, Erdman &Dickens, 2014).Women and some men lobbied for the legalization ofsafe abortions and in the period between 1967 and 1973 several statesreformed, while four others entirely repealed the abortion laws. NewYork became the first state to legalize abortion on demand in1970.Washington and Alaska followed this resulted in women flockingthis states. January 22, 1973, the U.S Supreme Court dismissed allrestrictive abortion laws. In the ruling of the case between Roe andWade, theSupreme Court determined that a woman’s decision to abortwithin the first trimester was protected under the right of privacy.
Morethan 50 million abortions have been carried out in the U.S since itslegalization in all the states. WHO estimates that 40-50 millionabortions are performed each year in the whole world, this translatesto almost 125,000 abortions per day. In the U.S, according to theCDC, there are 3,000 abortions per day. Nearly half of all abortionsreported are of women above the age of 25, with teens accounting17%.Racial issues are more often associated with the rates ofabortion (Cook, Erdman & Dickens, 2014). Black and economicallychallenged women seem to record significantly higher number ofabortions. The minor race accounts for almost a third of allabortions in the U.S. even though they represent a quarter of thetotal population of women.
Thereligious affiliation of the woman also dictates her decision onterminating a pregnancy. It has been reported that a third of womenwho carry out this procedure proclaim some form of religiousaffiliation. Catholics have the highest number of this cases ascompared to the Protestants. Women from developing countries are morelikely to carry out abortions as compared to their counterparts.Abortion levels are going down in developed countries in the recentyears while they continue to rise in developing countries.
Theissue of morality in abortion has been controversial. Critics havecome out to challenge whether it is a human or the woman’s right toterminate a pregnancy. Pro-life critics have come out to argue thatabortion is morally wrong since it involves the termination of apotential life. Pro-life supporters have contested the issue ofpersonhood and the point at which conception can be determined.Pro-choice advocates base their argument on the gestational age ofthe uterus which is normally categorized in the form of trimesters(Wilson, 2013).They also propose that the law cannot dictatemorality. The right of the woman to secure an abortion is defended incountries where it is legal, but the rights of the fetus as apotential human being have been overlooked. Morality can also beargued on the circumstances that led to the termination of thepregnancy.
Abortionis one of the topics that create a lot of excitement in the Americanpopulation considering the divided opinions and beliefs on thesanctity of life. Legalization has led to the safety of the practiceand market effects on its price has made it more accessible which hasresulted in reduced cases of deaths resulting from unprofessionalprocedures. Social acceptance of the practice has increased over theyears, especially with the reduced religious inclinations andincreased liberals.
Wilson,J. C. (2013). Thestreet politics of abortion: Speech, Violence, and America`s culturewars.Stanford, California: Stanford Law Books, An Imprint of StanfordUniversity Press
InCook, R. J., In Erdman, J. N., & In Dickens, B. M. (2014).Abortionlaw in transnational perspective: Cases and controversies.Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
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