Abortion is one of the most controversial and important subjects of this generation. Much of the issue of abortion has been over the debate about the morality of this procedure. The two factions involved in this controversy are often those who oppose abortion and those who are for it. A person who is Pro-life (right to life) believes that a fetus’s right to live is indisputable. A person who is Pro-choice contends that a women’s right to abortion is absolute. Both viewpoints have shaped the way abortion has been dealt with today in society. It also makes up the viewpoints of organizations, the Church, the law of the land and society itself. Research has shown that it is an issue that existed centuries ago and will continue to exist today.
For those who would like to ban abortion altogether, abortion boils down to a matter of life and death. With an abortion, the fetus dies. Without an abortion, the fetus may continue to live. Pro-choicers’ reject the fact that abortion is about killing. They believe that the issue is about a pregnant woman’s right to control her body. They argue that a fetus is a collection of cells, nothing more than a potential life. The arguments, to them, are about choice. A pregnant woman must have the ability to terminate her pregnancy if she so chooses. People consider abortion as baby killing and other’s talk about how legal abortion safeguards women’s rights. Some believe life begins at conception and others hold that the early fetus is very far from being a human. Many use poverty, fragile mental health, or concerns about deformities to justify a woman in having an abortion.
The strict dictionary definition of abortion is “induced termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or fetus that is incapable of survival”. Abortion is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the United States. There are many different ways an abortion can be performed. Abortions during the first trimester are performed by a suction tube, which rips apart the fetus and removes all blood, fluids and tissue. During the second and third trimesters, the abortion is more gruesome where as the actual baby may be removed and sometimes removed alive. The baby is killed alive for reasons that the mother’s health is at stake. As a result, partial birth abortions have become another controversial issue today. There are about 9 different procedures that can be performed and no method of abortion is 100% safe or 100% successful. Many people don’t realize that abortion is actually a dangerous procedure. While techniques are improving, there is still high probability of negative side effects, and almost certain negative psychological side effects.
The Church defines abortion as the ejection of an immature and non-viable fetus from the womb. The Church believes that human life begins when a male sperm fertilizes the woman’s egg. From that moment on, the fetus, is not a potential human being, but a human being with potential. The process of life begins at conception to form a unique individual independent of the life of the mother and of the father. Most people believe that the Roman Catholic Church ‘s view on abortion has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Many Catholic Churches, between the fifth and nineteenth centuries nearly always allowed some abortions. But soon this position changed and as soon as 1869 on through the 1960’s, hierarchy such as Pope Pius IX and the Second Vatican Council soon expressed their absolute disapproval of abortion. In 1869, Pope Pius IX officially changed Catholic doctrine to ban all abortions performed at any time for any reason. According to the Second Vatican Council (1965) in Gaudieum et Spes (section 51), it declared: “Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception. Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes”. Abortion was typically regarded as both criminal and immoral. Today, the Catholic Church hierarchy does not permit abortion in any instance, not even in case of rape or as a direct way of saving the life of a pregnant woman.
Laws are created to protect the people that they govern. Early American laws have ruled out abortion, yet they have changed since 1970. The current legal status of abortion in America stands from the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade (1973). A woman is permitted to have an abortion during her first and second trimester for any reason deemed fit; whether it is an unplanned pregnancy, gender selection, convenience, or rape. In the last trimester, a state has a right to restrict abortions to only those cases in which the mother’s health is jeopardized. In some cases, the law does not restrict a woman from getting an abortion during the entire nine months of pregnancy. Since Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court has made additional decisions regarding the constitutionality of abortion. Nevertheless, these cases have all made it clear that there are no significant legal barriers of any kind existing today for a woman to have an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy. Individual states have enacted laws to prevent or delay certain kinds of abortion. Before 1970, almost every state had laws banning abortions for any reason other than maternal protection. In 1971-72, 33 states independently debated the abortion issue and all of them left it illegal. In 1973, Roe v Wade ruled these laws unconstitutional. Since then, many other state laws have been enacted. In 1995, Ohio enacted the first Partial Birth Abortion Ban and 18 other states have followed. In 1997 alone, 31 states enacted partial birth abortions bans, parental notification laws, and/or right to know laws.
According to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, there have been 40 million abortions in the twenty-six years since the United States Supreme Court unrestricted abortion in 1973. Abortion occurs as simply as walking into a clinic and filling out a consent form to allow for the procedure to take place. A transaction of money or insurance card covers the cost of the action and the doctor takes care of the rest. Analyzing various viewpoints brings me to believe that abortion is morally wrong. Unless a person is raped, or has health problems that don’t allow for pregnancy, it is a cowardly attempt to throw away the life you carelessly created. Contraception is easily available, and information is provided in schools and communities to educate the public on ways to prevent pregnancy and later avoid such a burden of having an abortion. There are even sex education programs, which indeed increases knowledge and responsibility for a woman. With all this at hand, abortion should be an issue that a woman should not even have to think about.