Abortion: Issues in American Politics Today

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Abortion is among the most controversial of issues in American politics today, and can be seen as a fight against killing a fetus, while others are willing to argue that they are infringing on their personal freedoms. It is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body, and no one entity should be able to decide how to take away such choices. These freedoms are given and protected by the Constitution. Regardless of this major debate, there are approximately 1.5 million abortions performed every year.

Prior to the 1960’s, there were few laws to protect expecting mothers seeking abortion for it was not socially acceptable and often difficult to find reputable institutions willing to do the operation. As a result, most procedures were risky and performed under unsanitary conditions. There were many young women who preferred the chance of death over the shame from an unwanted child and from this, it would seem clear that the laws on abortion were in desperate need of reform.

During the past three decades, several cases have been fought to give American women the right to choose. In 1965, Griswold vs. Connecticut upheld the right to women’s privacy and ended the ban on birth control. Then in 1973, Roe vs. Wade extended privacy rights to cover abortion and created a system to regulate a pregnancy timeline, also defining the conditions and restrictions of the procedure. Shortly after in 1976, in the case of Planned Parenthood vs. Danforth, the courts declared spousal and parental consent laws to be unconstitutional. The most recent case to hit the Supreme Court was in 1992, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, which added twenty-four hour waiting periods as well as record keeping requirements. Parental consent was mandated but also allowed for a judicial bypass. Women had to be informed of prenatal development, potential risks and alternative options to abortion before any procedure could be preformed.

Despite the legal wrangling, not much has been done to...
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