Medical Definition of Abortion

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From Roe vs. Wade to 2012
Michele Babcock
Exams and Specialty Lecture

This paper will state the medical definition of abortion. Summarize the famous court case Roe vs. Wade and the impact that had on The United States. This paper will also discuss the present abortion debate, the states that have chosen to ban abortion, and the affect this will have on individuals. The last part of the paper will be my opinion on the current abortion ban.

This first part of the paper will start with the medical definition of abortion: an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost. Another form of abortion: spontaneous abortion is the same as a miscarriage. The miscarriage of 3 or more consecutive pregnancies is termed habitual abortion (

Roe vs. Wade, argued December 13, 1971, reargued October 11, 1972 and finally decided on January 22, 1973. The case was about a pregnant single woman (Roe) who brought a class action challenging the constitutionality of the Texas criminal abortion laws, which proscribe procuring or attempting an abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving the mother’s life. The Texas interpretation of the abortion law was overturned, which made abortion legal in the United States. The Roe vs. Wade decision held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months, based on the right to privacy. All state laws limiting women’s access to abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy were invalid. State laws limiting such access during the second trimester were upheld only when the restrictions were for the purpose of protecting the health of the pregnant woman (

Decades later, a woman’s constitutional right to choose still isn’t safe, and Roe is in serious jeopardy. In 2005, Congress confirmed the appointment of two new anti-choice Supreme Court justices, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., both of whom had been nominated by President George W. Bush. As a result, the court is closer than ever to overturning Roe. In 2007, in a 5–4 decision, the court upheld the federal abortion ban passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2003. Although Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, the ban criminalizes abortion procedures in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are often the safest and best to protect women's health. Thus, the ruling allows politicians to make medical decisions that should be made by women and their doctors. Anti-choice legislators are attempting to launch a wave of state abortion bans, in the hope that the new anti-choice court will overturn Roe, leaving a woman’s right to choose safe and legal abortion in the hands of 50 different state legislatures (

Dozens of new restrictions passed by states this year have chipped away at the right to abortion by requiring women to view ultrasounds, imposing waiting periods or cutting funds for clinics. But a new kind of law has gone beyond such restrictions, striking at the foundation of the abortion rules set out by the Supreme Court over the last four decades. According to the article 10 States Where Abortion Is Virtually Illegal for Some Women, written by Amanda Marcotte, as of 2012 there are 10 states were abortion is virtually illegal for some women. Idaho: Even though the constitutional right to abortion has been established for 38 years, a woman in Idaho was arrested and charged for aborting her pregnancy. The woman bought some drugs online to terminate her pregnancy, and was...
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