Abortion is the intentional termination of pregnancy and has been a highly debated topic for many years. It is surprising to most how common abortions are. “More than one out of three women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old (Methods of Abortion)”. Abortions can happen naturally, while the embryo is developing, which is more commonly known as a miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion (Methods of Abortion). An induced abortion is when the woman decides she doesn’t want the baby and then has the fetus or embryo removed from her body either surgically or medically (Methods of Abortion).
There are several reasons why women want to end their pregnancy. Teenagers and women get pregnant by accident before they’re ready to take on the responsibilities of being a parent. With that, some women feel like they have had enough children and just don’t want anymore. Pressures from society make some women want an abortion because they don’t want to deal with the judgment that comes from having a child out of wedlock. There are women who feel they don’t have enough money to provide for the child and don’t want to raise the child on their own if they are single. A lot of the time either the women’s health or the health of the baby is in danger and therefore she would be better off aborting the child. Lastly, many women who are victims of rape or incest get abortions.
Many women feel they have the right to choose whether to have a child or not. On the other hand many feel there is only one option and that is to have the child. Some people have a very strong opinion on this subject. So much so that the ones against it picket abortion clinics, there is even a group that has formed call the anti-abortion movement. Both sides have such strong beliefs as to why it should be allowed or why it shouldn’t that it has affected society as a whole. I believe the most important thing to discuss is the techniques used when an abortion takes place. That is where the controversy starts.
There are two ways to terminate a pregnancy, surgically and medically. In a medical abortion a woman can either take the drugs Methotrexate and Misoprostol, or the drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol (First-Trimester Abortion: A Comparison of Procedures). Methotrexate has been used in the U.S since 1953, the original use was to treat certain forms of cancer (Abortion/Medical Abortion). Researchers discovered other ways the medicine can be used, one of those ways being unwanted pregnancy (Abortion/Medical Abortion). Methotrexate can be taken orally or by injection (Methotrexate and Misoprostol for Abortion). This drug helps prevent further growth of the placenta, which then make it separate from the endometrium (Methotrexate and Misoprostol for Abortion). Misoprostol is inserted vaginally or by mouth five to seven days after the Methotrexate is taken (Methotrexate and Misoprostol for Abortion). This drug contracts the uterus in order to force out the pregnancy (Methotrexate and Misoprostol for Abortion). After the Misoprostol is taken the pregnancy usually ends at home within a day or two (Methotrexate and Misoprostol for Abortion).
Mifepristone was a drug made specifically for the purpose of abortion (Abortion/Medical Abortion). It was first used in France and in China in 1988 (Abortion/Medical Abortion). It has been used by millions of women throughout the world and was legalized in the U.S in the year 2000 (Abortion/Medical Abortion). Mifepristone is taken orally and separates the placenta from the endometrium (Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Abortion). Also it causes the cervix to soften and it increases uterine contractions so the uterine contents can pass (Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Abortion). Within 48 hours of taking the Mifepristone you are to take the Misoprostol (Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Abortion). The Misoprostol induces uterine contractions so your body can pass the uterine content (Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Abortion). The success is at a high rate of between 95 and 98 percent (First-Trimester Abortion: A Comparison of Procedures).
Methotrexate is a longer abortion process and is not as effective as Mifepristone (Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Abortion). Mifepristone has a higher success rate therefore I believe it is the better choice of the two. There is more pain and bleeding with a medical abortion, but these processes avoid the use of surgical instruments, making the chance of injury to the cervix and uterus less severe (First-Trimester Abortion: A Comparison of Procedures). These two step methods can be done in the comfort of the woman’s home. It is usually chosen for that fact and because there is more privacy. Also to some it feels more natural and less “wrong” so to speak, like that of having a miscarriage. A medical abortion is not an option after nine weeks of pregnancy (Dudley). After nine weeks a surgical abortion is the best and safest option available (Dudley).
A surgical abortion (also known as an In-Clinic abortion) is a surgical procedure done in a clinic or hospital. There are two methods, vacuum aspiration, and dilation and evacuation (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). In a vacuum aspiration abortion your health care provider will first examine your uterus (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). Then you will be offered medication for the pain, or even a sedation medication that makes you relaxed but still awake (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). A speculum will then be inserted into your vagina and next your surgeon will give you a shot into your cervix that will numb your cervix (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). The next step is to open your cervix with the use of dilators (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). After the cervix is opened the surgeon inserts a hollow plastic tube into the uterus to empty it (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). The entire procedure doesn’t take longer than 15 minutes (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). Some women experience cramping during the procedure and up to an hour afterwards (Abortion/Surgical Abortion).
