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During the past quarter century, abortion has joined race
and war as the most debatable subject of controversy in the
United States. It discusses human interaction where ethics,
emotions and law come together. Abortion poses a moral,
social and medical dilemma that faces many individuals and
creates an emotional and violent atmosphere. There are many
points of view toward abortion but the only two fine
distinctions are "pro-choice" and "pro-life". A pro-choicer
would feel that the decision to abort a pregnancy is that
of the mother and the state has no right to interfere. A
pro-lifer would hold that from the moment of conception,
the embryo or fetus is alive. This life imposes on us a
moral obligation to preserve it and that abortion is
tantamount to murder (Kolner 5).
In the United States about 1.6 million pregnancies end in
abortion. Women with incomes under eleven thousand are over
three times more likely to abort than those with incomes
above twenty-five thousand. Unmarried women are four to
five times more likely to abort than married and the
abortion rate has doubled for 18 and 19 year olds. Recently
the U.S. rate dropped 6 percent overall but the rate of
abortion among girls younger than 15 jumped 18 percent. The
rate among minority teens climbed from 186 per 1,000 to 189
per 1,000.
The most popular procedure involved in abortions is the
vacuum aspiration which is done during the first trimester
(three months or less since the woman has become pregnant).
A tube is simply inserted through the cervix and the
contents of the uterus are vacuumed out. The most commonly
used type of second trimester abortion is called dilation
and evacuation. Since the fetus has bones, bulk and can
move, second trimester is not as simple. When as much of
the fetus and placenta are vacuumed out, then tweezers are
used to remove larger parts. After this, or the beginning
of the fifth month, abortion is serious and actually
induced as childbirth. That is, the mother is given
substances which puts her into labor and delivers the fetus
as she would a full-term baby. About 40 percent of
Americans believe that abortion should remain legal and 40
percent believe it should be banned except when the
pregnancy threatens the life of the mother or is the result
of rape or incest. Also 15 percent believe it should be
illegal in all cases. Although abortion is regarded as a
women's right, it should be banned with exceptions because
it's considered murder, has many psychological side effects
and there is an alternative.
Abortion is a woman's own right and choice. In 1973 the Roe
v. Wade decision proved this by recognizing abortion as a
fundamental constitutional right and made it legal in all
states. The law now permits abortion at the request of the
woman without any restrictions in the first trimester and
some restrictions in the second trimester to protect the
woman's health. The National Abortion Right Act League
argues that without legal abortion, women would be denied
their constitutional right of privacy and liberty. The
woman's right to her own body subordinates those of the
fetus and the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade argued that
the woman's "right to privacy" overruled the fetus's right
to life. 

If abortion was illegal it would force poor women to bear
and raise children they can't afford to bring up. There
would be a number of unsafe abortions in back allies. It
would also force women to give up their dreams and stay
home to bring up babies. Worst of all, it would condemn
victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the
offspring of their rapist.(Kolner 5) Abortion is necessary
for women to have control over their own bodies and life.
One activist said, "If I hadn't had that abortion my life
would have been a disaster. I wouldn't have made it to
medical school. I was married at that point to a very ill
man and it would have been terrible to have to have my

People who need abortions are in some kind of turmoil and
it's really a life-saving thing."(Blender 4) To ignore the
rights of others is selfish and injustice. Women must have
the right to control the functions of their own bodies.
Reverend George Gardiner, pastor of the college Hill United
Methodist Church, told the council that the ordinance would
have done little good. "Young women need the freedom to
make choices for their reproductive life when their family
can't guarantee them parental support."(Lynn B6-7) Women
should not be forced to have babies they don't want. They
must be able to decide what happens to them and have a safe
plus legal way of doing so. Women are in control of their
own bodies and lives. Legislators have no right to
interfere. The practical assertion that since pregnancy
involves a women's body, the choice of continuing that
pregnancy must be hers alone. This powerful theoretical
articulation and defense was first given by Judith
Thomson.(Meilander 3)
Pro-lifers believe that human life begins at the moment of
conception. When the merging of the egg and sperm is
complete, it is known as the "zygote". The zygote contains
a full set of 46 chromosomes which is required to create a
human life. Scientists identify that at the moment of
fertilization the ovum takes on an entirely different
destiny, life. About 15,000 genes from the sperm and ovum
form a unique combination. This is a new human life at its
earliest stage. 

In the United States, abortion will prevent many births.
Dr. Nathanson stopped performing abortions after becoming
aware of the horrors he observed. "A woman has the right to
go to bed with whom she wants, but she can not choose death
for her child. It's a direct violation of human rights."
(Koval grid c-7) Anthony Simpson has a photo of an aborted
fetus and believes that abortion is nothing less but
ruthless murder. In southern Kentucky, Robert Hollis
brutally assaulted his wife in an effort to abort the fetus
he suspected wasn't his. He was successful and Caroll
believed Hollis set out intentionally to kill that fetus
and that it was in fact murder. Kristina Kleg, a graduate
from high school, recently became pregnant and decided
against abortion. She feels that it's an innocent child
inside of her. It has a brain and a heart therefore it also
has a right to life. "Abortion is the unnatural end of
pregnancy. That child's right to life is equal to the
mother's right. One cannot kill another human being just
because they wished it wasn't around. Abortion is murder of
the innocent practiced on a national scale." (Abortion: The
Personal, Medical and Social Dilemma) Overall it has been
proven that the fetus is a real person. It responds to
noise, has feeling and fears. Having an abortion will
destroy an innocent life and is an act of murder.
Scientific research has successfully shown that abortion
causes many psychological side effects. It leaves the woman
with many strong feelings about her decision. She feels
sadness, wishing things could have been different and grief
for a lost life. Guilt arises because she knows a fetus
represents an independent life. Anger builds up towards
other people having to do with her decision. Sometimes the
mother may feel that she has in fact been abandoned. Most
of all the mother feels ashamed and embarrassed about her
action. People close to the mother may be angry at her for
ending her pregnancy. Even years after the abortion, the
woman tends to remember the regretful experience. She
usually wonders what the baby would have looked like.
Thirty-three year old Michelle Urbain of south Florida has
had five abortions so far. She realizes now that they all
left emotional scars. "It wasn't just a mass of cells, it
was children I was killing." (Kovaleski c-7) 

It may be a month or a year, but feelings do catch up with
the mother. Symptoms like nightmares, panic attacks and
flashbacks are signs of a recently discovered Post Abortion
Syndrome (PAS). According to a study published by
Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Valves and
Social Change, one in five women studied had diagnosable
stress disorders. (Lyons d-11) Also two in five had sleep
disorders and flashbacks following abortion. 


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