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Analysis of Abortion Through Sociological Theories

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Abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy so that it does not result in the birth of a child. In order to have an abortion, women take the abortion pill or have a surgical abortion to remove the emyo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. Women that faced an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy decide that the right choice for them is to get an abortion. According to the American Life League, there are 2,899 abortions per day. Functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction, sociological theories, explains the social behavior in abortion.

First, manifest function is a macro-level element of behavior that are consciously and deliberately intended to be a beneficial effect in society. Abortion is an issue that greatly affects both the individuals and society. In today’s society, there are two sides that view abortion, pro-choice and pro-life. People that are pro-choice believe that women have the basic human right to decide when to have children. They believe abortion can be beneficial to society by preventing unwanted children serving in a stable institution. On the other hand, pro-life supporters believe that the government has an obligation to preserve all human life and the importance of procreation in a society. Abortion is a complex issue in society, it is seen from a moral to religion standpoint. According to religion practitioners, their higher authority condemns abortions because it is taking the life of another soul. In addition, latent functions are unintended, unrecognized and unseen consequences that might arise as a result of a manifest function that have taken place. The latent positive in abortion is that it is legal and readily available in the United States. Roe v. Wade protects women getting an abortion without having to face prison time. It also protects women suffering from serious illnesses. Less women are in danger of abortion complications when seeking an unprofessional abortion clinic. However, when abortions are performed, they decline birth rate, eliminating the chance to expand society. There is a link between abortion and east cancer, endangering the mother and child from survival. The government would face a financial impact on society, creating more debt through government aid. Dysfunctions undermine the stability of social system by causing disorder and conflict within a society. Children that have underage parents are susceptible to having a child at a young age as well. This vicious cycle only continues to repeat itself. Neglected children growing up with absent parents will look for affection elsewhere, usually involving themselves with the wrong crowd that can result an unwanted pregnancy. Finally, the impact of a guilty conscious can cause a woman to live with regret and develop depression. This type of behavior prevents the individual from contributing to a stable society.

Conflict theory is also a macro-oriented paradigm that views society as a never-ending competition for finite resources that generates conflict and social change. Capitalism stems the cause of an abortion. Women feel the need to terminate their pregnancies when they have a low income job. Because of their financial instability, they do not have the means to support their child. Correspondingly, women that do not terminate their pregnancy, but fall under the poverty spectrum will seek welfare programs. Welfare programs are paid from individual income taxes, which is money the Federal government takes out from a taxpayers paycheck. Some taxpayers in the United States are opposed of the government helping others because it is a simple handout, and it only leads to dependence. When people speak of abortion, they are often concentrated on the women’s decision, but they often forget to include the father, and his viewpoint on the matter. The male partner can voice his stance of fatherhood because he is also in charge of the fetus even though his body is not physically caring it. Conversely, women are granted full authority over their reproductive systems in order to free themselves from male dominance. They advocate that women are best able to judge when an abortion is necessary because carrying a fetus affects a woman and alters her future in education, work and life goals.

Critical race theory looks at structural inequality of abortion rates among women of color. According to Right to Life of Michigan, black women have a significantly higher abortion rate than white women. Given the legacy of race in the United States, the reproductive health challenges and opportunities that the nation faces are often exacerbated for the black community. Black women do not have insurance to pay for birth control, and accessing birth control without an insurance provider can be costly. Without the access of birth control, black women are prone to having unwanted pregnancies that can later result an abortion. Furthermore, privilege often exempts white women from many of the injustices imposed upon black women. The Week reported that 53% of white women voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election. They have a history of voting for conservative candidates and turning a blind eye to ongoing human rights violations. These are the same women that believe women should not have an abortion, but they are the group least impacted with abortion. Next, the Kaiser Family Foundation stated that women between the ages of 20-29 have a 59% rate of having an abortion because they think their wellbeing as a woman will be compromised if they have a child. Women at this age are finishing school, and starting off their careers. They are not in the state of mind to ing an unwanted child into the equation. On the other hand, many have argued that there has been a steady shift in delayed motherhood. These individuals that are in their late 30s and early 40s had access to preventative care against pregnancy; however, they are reducing their chance of conception and increasing their medical risks. Older women are at risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia and complicated pregnancies which could result the use of forceps or caesarean section. Subsequently, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT communities are deeply and personally affected by abortion. National Center for Lesbian Rights indicated from research that lesbian young women are two times likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than heterosexual youth. Due to their sexual orientation, lesbian and bisexual women are often at higher risk of sexual assault. Heterosexual relationships can also have an accidental pregnancy, often resulting the abandonment from the father. When men are confronted by an unintentional pregnancy, they are in denial, angry and afraid because they do not want the responsibility of having a child. In these sad circumstances, men are often in favor of abortion.

Lastly, symbolic interaction is a micro-level theory that explains the social behavior in terms of how people interact with each other via symbols. Roe v. Wade, coat hanger, red robe, poster of a uterus, Savita Halappanavar, “Never Again” poster, cross, abortion opponents hold a silent protest, abortion pill, stethoscope, and Alabama’s restrictive abortion legislation in the United States are symbols behind abortion. One example of process of definition is educating others why women should or should not have an abortion. This conversation should be held in a calm, neutral environment. The media covers abortion debates that frequently and often help stir up some controversy. This tactic can change the audiences view on abortion. Face-to-face interaction includes the creation of laws against abortion. The governor in Alabama signed the most aggressively anti-abortion law on May 15. Performing an abortion under this law could result in a felony, outraging pro-choice supporters. From Georgia to Alaska, people protested against the ban of abortion. Crowds gather to tell their stories about being with or against abortion, resulting in emotions.

As a final point, abortion in the United States will continue to be a heavy debate. Functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction, sociological theories, explains the social behavior in abortion.

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