Medical Law and Ethics
Although abortion has been the most debated of all issues in bioethics, no moral consensus has been achieved. The terms used to describe abortion are full of moral meaning. One of four main types of abortion, only ‘eugenic abortion’, as demonstrated by the Nazis, does not consider the wishes of the woman or couple—a fundamental difference for most bioethicists. The terms ‘selective abortion’ and ‘therapeutic abortion’ are often confuse, and selective abortion is often called eugenic abortion by antagonists (meaning opponents, enemies, allies, challengers and so on). Its type of discourse, freely mixing scientific arguments and moral beliefs, hinders analysis. Within writings about abortion three extreme positions may be identified: heteronomy (the belief that life is a gift that does not belong to one) versus reproductive autonomy: sanctity of life versus tangibility of life: and abortion as a crime versus abortion as morally neutral.
An Overview of Abortion Laws
Since the Supreme Court handed down its 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and doe v. Bolton, states have constructed a lattice work of abortion law, codifying, regulating and limiting whether, when and under what circumstances a woman may obtain an abortion.
* Physician and hospital requirements: 39 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician. 21 states require an abortion to be performed in a hospital after a specified point in the pregnancy, and 20 states require the involvement of a second physician after a specified point.
* Gestational Limits: 41 states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy, most often fetal viability.
* “Partial-Birth” Abortion: 18 states have laws in effect that prohibit this kind of abortion. 3 of these laws apply only to post viability abortions.
* There is also Public... [continues]
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