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Abortion Regulation in The United States

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For the duration of the past quarter century, abortion has joined race and war as one of the most debatable matters of controversy in the United States. Abortion is authorized nationwide because of Roe vs. Wade, a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued in 1973 which found the right to abortion protected by the U.S. Constitution. It deliberates human interaction where ethics, emotions, and law come together. Abortion has created a social problem and political debate in our society resulting in comparing and contrasting abortion with laws such as murder and euthanasia. Laws, concerning abortion, in all states, should be modified to prevent mothers from aborting for reason other than the pregnancy causing medical harm to the mother. Mothers and people that are in favor of “Pro-Choice” claim that abortions should be legal for many reasons, but it should never be okay to kill a child.

Abortion is defined as “any procedure that removes a fetus from a woman’s whom. Abortion ends a pregnancy and terminates a fetus’s life.” (Haugen, Musser, Lovelace, 2010) There are a two ways to terminate a pregnancy; the fetus could be removed surgically or be terminated using medications. It was once stated that a pregnancy could only be terminated if the mother was at risk of losing her life. The medications used to abort a baby just as harmful to the mother that the baby in most cases. Medications such as mifepristone and Methotrexate are used as a way to dismiss a pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association “methotrexate is a medical abortion procedure used up to the first 7 weeks and will usually trigger contractions and expel the fetus. The process may take a few hours or as long as a few days. It causes the fetus and placenta to separate from the lining of the uterus.” (Goldberg, 2000) This medication is furthermore used for cancer treatments to kill off cells and can cause bleeding over time. Losing excessive blood could cause a person to become anemic, limiting the red blood cells in their body, resulting in a smaller amount of oxygen being carried around the body. The further medications used to terminate a pregnancy all have high risks of hemorrhage and stomach ulcers which can alter the health of the mother. In addition to the abortion pill, a surgical procedure can similarly be used to abort the fetus. Aspiration is the method, as explain by the “American Pregnancy Association” is

A local anesthetic administered to the cervix to numb it. Then a tenaculum (surgical instrument with long handles and a clamp at the end) is used to hold the cervix in place for the cervix to be dilated by absorbent rods that vary in size. The rods may also be put in a few days prior to the procedure. When the cervix is wide enough, a cannula, which is a long plastic tube connected to a suction device, is inserted into the uterus to suction out the fetus and placenta. (Goldberg, 2000)

The risks that come alongside with this abortion route are infections, blood clots, severe bleeding, and sudden abdominal swelling. (London, 2003) Although, risks that come with surgical abortion are easier to treat, both means of aborting babies are daring for the mothers overall health.

The first case of legalizing abortion started with Roe V. Wade in 1973 in Texas. Jane Roe was a single pregnant woman how sought out a solution to terminate her pregnancy. Before the court case with Wade, Dr. Curtis Boyd in Athens, TX, had already dismissed over 100 pregnancies. Later, he was forced out of Athens and reopened in Dallas. Along with reopening his chop shop, he also rallied up support for woman abortion rights where he claimed that woman should be in control of her body and her life, which is now called “pro-choice.” Pro-choice is saying that woman should be allowed to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. “In a 7-2 ruling on January 22, 1973, the justices declared laws prohibiting abortion violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. They also said states could standardize abortion measures in the interest of a woman’s health or in protecting a potential human life starting at the end of the pregnancy’s first trimester.” (Baldwin, 2013.) At this time is when views concerning mortality arose. Though it became legal to have an abortion, certain regulations were put into place to also protect the life of the fetus. While abortion was made “legal” there were still rulings to protect the concept of what we call now “Pro-Life.” According to the Texas State Historical Association,

A woman had the right to have an abortion as long as “ (1) During a pregnant woman’s first trimester, the Court held, a state cannot regulate abortion beyond requiring that the procedure be performed by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions, (2)During the second trimester, the Court held, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the health of the pregnant woman, (3) During the third trimester of pregnancy, the state’s interest in protecting the potential human life outweighs the woman’s right to privacy, and the state may prohibit abortions unless abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.” (Weddington, 2010.)

After these laws and guidelines were established there was a solid debate, from those siding with pro-life, stating that a fetus is a living person and terminating the pregnancy is just as forbidden as murder. “The fingers and toes and beating hearts that we can see on an unborn child’s ultrasound come with something that we cannot see: a soul,” (George W. Bush, 2008) Many saw a fetus as unborn and lifeless as opposed to a human that is genuine and could quite possibly have a personality and a mindset as strong as one of the heroic figures that we learn about in classrooms today. The sad reality is that the fetus could still be born after an attempted abortion and then live with many health issues throughout its life, if it lives. After a few cases of born after abortion babies took spotlight, there was a new view on the debate. “The Born Alive Infants Protection Act in the United States, signed into law by pro-life President George W. Bush, protects such babies in the U.S. and it came into existence after pro-life nurse Jill Stanek noticed babies born alive and left to die at his Chicago-area hospital.: (Ertelt, 2013) According to Congress.gov

This bill amends the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital. The term “born alive” means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut. (114th Congress (2015-2016)

If a mother chooses to abort the baby and the procedure nosedives, then the mother is still obligated to care for the baby the same way she would as if she wasn’t trying to terminate the pregnancy. Alongside that thought, if the mother in truth cannot meet the expense of the child or feels strongly about not taking care of it at that point, then she will most likely turn to choices such as adoption or putting the child in foster care. Instead of taking the chance of the abortion failing and giving birth to a child that may suffer because of the decisions of the mothers, abortion should be made illegal and the mother should look into other options that does not comprise impairing or killing the baby.