After the vacuum aspiration abortion you will need to rest for up to 30 minutes in the clinics recovery area (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). There you will have a nurse checking your blood pressure and heart rate every five or so minutes (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). They will also need to make sure there is no abnormal bleeding or discomfort (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). You are also not allowed to have any vaginal intercourse for up to a week’s time. If you were given any sedation medication you will need to have someone drive you home, and you might have to be in the recovery area for longer than 30 minutes (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). They may prescribe you medication to take, and they also need to make a follow up appointment two weeks from the day of the abortion (Abortion/Surgical Abortion).
After 14 weeks of pregnancy (second trimester) the procedure needed for an abortion is called Dilation and Evacuation or D&E (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). This procedure is similar to the vacuum aspiration procedure but just requires further dilation of the cervix (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). Sometimes it can also require a shot to the abdomen to make sure there is fetal demise before the procedure begins (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). Further dilation of the cervix is done with fiber rods called laminaria (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). These are sometimes inserted into the cervix the day before the procedure (Dudley). Or they can use Misoprostol a few hours before the procedure (Abortion/Surgical Abortion).
The surgeon uses the same suction method that was performed in the vacuum aspiration procedure (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). The additional instrument that is used in a D&E procedure is called a curette (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). This is used to suck the remaining tissue that is in the uterus (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). The curette may also be used to check if the uterus is empty (What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion). This procedure can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes (Abortion/Surgical Abortion). After care in D&E procedures are a lot like the vacuum aspiration after care. The only difference is you have to be in the clinics recovery area for no less than an hour’s time (Abortion/Surgical Abortion).
Partial-Birth abortion is an abortion procedure that takes place in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy (Deborah White). This procedure is most commonly used when the birth of the child will affect the mother’s health (Deborah White). It’s also used when the baby is known to have severe birth defects (Deborah White). The health care provider induces a feet first delivery with forceps (Deborah White). The legs, arms, and torso of the fetus are delivered (Deborah White). Next the surgeon punctures the fetus’s skull with a scissor like tool (Deborah White). A suction device is put into the skull and sucks out the contents of the skull causing the skull to collapse (Deborah White). The lifeless fetus is then delivered fully (Deborah White). This abortion procedure is the most controversial because it is done so late in a pregnancy.
After researching this topic I have come to the conclusion that medical and surgical abortion is a choice that women should very well have. According to the constitution under the 9th and 14th amendments it states that women have a right to privacy, a right that extends to abortion. Surgical and medical abortions have been done for years now and have no severe risks. I find that abortion is a choice that should be allowed after careful consideration because it is such a serious decision.
On the other hand I do not agree that women should be allowed to have an abortion more than two times unless there are extenuating circumstances, for example rape. Abortion is not a form of birth control and should not be taken like so. Having an abortion is a serious, emotional, physical thing and should not be abused. There are many birth control options out there and I believe there is no excuse not to be on one of them if you don’t want a child. A fetus is a potential child, how many times can you go through an abortion without it affecting you in some way? Women need to be smart and use protection. So yes I believe abortion should be legal, but I do not think it should be abused and used as a form of birth control this is just immoral and irresponsible.
Onto the topic of partial birth abortion is a whole different opinion to me. Just the description of how it is done is enough to make me cry. I do not think that this procedure should take place unless the mother’s health is at risk or the baby has severe birth defects or health problems. 39 states prohibit some abortions after a certain point in pregnancy (State Policies on Later Abortions). That is a very high number for a good reason. It is obvious that many agree with the fact that the second and third trimester abortion is uncalled for. Unless, like I said, the mother or baby’s health is at risk. There is no need to wait that long to make such a descsion.
With that said I think it is obvious where I stand. Abortion is a serious matter. You are talking about killing a potential human being. Women should be allowed to make that choice because it is them that will have to live with that choice. Accidents do happen. If you are not ready to have a kid and know you cannot provide them with the life they should have and decide you want an abortion then you should be able to make that decision. You need to make that choice before it is too late though because it is just immoral and disgusting to have a partial birth abortion unless need be. Women have a right to choose if they are ready to be a mother or not. If you do not agree then I say, don’t have an abortion. It is not other people’s decision to make, everybody had their own opinion, but no one should be allowed to tell you whether or not you are ready to have a child, unless you were irresponsible and waited too long to make that decision. With children come responsibility and the need for money. If you don’t have either and decide to have an abortion that should be your decision to make.
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