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Abortion: A Plea for Justice

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Abortion: A Plea for Justice

        It is very safe to say America is divided when it comes to abortion. Although many people’s beliefs vary, this debate is primarily made up of two groups: people who are pro-life and people who are pro-choice. The pro-choice group obviously supports women’s right to choose, and pro-life advocates believing that the unborn child has an undeniable right to live. Considering this, the feud between the two sides has been waging for ages. “Special Report: The War That Never Ends--Abortion in America; To Come” says that it has not shaped modern politics, but it has played a powerful role in moving them. From being the deciding factor in how an individual votes to involvement in foreign policies, abortion is not something that goes unnoticed by the American public. As a result, in the mid-1960s, Catholics and Evangelicals came together to form the “moral majority” which obviously opposed abortion very strongly (“Special”).

        Fetal illness and situations where a mother’s life is in danger occur repeatedly in attempts to justify abortion, but a recent study concludes that fetal illness was not even in the top ten reasons on why women have abortions late in pregnancy. Consequently, at the top of the list was seventy-one percent of woman saying they did not realize they were pregnant or had misjudged their gestation. Many of the “heart-breaking” stories people are exposed to, that almost seem to justify abortion, are extremely rare to say the least. Correspondingly, saving the life or health of the mother was not mentioned at all in Guttmacher’s study. Although many people believe that abortions should be legalized to prevent the birth of children who are born out of incest and rape, abortion is still not an effective solution to problems because abortions do not change the past of the mother, they often cause health problems later on in life, and abortion is ultimately the of killing an innocent life.

People who are pro-life state that life begins at conception, while those who are pro-choice say life begins at viability, which is when the fully developed fetus can survive out of the womb. Still the question remains, and often, this question is met with answers involving the time frame in which the fetus is developed. A typical pregnancy lasts for thirty-eight weeks, and gestation begins when a man’s sperm fertilizes a women’s egg. For the first two weeks after conception, the fertilized egg is known to medical professionals as a zygote and after is called an embryo. Finally, after eight weeks, the baby is called a fetus and is thus called that until birth. Abortion is stated as ending that life at any stage during pregnancy. At the twenty-third or twenty-fourth week of gestation a fetus is considered viable, although with advances in modern medicine, babies can survive if born several weeks earlier. “Abortion: When Does Human Life Begin?” explains that pro-life advocates disagree with the initial Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade because they did not contend that life begins at conception. This belief is held by a number of religious groups, including the Catholic Church. The Pope extends this argument by countering with saying while a baby does not resemble an adult does not mean that with time and the proper care it will not mature into one. Much like the fertilized egg, even though now it does not look like a baby with time and care from the mother it will grow into one. The illogical idea to justify killing a human because it is maturing inside the womb rather than outside is best supported by a quote from James Dobson, “Is there a fundamental difference between a baby who resides in its mothers uterus and one who has made an eight inch journey down the birth canal?” At conception, the unborn child has forty-six human chromosomes, and only members of the species homo sapiens (humans) have forty-six distinct chromosomes (1-2). In addition, the fetus can respond to stimuli long before the mother can feel the baby “kick”. A human that is still developing cannot be classified as inhuman.

Many findings on abortion statistics may be appalling to the general public due to lack of in depth knowledge. “Abortion in the U.S.: Utilization, Financing, and Access” states a shocking statistic in regards to abortion is that forty-eight percent occur in women twenty-five or older. This is surprising due to the fact abortions tend to be stereotyped with teenage girls, who make up nineteen percent, and women in their lower twenties, which make up thirty-three percent. Most studies show that abortions that take place in the first and second-trimester are safer. However a study conducted in 1988 through 1997 discovered that the risk for death in pregnancy increases by thirty-eight percent for each week of gestation Whatever the age, abortion does not change the past, and in most cases, ends the life of a baby who has not been born yet. Society tells women that abortion will solve their problems, but it does not mention the problems it creates. Two out of three women who have had a late abortion suffer from the clinical definition of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, although many people call depression after abortion post abortion depression.

Kathy Kliebert claims that in addition to mental health complication, abortion often causes physical complications for the mother as well. The risk of complications for the mother increases with the gestation cycle. Complications include:  pelvic infection, incomplete abortion, blood clots in the uterus, heavy bleeding, cut or torn cervix, perforation of the uterus wall, and anesthesia-related complications. Abortion also causes problems with future pregnancies, making it difficult to have children later in life (Kliebert).

Abortion is ultimately the killing of an innocent life. No one can argue that uninterrupted a fertilized egg will grow into a baby and later on into an adult, but prematurely ending a baby’s life has lasting effects on everyone involved. The government has already made strides in ending abortion, and the ban on partial-birth abortion was the first outlaw of any type of abortion procedure since the early 1970’s. If Washington can agree that the method of intact dilation and extraction is sadistic and violates the life of the fetus, then maybe other methods of abortion may be monitored more closely. In the year 2003, George W. Bush justifiably signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into effect, and four years later the Supreme Court upheld this law after the decision of Gonzales v. Carhart. Within the hearing the court confirmed that since intact dilation and extraction was gruesome and inhumane it was to remain prohibited. Note that the terms “partial-birth abortion” and “late-term abortion” are not necessarily medical terms but refer to abortions that take place late in pregnancy or abortions in which the baby is partially born when its live is taken. Methods for partial-birth abortions include: intact dilation and evacuation, intrauterine cranial decompression, dilation and extraction, and intact dilation and extraction. Lynn-nore Chittom and Heater Newton state that the federally mandated ban on partial-birth abortion is still justified, and remains the best-known solution to end the horrible procedures associated intact dilation and extraction. This process is gruesome and inhumane due to the fact it is ending the baby’s life so late in the mother’s pregnancy (Chittom and Newton).



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