The decision to have an abortion is typically motivated by multiple, diverse, and interrelated reasons, the themes of responsibility to others and resource limitations, such as financial constraints and lack of partner support.) A study conducted in 2004 with 1209 abortion patients concerning “Reasons U.S Woman have abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative perspectives.” The conclusion: “the most frequently cited reasons were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s work, education, or ability to care for dependents (74%). (Moore, 2004) in addition to inconvenience, an abortion is decided “to prevent the birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problems. Such defects are often unknown until routine second-trimester tests are done, physical or mental conditions that endanger the woman’s health if the pregnancy is continued, or because the pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.” (Moore, 2004) Although all of the concerns listed above are legitimate problems, there are other solutions to most of those problems other than abortion. Putting the baby up for adoption is a good option for all parties. The baby will get cared for and loved the way it deserves, mothers that cannot have babies with be able to raise a baby and family, and the life of the baby is given a chance instead of being terminated.

Numerous persons will reason that abortion should be illegal because it’s morally wrong, but also because it should be considered murder after the point of viability. “Murder is a homicide crime defined as the intentional killing of one human being by another with malice aforethought (intention to kill or harm).” (Berman, 1999) Murder comes into question when determining if a fetus is alive or not. Some may argue that the fetus must be viable (able to survive outside of the mother’s whom) to be considered a person. “The zygote is human life….there is one fact that no one can deny; Human beings begin at conception.” (Shettles, 2012) As said by Landrum B. Shettles, M.D., P.h.D, the first scientist to succeed at in vitro fertilization, Zygote is a term for a newly conceived life after the sperm and the egg cell meet but before the embryo begins to divide. This is occurs at the very beginning of a pregnancy before one even can detect pregnancy. “The only thing preventing abortion from being included in the definition of murder is that it’s currently not “unlawful.” But basic science proves that an unborn child is a “human being.” No mention of “personhood” is necessary for basic murder definitions. Killing a “human being” or a “fellow creature,” even, is enough.” (Kristi Burton Brown, 2014) With that thought, a mother that plans to terminate the pregnancy means she is intentionally organizing to kill the fetus, the same way a murder plans to kill another person. It is made blind to society because a fetus is hidden and is considered “not a human.” In states like Kansas whose abortion law states “As long as fetus is not viable (and mother’s informed consent obtained); abortion of viable fetus permitted if 2nd M.D. certifies that abortion is necessary to preserve life of mother or fetus has severe, life-threatening deformity or abnormality” (Brown, 2014) This law makes sense when it is concerning the mother’s life, but not when it refers to fetus abnormalities. Just because a fetus is born perfectly healthy, does not mean it will remain ‘perfect.” There could be a chance that at the age of 20 the human develops a life threatening heart condition, this does not make it okay for the mother to kill her child. This is where the next point of ‘Physician Assisted Suicide” comes into play. It is illegal in all states, except California, Montana, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington. In California the abortion is only illegal when not performed by a medical professional and is legal throughout the entire pregnancy term. However, the murder law reads that its murder when one intentionally kills another human (viable outside of the mother’s whom). Physician assisted suicide states “a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability solely because the person was present when the qualified individual self-administers the prescribed aid-in-dying drug.” (California Department of Health, 2015) This law is saying that it is passable for a person to kill themselves (Suicide) as long as the doctor gives them the medicine to do it. However, along with the murder laws in California states, according to findlaw.com:

The unlawful killing of a human being — homicide — may be charged as murder or manslaughter. Murder requires a showing of “malice aforethought,” which refers to the defendant’s intent or state of mind. First degree murder is reserved for especially heinous crimes involving premeditation, deliberation or deliberate planning, and intent to kill. . The means of killing that qualify a homicide as first degree murder include weapons of mass destruction, bombs or explosive devices, armor-piercing ammunition, poison, and firearms shot from a motor vehicle. (California First Degree Murder Laws, 2013)

The doctor who provides the patient with the medication (lethal injection) for the patient to successful end their life is has planned and intended to kill them. In the law it mentions that homicide as first degree murder include weapons of poison. The medication is, by Webster dictionary definition of poison, a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed. Medicine administered to a fetus to cause death from a doctor is just as much murder as a doctor intentionally giving a patient medicine to cause death and is just as much murder as a man sticking a knife into another man.

