When a person hears the word abortion, many thoughts and opinions probably come to their mind, but how much of it is based on facts? Abortion is defined by Webster’s dictionary as the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus. The subject of abortion is a very controversial, which is usually presented from a biased point of view; however, the history it has, different types, laws, and statistics on women who have abortions, are not always stated with these arguments. Abortion has been around for thousands of years and was legal in the United States since the very beginning. First it became illegal throughout the 1880’s up until 1973. Although abortion was illegal in the 1800 and 1900’s, it was still commonly done. It was still being used very unsafely and the number of deaths because of unsafe abortions increased to 15,000 by the 1930’s. These illegal abortions were very unsafe because untrained professionals were preforming them and they often left part of the fetus in the womb. Criminalization of abortion did not reduce the numbers of women who sought abortions. In the years before Roe v. Wade, the estimates of illegal abortion ranged as high as one-point-two million per year. Although accurate records could not be kept, it is known that between the 1880’s and 1973, many women were harmed as the result of an illegal abortion (Tietze 14)
One-third of the states liberalized or repealed their criminal abortion laws between 1967 and 1973. Then in 1973 the Roe case originated out of Texas, where the law stated that a legal abortion could be preformed only in the event to save the mothers life. In 1973 the ruling on the Roe v. Wade case made all abortions legal in the United States. It ruled that American’s have the right to privacy including the right of a woman to decide whether to have children, and the right of a woman and her doctor to make that decision without any interference (Tietze 13).
There are many different types of abortion, which vary by gestation period but the two most common general ones are surgical and medical. Surgical abortion ends a pregnancy by surgically removing the embryo from the uterus. An alternate to surgical abortion is medical abortion. Medical abortion is one that is brought about by taking medications that will end a pregnancy. Medications that are used for medical abortions are mifepristone, methotrexate, and misoprostol. Mifepristone, which is referred to as the abortion pill or RU-486, was approved for use in the US in 2000 and is taken in the form of a pill. Methotrexate has been used since 1953 to treat types of cervical cancer before it began being used for abortion procedures. It is usually in the form of an injection or shot but it can be taken as a pill. Misoprostol is the final pill taken a couple days after using either mifepristone or methotrexate (Dudley 5).
There are also many other types of abortion that can be used to end a pregnancy. During the first trimester three types of procedures are used. The medical abortions mifepristone, methotrexate, with misoprostol as well as the surgical abortion suction aspiration are used in the first trimester. Suction aspiration is used between six to twelve weeks of pregnancy is also referred to as suction curettage or vacuum aspiration. During the second trimester only surgical abortions can be performed. One of three procedures is dilation and curettage or D and C. It is used to terminate the pregnancy between thirteen to fifteen weeks. Dilation and Evacuation or D and E is used to terminate between fifteen to twenty-one weeks gestation. And the last procedure used in the second trimester is a rarely performed induced abortion where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac. Abortion procedures used during third trimester are induced abortion and dilation and extraction. Dilation and...
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