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Abortion-A Pro-Choice View Essay, Research Paper

Abortion is one of the most controversial and talked about topics of our time. It is discussed in classrooms, work places and even on the Internet. Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in or closely followed by the death of an embryo or fetus. This definition includes accidental abortion such as, miscarriage and stillbirths. But this is not what is being debated. People want to know if abortion is ethical, if the fetus can feel pain, and when it is more human than non-human. These questions are very difficult to answer and may never be answered in our lifetime. But one thing we as humans do know is that we have opinions, ranging from completely anti abortion (pro-life) to completely for abortion (pro-choice), and anywhere in the wide spectrum in between. I believe that abortion should remain a safe option for all women.

In the mid-1980’s, leaders of the anti abortion movement produced a video called the “The Silent Scream.” The video, produced by American Portrait Films, has been sent out to over 25,000 people across the country. Although the group claims they have “saved” 15,000 babies, they may have ruined the lives of all those mothers. The movie epitomized the anti-abortion agenda and strategy, shifting the focus of the abortion debate away from compassion for the heath and needs of the woman to an exaggerated concern for the fetus (Planned Parenthood, pg1). Originally designed to frighten women who turned to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” for assistance with their problem pregnancies. Clips from the film are also always available for download on the World Wide Web. A very reliable health clinic, Planned Parenthood, realized that this video was harmful to women, causing them to experience much unnecessary paranoia.

The Silent Scream, although terrifying is full of scientific, medical and legal inaccuracies as well as misleading statements and exaggerations. Planned Parenthood assembled a panel of experts to review and critique this video. The panel members were Sally Faith Dorfman, MD; Hart Peterson, MD; William Rashbaum, MD; Seymour L. Romney, MD; Allen Rosenfield, MD; Herbert G. Vaughan, Jr. MD; and Ming-Neng Yeh, MD. These doctors found many mistakes in the movie. The following are just three of the claims that are made in the movie and the facts.

1)Many women who have an abortion suffer severe and lasting psychological problems.

Actually, serious emotional problems following abortions are uncommon. Most women report a sense of relief, although some may experience temporary depression.

2)The 12-week fetus experiences pain.

With out a cerebral cortex (gray matter covering the brain), pain impulses cannot be received or perceived. The cerebral cortex is not formed until later in pregnancy.

3)Ultrasonogram depicts the open mouth of the fetus, as if in a “silent scream.”

The mouth of the fetus cannot be identified in the ultrasound image with certainty. The statement is subjective and misleading.

Many people on the pro-life side of the spectrum also say that abortions are for the irresponsible who just get pregnant and repeatedly abort their children. But there are many reasons that people who have been responsible, need abortions. There are many cases where the safety of the mother is compromised. A sickness or a medical problem could put the mother’s life in jeopardy if the child was born. Many other cases involve rape or incest. In 1945, Sherry Matulis, was 23 and the mother of two when she was brutally raped and almost killed, when she was attacked outside her apartment complex. When she found out she was pregnant, she faked sickness to get prescription drugs, went of a five-day castor oil diet, and drank two pints of Everclear. She damaged her own body but could not self-abort her child. Desperate, she went to a back-ally abortionist and had her child aborted with more pain than was ever necessary. Another woman, Beth Armstrong, speaks of the birth of her child in 1991. Lucy was born with severely underdeveloped brain. When she was born, her parents knew that she would never walk, talk or be able to feed herself. The child died only five and a half months into her life. Beth Armstrong strongly believes that if she was to get pregnant again, and the child was undeveloped she would want to abort the child before it can come to full term.

There are many more stories of people like Sherry Matulis, who were forced to have unsafe and some times self-done abortions. Even celebrities, such as Whoopi Goldberg, are kind enough to share their stories of abortion with us. Pregnant when she was only 14 years old, she gave herself an abortion, in a back ally way, with a coat hanger. She has said now that she is lucky that she didn’t puncture anything are cause serious damage. There may be other countless celebrities and everyday people that have gone through the trials that Ms. Goldberg did but do not have the courage to discuss it. Even today, with abortion legalized women are still having unsafe abortions. Abortion is still thought of under a bad light and some people that have abortions feel shunned by their communities and have threats made against their lives. Women shouldn’t be afraid to go into abortion clinics to discuss their options. A story of one of these tragic events involves the school, not unlike ours. Where a young girl was victim to harassment and threatening flyers being passed out in school, because she had had an abortion. Shouldn’t this girl have the right to make the decision she wants without have to fear the repercussions of the people the live in town with?

The following poem is from an artist named Peter Frega’s artwork.

Knitting needles

Gin laced with iron filings

Scalding baths


I fell down the stairs


Abortion happens

Make it Safe!

Abortion happens everyday across the US. Women who want to get rid of their unborn children bad enough will. Why not make our country safe for them to do so, with out having to fear for their lives. They should have a safe place to go, someplace that is clean and professional. Pro-choice isn’t the opinion of all people but we all need to respect each other’s opinions. The people that claim they are pro-life and then bomb abortion centers aren’t really pro-life. They are ruining a life just because they want to make their opinion known.


Callahan, Daniel, The World Book Encyclopedia, s.v “Abortion.”

“Make Your Voice Heard,” [online] http://www.plannedparenthood.org/rchoices/lac/keep.asp, 10/21/99

“Silent Scream,” [online] http://www.silientscream.org/, 10/22/99

“The Artwork of Peter Frega,” [online] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/9699/crw.html, 10/21/99

“The Facts Speak Louder Than the Silent Scream,” [online] http://www.plannedparenthood.org/abortion/silentscream.HTM, 10/22/99

“Women’s Stories of Abortion,” [online] http://www.plannedparenthood.org/library/ABORTION/WomensStor.htlm, 10/23/99

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