The Pro-choice Versus Pro-life Debate as a Political Issue


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Abortion is a controversial topic that has become an important political issue. Recently, several states have enacted new laws that restrict more people from having abortions. Alabama has approved legislation in which it is a crime for doctors to perform abortions. New York new laws prohibits people from having abortions unless the fetus is not viable or it the women’s health is in danger. To understand why abortion is a controversial topic, it is important to discuss the history of abortion, the types of abortions, and the organizations associated with abortions.

In the nineteenth century, abortions were known to be unsafe. The women who survived abortions became sterile, or unable to produce children. All states had laws criminalizing abortions. However, by the start of the mid-twentieth century, women’s groups organized movements to reform abortion laws. They argued that unlike men, women are unable to control their reproductive lives. State governments did change their laws about abortion, but the groups continued to protest for unregulated access to abortion services for women. It wasn’t until 1973 that the Supreme Court ruled abortion to be legal during the Roe v. Wade case.

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Abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. There are two types of abortion treatments, which are called medical and surgical abortion. The only procedure for medical abortion is called the “pill” abortion. A drug is given to stop the development of a pregnancy. Common examples of medical abortions include Plan-B and Birth Control pills.

Surgical abortions have five different procedures. The first procedure is called the Vacuum Aspiration or Suction Abortion. This procedure is performed within two to twelve weeks of a pregnancy. A local anesthetic is injected into or near the cervix. The cervix is stretched open, allowing a tube to be inserted. Once the tube is inserted, the child and placenta are sucked out. The second procedure is called Dilation and Evacuation. It is performed within thirteen to twenty-one or twenty-two weeks of a pregnancy. Sponge-like pieces of material are placed into the cervix, slowly opening the cervix over a period of several hours or overnight. A general anesthesia is then given to the mother, and the unborn child and placenta are removed with forceps and suction curettage.

The third type of procedure is called Labor Induction. This procedure can be performed within thirteen to twenty-one weeks or twenty-two to thirty-eight weeks of a pregnancy. Drugs are given to the matter to terminate the pregnancy and to begin labor. The cervix is opened, and the fetus is removed via suction curettage. With this procedure, it is important to be cautious. If the baby is removed alive, the doctor is required by law to provide treatment to it as they would any other baby born under similar circumstances.

The fourth type of procedure is called the Dilation and Extraction. It is referred to as a partial birth abortion. It is performed within thirteen to twenty-one weeks of a pregnancy. This type of abortion is illegal except when necessary to save a mother’s life. This procedure is must be performed in a hospital. The doctor opens the cervix and grabs the unborn child’s foot and delivers the child without the head. An incision is made in the back of the child’s head and a suction tube is inserted. The child’s skull is suctioned out and it allows the head to collapse. The child is delivered dead.

The fifth type of procedure is called the Hysterotomy. It is similar to a C-Section. The procedure is performed within twenty-two to thirty-eight weeks of a pregnancy. This type of abortion is never performed in a clinic setting, since it requires the person to stay in the hospital for a certain amount of time. The surgery is performed by cutting open the abdomen and the uterus. The child is killed prior to removing the child from the woman’s uterus, and the child is delivered dead.

The legalization of abortion in the United States has created debates over whether it should continue to be a legal option, or should it be banned. There have been groups created that either support or are against abortion. The two most notable groups are the pro-choice and the pro-life movement. People who are pro-choice believe that an abortion is a woman’s right, and it should not be limited by the government or religion. Pro-Choice organizations include Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the National Organization for Women. The people who identify themselves as pro-life, believe that individual human life begins at fertilization. Therefore, abortion is considered to be an immoral killing of an innocent person. Pro-life organizations include The National Right to Life Committee, the Catholic Church, Christian Coalition of America, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each group have their own individual beliefs for why abortion should be legal or banned in the United States.

The pro-choice movement has five major reasons for why abortion should continue to be legal. The first reason (which everyone knows) is The US Supreme Court has declared abortion to be a “fundamental right” guaranteed by the US Constitution. On January 22, 1973, in the case of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decided in favor of abortion rights in a seven to two vote. The reason for their decision was that the Constitution states “a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy”. The statement is broad enough for a woman to have the right to make a decision on whether or not she should terminate her pregnancy. The second reason is that access to legal abortions reduces maternal injury and death caused by illegal abortions. Before abortion was legalized women would try to induce abortions by using coat hangers, knitting needles, or by going to “back-alley” abortionists. The last reason is that women who receive abortions are less likely to suffer mental health problems than women denied abortions. A study found that women who were denied abortions “felt more regret and anger” and “less relief and happiness” than women who had abortions. The same study also found that 95% of women who received abortions “felt it was the right decision” a week after the procedure.

The fourth reason is that modern abortion procedures are safe and do not cause lasting health issues such as cancer and infertility. According to a study from Obstetrics & Gynecology found a woman’s risk of dying from giving birth is around 14 times higher than from having an abortion. The study also found that “pregnancy-related” complications were more common with childbirth than with abortion. It has also been stated by The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians that “Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States”. The fifth reason is that many religious organizations and people of faith support women’s reproductive choice. Although many religious groups oppose abortion, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations are pro-choice. The Bible contains no explicit rule about the concept of abortions, and it isn’t stated that the killing of a fetus is the same as killing a human being.

The pro-life has four major reasons for why abortion should be outlawed in the United States. The first reason is that they believe that “Abortion is Murder”. The killing of an innocent human being is wrong, even if that human isn’t born yet. Unborn babies are considered to be human beings by the US government. 38 states have passed fetal homicide laws that “protect unborn children from assault and murder”. These laws state that anyone intentionally killing their unborn child should be “punished for intentionally killing a human being”. The second reason is they believe fetuses feel pain during the abortion procedure. Although this was debunked by Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine states that the “most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex” is developed by the eighth week of pregnancy. There is “universal agreement” that pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester. The third reason is that abortion causes psychological damage. Studies have found young adult women who undergo abortion may be at increased risk for depression. They also have higher anxiety scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale up to five years after the pregnancy termination. It has also shown that women who aborted were 154% more likely to commit suicide than women who carried their pregnancy to term. The fourth reason is that life begins at conception, so unborn babies are human beings with a right to life. Upon fertilization, a human individual is created with a unique genetic identity that remains unchanged throughout his or her life. This individual has a fundamental right to life, which must be protected.

Abortion is a very controversial topic that is in the beginning stages of becoming outlawed in the United States. The information discussed does educate more people about abortions, but the people have to decide if they should support abortion being outlawed or if they should protest for the law to stay. However, the representatives that are currently in office will make the best decision for the country.

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