The Effects of Abortion
Every year in the United States 6 million women become pregnant. Over one million of those women make the decision to have an abortion during various stages of their pregnancy (Healthwise, 2008). There are many reasons that a woman may choose to have an abortion including birth control failure, inability to support or care for the child, or unwanted pregnancy. Some other reasons why a woman may get an abortion may be to avoid having a child with a birth defect or severe medical problems, or the pregnancy may be a health risk for the woman (Healthwise, 2008). Although abortion is a highly controversial topic that can have extreme physical, psychological and social effects that are often viewed in both negative and positive ways, it is ultimately a women’s decision. To end a pregnancy before the fetus has fully developed is called an abortion. There are many ways an abortion can be performed. The process that a physician may choose to complete an abortion largely depends on the gestation period of the fetus and the health of the mother. Physicians will usually opt for the non-evasive process which involves the woman taking a medication. After taking the medication the woman’s cervix dilates, her uterus contracts, and it results in the fetus being expelled (Abortion Process Explained, n.d.) Medication may not be suitable for every woman’s situation so the doctor may decide to surgically perform the abortion. The most common surgical procedure for an abortion entails the physician dilating the woman’s cervix and then scraping the lining of the uterus with a surgical instrument such as a curette. By scraping the uterus it will rid the woman’s body of the embryo. The success rate of either abortion procedure is 95 percent effective (Abortion Process Explained, n.d.).
An estimated 1.2 million women sought illegal abortions each year before abortion became legal in the United States. Many of these abortions were performed by people with no former medical training. The conditions in which the abortions were performed were unsanitary so the risk of infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, or death was very high. (American Bar Association, 2004). If people would have had a more diverse understanding about abortion and not thought so negatively about it, it could have saved many women’s lives. Unfortunately, it took until 1973 for the US Supreme Court to make a defining decision in the Roe v. Wade case. This case arose out of a Texas law that prohibited legal abortion except to save a woman's life. At that time, most other states had laws similar to the one in Texas (Reardon, D.C., 2010). “Jane Roe, a 21 year old pregnant woman, represented all women who wanted abortions but could not get them legally and safely. Henry Wade was the Texas Attorney General who defended the law that made abortions illegal. After hearing the case, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans' right to privacy included 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 state interference” (Reardon, D.C., 2010). This nationally known case made it possible for women to legally get an abortion in a safe setting by a well-trained medical physician (Reardon, D.C., 2010). Due to this decision, there was a dramatic decrease in pregnancy-related injury and death. I personally believe that the government already has substantial control in many aspects of our lives and that the decision to have an abortion should be a personal choice. It is life altering to bear a child and then care for them. Not only is it mentally challenging but physically and financially as well. Some women are just not ready for the drastic lifestyle change. This is why I believe an abortion should be a personal decision and not controlled or decided by the US government. I completely agree with the US Supreme Courts decision in the Roe vs. Wade case.
Opinions about abortion can be very diverse...
References: Abortion Process Explained (n.d.) Retrieved on December 15, 2010 from http://www.health-directories.com/abortion-process.html
American Bar Association (2004). Abortion. Retrieved on November 27, 2010 from http://public.findlaw.com/abaflg/flg-17-4b-1.html
Burke, T., & Reardon, D. C. (2002). Forbidden grief: The unspoken pain of abortion. Springfield, IL: Acorn Books.
De puy, C., & Dovitch, D. (1997). The healing choice: Your guide to emotional recovery after an abortion. New York, NY: Fireside.
Healthwise (2008). Abortion: Reasons why women choose abortion. Retrieved on December 15, 2010 from http://women.webmd.com/tc/abortion-reasons-women-choose-abortion.
Reardon, D. C. (2010). Why Abortion in America has become a Social Problem. Retrieved October 27th, 2010 from http://www.afterabortion.com/social.html
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