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Abortion has been and still is one of the most controversial topics in American culture. The reason for the controversy is the different viewpoints of this very personal matter. Some believe that abortion is the same as murder. Others believe it's a personal choice which only they have the right to make. Due to the nature of the procedure and the concerns associated with ending a pregnancy, abortion will continue to top the list of "touchy" subjects in American politics and culture. As a pro-choice advocate, it is important for the right to have an abortion to be established and protected.

An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. The most common abortion procedure is the vacuum aspiration or suction curettage. This is performed during the first trimester of a pregnancy. "... The physician will then gradually widen (dilate) the cervix. When the cervix has been dilated to the width appropriate for your stage of pregnancy, the physician will insert a small tube (cannula) which is attached to a suction machine. The machine's suction empties the contents of the uterus through the tube...The entire procedure takes just a few minutes". On the other hand, the most controversial abortion procedure is the Partial-Birth abortion. This procedure, performed past the first trimester, has been banned in many states, including New York. "...the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, Bush administration lawyers said the procedure was never medically necessary to protect a woman's health and caused undue pain to the fetus, making the procedure inhumane." (2) The procedure is also known as dilation and extraction, or D&X, and dilation and evacuation, or D&E. "In a regular D&E abortion performed in the second trimester, a patient's cervix is dilated and the fetus is dismembered and removed by forceps". (3)

In 1973 abortion was legalized in the United States. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to forbid a woman to have an abortion during her first trimester of her pregnancy. The Court also ruled that second trimester abortion was to be regulated by the state and only when the Woman's health was at risk. This decision was a big step in the fight for women equality in the United States. It gave women the right to decide when or whether or not to become a mother. This was unheard of before. Before Roe v. Wade, women were having illegal abortions or undergoing unwanted pregnancies. Many died after developing and infection or bleeding to death after one of these illegal abortions. Still, many people believe that women should not be given this right. They argue that the fetus growing inside her also has rights and that they should be protected.

The pro-choice/pro-life movement has spread throughout the country, and everyone has a side or at least an opinion on the issue. The people who support the "pro-choice" side argue that women have the right to make any and every decision belonging to their body. Women can not and should not be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy - It is against their right as humans, to live freely and be protected under the constitution. Pro-choice advocates believe that instead of banning abortion, women should be educated on sex and birth control methods. They believe women should have access to both of these at an early age, most important in school. The reason being, that a growing number of women having abortions are young women. Therefore, it makes more sense to them, if prevention instead of abstinence is taught in schools. It is unrealistic, in their opinion to push for young women to not have sex. It is a known fact that the age at which a woman engages in sexual intercourse is dropping and this should be signal for change in the ways women are being educated. So instead of restricting or taking a woman's right to choose, the government should focus on educating woman and letting her make her own decisions. This has been a hard thing to do, especially due to the fact that our current government is republican and by nature conservative. Ms. Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood of America actively disagrees with President's Bush actions in limiting the right of woman having an abortion. A press release posted on the Planned Parenthood website features her views on this issue; "The so-called "Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003" is really an abortion procedures ban. Rep. Chabot's (R-OH) broadly written ban would outlaw some of the safest and most common abortion procedures, and it makes no exception to preserve a woman's health or future fertility. Don't believe partial truth: in fact, proponents of this ban oppose abortion for any reason, by any method, at any point in pregnancy. This legislation is a deceptive attempt to further restrict access to all abortion procedures and another step down the road to overturning Roe v. Wade. Instead of attacking women's civil rights by blocking access to abortion services, Congress should do more to support family planning and medically accurate sex education, which prevent unintended pregnancies." (2) However, some pro-choice advocates believe that there should be some restrictions on teen access to abortion and on abortions occurring after the first trimester of the pregnancy.

The people on the "Pro-life" side argue that the fetus also has rights that need to be protected under the constitution of the United States. They believe abortion is the same as murder and seek to hold responsible any one who violates the right of the unborn child. They support the current government view that abstinence should be emphasize in public schools so that young women and men won't have to deal with the choice of keeping or not keeping the child; eventually they hope to eliminate this choice all together by outlawing abortion. They reach out to society with the intention of "helping" women to choose life for their child. They argue that it is irresponsible and inhumane for a woman to end the "life" of their unborn child. For example the Pro-life action league is holding the following Christmas demonstration:

"2nd Annual "Empty Manger" Caroling Day 12/18

The Pro-Life Action League will hold our second annual "Empty Manger" Christmas Caroling Day on Saturday, Dec. 18. We will visit four abortion mills in Chicago, gathering around an empty manger at each one to sing Christmas Carols about the Christ Child. The empty manger is a symbol of the hope that a little baby can bring. But it was also a symbol of the empty space that is left when a little unborn baby is killed by abortion." (4) In addition to this institution many religious



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