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Abortion Essay, Research Paper

Abortion: what exactly is an abortion? It is a surgical procedure to end a pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from the uterus. A surgical abortion is one that is performed between six and twelve weeks into a pregnancy may be done while the woman is awake. She is given the option of being sedated by medications or of having her cervix numbed with an injection so that she is basically pain-free. A surgical abortion for a pregnancy over twelve weeks is usually done while the woman is deeply asleep and pain-free. The cervical canal is enlarged and a hollow tube is inserted into the uterus. A vacuum machine is used to remove the tissues from the uterus. Medicines such as oxytocin are given to cause the uterus muscles to contract and reduce bleeding (?Diseases and Conditions?).

There is more to an abortion than just the surgical procedure. Abortion is a source of continuous debate among women and even men. The debate is between the people who are ?pro-life? and ?pro-choice?. People who are ?pro-life? feel that abortion is murder. They believe that the unborn baby has the right to live. People who are ?pro-choice? believe that a woman should have the right to choose what she feels is right for her at that time. It is her body so she should be the one to choice.

There are many questions and issues to be brought up about abortions. The first question that is often asked is why do women have abortions? Women have abortions for many different reasons. Three fourths of the women who have abortions say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities (Pro-life Action); about two thirds say that they cannot afford a child (Pro-life Action); and one half say that they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner Pro-life Action). About fourteen thousand women have abortions due to becoming pregnant after rape or incest (?Pro-life Action?).

A second question asked is who has abortions? Fifty-two percent of women in the United States obtaining abortions are younger than twenty-five: Women aged twenty through twenty-four obtain thirty-two percent of all abortions, and teenagers obtain twenty percent. White women obtain sixty percent of all abortions; but their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have an abortion and Hispanic women are roughly two times as likely. Women who report no religious affiliation are about four times as likely to have an abortion as women who report some affiliation. Catholic women are twenty-nine percent more likely than Protestants to have an abortion (?Pro-life Action?).

A third question: when and where do women have abortions? Ninety-three percent of abortions in the United States are performed in clinics or doctors? offices. Women have abortions at all different times of pregnancy. Sixteen percent have an abortion at six weeks or less, thirty-eight percent at seven to eight weeks, twenty-three percent at nine to ten weeks, eleven percent at eleven to twelve weeks, seven percent at thirteen to fifteen weeks, four percent at sixteen to twenty weeks, and one percent of women have an abortion at twenty-one weeks or more (?Pro-life action?).

The law that legalized abortion was based on the case Roe v Wade. On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court, in a seven to two decision handed down two rulings legalizing abortion in America. Prior to this ruling abortion in most of the fifty states was prohibited. The Court based its decision on the ?Right to Privacy,? which they claim is guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The principle decision repealed all state laws prohibiting abortion (?Roe and Doe?). Since the ruling of this Supreme Court decision, at least thirty-eight million abortions have been legally performed. That means that one point three million abortions are performed every year (three thousand three hundred times a day) in America (?Ohio life?).

A later case, Doe v Bolton, came to the United States Supreme Court and this case extended the right to abortion to the entire nine months of pregnancy. The Court divided the term of pregnancy into trimesters and ruled that there could be no restrictions on abortions performed during the first trimester, or first three months of pregnancy. The court allowed that during the second trimester states could pass certain regulations regarding abortion, but only to insure a woman?s safety. During the third trimester the woman could still have access to an abortion for health reasons. Health was defined by the World Health Organization interpretation as any condition that might impact her physical, emotional or psychological or financial well being, effectively extending abortion on demand for the full nine months of pregnancy (?Roe and Doe?).

After these cases were put in order many issues were at stake. Continual debates between ?pro- life? and ?pro-choice? advocates came into being. Many pro-life activists organized antiabortion activates and programs. The Pro-Life Action League, Face the Truth Tour, and Ohio Right to Life are just some of the better known antiabortion organizations.

