You’re a 15-year-old girl, just trying to get through high school, and you end up getting pregnant with your 17 year old boyfriend. Lost and unsure what to do, you decide your best option is to receive an abortion. Having an unintended pregnancy is extremely common in today’s world, leaving a couple with a lot of uncertainty. There has been a lot of controversy, debate, and history on rather or not a woman should be allowed to receive an abortion. A lot of the arguments are based around political or religious views, either you believe in “pro-life” or “pro-choice”, but
I think there are a lot more factors that go into whether a woman decides to terminate her pregnancy or not. In today’s society, this is an issue that needs to be addressed and finally be put to rest. The ability to get an abortion shouldn’t be up to political figures or religious followers but instead, understood by all that it is ultimately the people in the actual situations decision. This paper examined what abortion is, how Roe v. Wade completely changed women’s reproductive rights, and alternate options than getting the body altering surgery. It will specifically highlight why in today’s society it is such a hot topic and assist the reader to have a better understanding of what abortion is as a whole. Although, every woman’s story is different and vary from situation to situation, this paper should provide some clarity and guidance for women who find themselves needing to make a crucial decision.
Abortion is a complicated process that involves a lot of decision-making, and a long thought process. But even though it is a tough process, so many women still go through with it. According to a Duke University journal of law and policy article, “more than one million elective abortions are performed each year” (Henshaw, 2003, p. 6). This makes abortions one of the most common procedures in the United States. There are two types of abortion, the spontaneous accidental miscarriage or the purposeful induced kind that normally requires a surgery. The term abortion is oftentimes used to refer to the induced surgery or procedure, which is high controversy in the United States and all over the world whether it is accepted or not. A lot of these abortions are carried out because the mother “wasn’t ready to become a parent”, “not financially secure”, or “not with the person she wanted to be with for the rest of her life” (Andrusko, 2016, p. 20).
Although abortions are popular all over the world, they are risky business and are responsible for thousands of fatalities a year. It’s disappointing to know that this common procedure houses many complications and can leave a woman with a lifelong altered body, mind, and at the extreme, death. However, there is still hope with the improvement in the access and quality of healthcare that this number will finally plummet. According to Jones, Darroch, and Henshaw, with these advances in healthcare, it has reduced the incidence of abortion because of easier access to family planning education and the use of contraceptives (2002, pp. 294-303). Despite the new and more effective contraceptives and education, and their increased accessibility, more than half of the pregnancies conceived in the United States are considered “unplanned”. Out of those “unplanned” pregnancies, half of them are aborted. (Manian, 2009, p. 223) Thus, abortion remains a highly debated topic in our society today.
Roe V. Wade Case (1973)
An important reason as to why it is so hard for us as a society to agree on whether or not abortion should be legal or not is because it roots back to our beliefs. Whether those beliefs are from a political or religious standpoint, people will always have a say in if abortion is an appropriate medical procedure that should be available for women all over the globe. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe v. Wade case in 1973, confirmed that abortion was a constitutional right for all women and was considered the beginning of the fight for women’s reproductive equality. Prior to this case, all abortions were illegal unless the mother’s life was at risk. A lot has changed since then. With the decision of this case, there has been an abundance of new techniques created to assist in terminating a woman’s pregnancy.
Medical Options That Women Have
In today’s society, it is no secret that women often times get surgical abortion procedures to terminate their pregnancy, and this is not an easy decision to make. According to a general hospital psychiatry article titled “psychological distress symptoms in women undergoing medical vs. surgical termination of pregnancy”, it states that the surgery is “intense and can leave psychological distress symptoms” (2006, pp. 43-47). But I would like to discuss some alternate options that women have instead of receiving the surgery. Medical abortion is popular in the United States and is referred to as the abortion pill.
On planned parenthoods official website they establish, “the abortion pill is the popular name for using two different medicines to end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol.” (2018) These medications are combined to ensure that the fetus is fully terminated. It is said to be highly effective and an easy process that women have easy access to. “This simple process, involving the use of pills rather than invasive surgical instruments, has been shown to be safe and up to 98% effective for early pregnancy termination.” (Winikoff, Beverly, and Wendy Sheldon, 2012, p. 164) In the United States, it is a lot easier to receive proper options, even though it doesn’t seem like it, than in developing countries. Developing countries are still far behind in the realms of the abortion world but are slowly catching up and trying to provide women with proper reproductive rights. But even with these advancements, there have still been plenty setbacks that have been put into place by their societies leaders to prevent them from receiving proper options. Winikoff, Beverly, and Wendy state in their journal that women are going to crazy lengths, such as the internet, to find assistance. “For example, in places where women have little or no access to either drug, some are turning to the Internet for purchase of the medications.” (2012, p. 164) When women are not given the opportunity to adequate healthcare, they take matters into their own hands.
Having to decide if a human should live is an incredibly difficult decision that takes a lot of decision-making and guidance. Our society must come to an overall understanding that this is not an overnight process but something that takes time, effort, and energy to decide. Watching women in my own family have to go through this vary process has made it very clear that it needs to become more familiarized throughout our country as well as the rest of the world. It’s time to let couples be able to decide whether or not they are prepared and able to nourish and love a newborn child. Leave the political and religious views aside and really get to know their story and just maybe, we can all come to the conclusion that people will always agree to disagree on this topic.
- Berer, M. “National Laws and Unsafe Abortion: the Parameters of Change.” Reproductive Health Matters., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15938152.
- “The Abortion Pill | Get the Facts About Medication Abortion.” Planned Parenthood, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/the-abortion-pill.“Psychological Distress Symptoms in Women Undergoing Medical vs. Surgical Termination of Pregnancy.” General Hospital Psychiatry, Elsevier, 27 Dec. 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834305001192?via=ihub.
- Andrusko, Dave. ‘NARAL president tells her ‘abortion story’.’ National Right to Life News, Feb. 2016, p. 20. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A449417551/GPS?u=nebraska_scc&sid=GPS&xid=957c231b. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018
- Manian, Maya. ‘The irrational woman: informed consent and abortion decision-making.’ Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, vol. 16, no. 2, 2009, p. 223+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A208109393/GPS?u=nebraska_scc&sid=GPS&xid=e742408e. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018
- Jones, Carolyn. ‘Women Seeking Abortions Should Not Be Forced to Undergo an Ultrasound.’ Are Abortion Rights Threatened?, edited by Tamara L. Roleff, Greenhaven Press, 2013.
- At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010869214/OVIC?u=nebraska_scc&xid=0f855ac0. Accessed 25 Feb. 2018.
- Originally published as ”We Have No Choice’: One Woman’s Ordeal with Texas’ New Sonogram Law,’ Texas Observer, 15 Mar. 2012Singer, Peter. ‘The Choice of a Pregnant Woman Always Outweighs the Life of a Fetus.’ Ethics, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015.
- Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010431266/OVIC?u=nebraska_scc&xid=08b4fa85. Accessed 25 Feb. 2018.
- Originally published as ‘The Real Abortion Tragedy,’ www.project-syndicate.org, 13 Aug. 2012Winikoff, Beverly, and Wendy Sheldon. ‘Use of medicines changing the face of abortion.’ International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, vol. 38, no. 3, 2012, p. 164+.
- Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A311051418/OVIC?u=nebraska_scc&xid=758eb394. Accessed 25 Feb. 2018
- “Contraceptive Use Among U.S. Women Having Abortions in 2000-2001.” Guttmacher Institute, 6 Dec. 2016, www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2002/11/contraceptive-use-among-us-women-having-abortions-2000-2001.