There are only a few reasons why one may say that an abortion is warranted. If a female is raped by man and the pregnancy is a result of that, some say that the woman should be able to terminate the pregnancy (before 20 weeks) without it being considered a crime. If a 15 year old gets pregnant because of rape, understandably, it was not a fault of hers and she should not have to live with the stress and change of having a baby. Even though it was no liability of the teen, harming another life is not justified. According to a journal from lifenews.com by Steven Ertelt,

Many women who become pregnant through sexual assault do not believe in abortion, believing it would be a further act of violence perpetrated against their bodies and their children. Further, many believe that their children’s lives may have some intrinsic meaning or purpose which they do not yet understand. This child was brought into their lives by a horrible, repulsive act. But perhaps God, or fate, will use the child for some greater purpose. Good can come from evil. In our survey of women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, many women who underwent abortions indicated that they felt pressured or were strongly directed by family members or health care workers to have abortions. The abortion came about not because of the woman’s desire to abort but as a response to the suggestions or demands of others. In many cases, resources such as health workers, counselors and others who are normally there to help women after sexual assault pushed for abortion. (Ertelt, 2010)

If a mother is caught robbing a grocery store for the reason that her child is starting to death, it does not lesson the crime. Another option to woman could have taken was going to a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen where the child could get the nutrition it needs to stay alive and the mother could be working on bettering herself for her child. The only thing that would come out of a mother robbing the store would be harming her child because not the mother would have to take her attention off of caring for the child and deal with the legal consequences of her actions. If every state were to make the law that abortion was only legal if the mother’s health is at risk or in the case of rape, than more men would start being accused for raping females.

If abortions were illegal everywhere, with no exceptional situations, the number of unwanted pregnancies would most likely decrease. Before abortions were legal doctors were performing the procedures illegally and once abortion because legal, (with individual state regulations), the number of abortions increased. Each year after 1973, the year that abortion became legalized, the number of abortions increased steadily. Since 1973, there has been an estimated 58,586,256 known and legal abortions. (National Right to Life Committee, 2016) This number would be drastically lower if the Roe v. Wade case would have ruled in favor of keeping abortions illegal and would have saved many life. Some may argue that “A policy that makes contraception and abortion freely available, will greatly reduce the number of unwanted children, and thereby curb the tragic rise of child abuse in our country. Legal abortion will decrease the number of unwanted children, battered children, child abuse cases, and possibly subsequent delinquency, drug addiction, and a host of social ills, believed to be associated with neglectful parenthood.” (A Speaker and Debater’s Notebook, 1978) Conversely, killing off the pregnancy is not changing the fact that the baby is unwanted, now, the baby is unwanted and dead. There was once a time where unexpected pregnancy happened, but the mother did not kill the child. According to Tim Muldoon, author of “Imaging a nation without abortion:

When a woman had an unexpected pregnancy, families, faith communities, and civic organizations would be ready to help. If today’s United States is any indicator, there would be more families ready to adopt than children who were adoptable.* Women in stressful pregnancies would receive the consistent message: We are ready to help. We will commit ourselves to fostering your health, your safety, your emotional well-being, your financial security, and your future happiness in relationships. And we will do the same for your child. We will help you keep and raise your child if you choose, but we will also help you choose to place your child for adoption so that you may be a gift to both a child and a new family. (Muldoon, 2011)

This is solution to undesirable pregnancies. There are so many women out in the world that are unable make children and then some who choose to kill their child. As a substitute of the government legalizing abortions and even funding them, they should make abortion illegal and set up a platform that supports woman that are unable to care for the child, help find a solution for unwanted pregnancies, and give the mother the emotional support she needs. This idea would work because if the government is going to fund either one, it would be better to support children living and growing instead of them granting a death wish. It could be argued that there are already a lot of babies and children in adoption homes that will never be adopted. However, if there was a system that the government made that helped mothers who don’t want their babies then that would stimulate the idea of adoption and more people would be open to the idea of embracing adoption as a way to have a baby and might even motivate other to become part of the foster care system.

Abortion has been a social problem and political dispute in our society resulting in discussions about other laws such as murder and euthanasia. Even before abortion because legal with the Roe V. Wade case, woman were having abortions. The thought of giving an innocent baby a lethal injection or extracting them from the mothers whom piece by piece, limb by limb is inhumane and should be made illegal. “What is the cure for cancer was in the mind of an aborted baby” (unknown) The quote from the unidentified author is not specifically speaking on cancer, but the idea that every human is put on earth to serve a purpose. Life begins at the time of conception and at that time the baby begins to grow into a person with its own ideas and personality. It should not be legal to kill a baby just because the mother could not take care of it when there are other options. Killing the baby outside of the mother’s whom is considered murder, but there is no difference between penetrating the baby with a knife and penetrating him or her with a poison syringe. Both are intentional acts of killing and should be made illegal. Laws, concerning abortion, in all states, should be improved to prevent mothers from aborting for reason other than the pregnancy causing medical impairment to the mother.

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Abortion Regulation in the United States. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-view-of-anti-abortion-opinions/
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Abortion Regulation in the United States [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-view-of-anti-abortion-opinions/
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