Joseph Scheidler founded the Pro-Life Action League in 1980. It was created with the aim of saving babies? lives through non-violent direct action (?Pro-life Action?). The Pro-Life Action League fights all those people who support abortion: the doctors, the judges, the clinics, the drug companies, the corporations that contribute to abortion, and even the pro-abortion wing of ?the church?. They speak out for the babies who cannot speak for themselves. The activism takes many different forms to encourage people to stop having abortions from sidewalk counseling, where they approach a woman before she enters the abortion clinic and try to talk her out of it, to picketing, to rescue missions at abortion clinics. They conduct seminars and conferences, lectures before student groups, speak at pro-life rallies, and debate at leading universities (?Pro-life Action?). All this is done in hopes of stopping abortions.

The Pro-Life Action League has been exposing the truth about abortion for twenty years. They have protested at political rallies, AMA meetings, NOW gatherings, Planned Parenthood offices and abortion clinics (?Face the Truth?). They have always been committed to letting the public see the victims of abortion (see appendix). They carry the posters of aborted babies through streets and in neighborhoods to raise public awareness of what actually happens in an abortion. They feel they have defined what the ?right to choose? really means (?Face the Truth?).

Face the Truth Tour is the Pro-Life Action League joined with citizens of an area and they line in the streets of small towns and large cities, holding large signs which tell the story of abortion. They estimate that each time they do this that half-a-million cars drive by the rows of signs, many of the cars with two or more passengers. Approximately twenty five thousand pieces of literature are distributed to motorists and pedestrians (?Face the Truth?). They hope that by holding up these signs and passing out literature people will see (what they feel) is the wrong thing to do.

Ohio Right to Life is another pro-life activist group that promotes and defends the right to life of all innocent human beings from the time of fertilization until natural death. They have discovered that in recent years some abortionists have been selling body parts from aborted babies to medical researchers. ?I have in front of me a price list put out by a company that served as an intermediary in such transactions, with entries like Liver?. $150, Brain?. $999, Limbs (at least 2)? $100, Eyes?. $75, and so on? (Johansen). The debate on this is that for the past thirty years pro-abortionist have said that what is destroyed in an abortion is not a baby, but just a ?glob of tissue?. Now they?re making money off of these so called ?globs of tissue?. ?They knew full well all along that this was not some shapeless mass of cells, but a real live baby with arms and legs and a brain? (Johansen).

Although there are many pro-life activists fighting for the right to life there are also many fighting for the right to choose. Pro-choice groups that are put together to help women do what they feel is right for them. The National Organization for Women Foundation (NOW), the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) and Planned Parenthood are three of the better-known pro-choice organizations.

The National Organization for Women Foundation (NOW) was established in 1986. It is the largest feminist organization in the United States. It was designed to advance women?s rights and promote the goal of equality in the U.S. and around the world through education, litigation, advocacy, networking, conferences, publications, training and leadership development (?NOW foundation?). The NOW Foundation established the ?Stop the Rescue Racket? project to address anti-abortion terrorism and clinic violence. It is dedicated to a long-term litigation strategy to stop clinic violence.

The national Abortion and Reproductive Right Action League (NARAL) is the political arm of the pro-choice movement. It works at the legislative, electoral and grassroots levels to protect access to safe, legal abortion and to expand the full range of reproductive rights regardless of age or income (?NARALNY?). They educate the public about reproductive rights through publications, the media, public speaking, and other educational outreach. They support pro-choice candidates.

Planned Parenthood is a clinic where people may go to for birth control, abortions, and abortion information. They try to educate people about their rights and the choices they can make. They give counseling to young teens that become pregnant and help them to make the decision they (the teens) feel are right for them. They will perform abortions for anyone who is need of them at any age.

Abortion will always be the basis of a continuous debate that will have two unrecognizable points of view. Though each side has a good point to it, each person needs to determine what he or she feels is ?morally? right. Is the killing of an unborn baby right? If you are a ?pro-life? person then it is not. On the other hand, is having a baby when you are not ready right? If you are ?pro-choice,? it is not. When the Supreme Court decision came into being, it gave people the right to choose what they feel is right and wrong.

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