Abortion, which for me and many others is one of the mostcontroversial ongoing issues today and has become very common here in theUnited States.
There are many reasons that defend the legalization of abortion.However, understanding the overall medical information as well as the in-depthperspectives on abortion can help to solve this on-going controversial issue.Unlike the most known common perception that abortion is performed in an unsafesurrounding area and could have some potential long-term problems, abortioncontrary to popular belief is actually performed by professionals and has very fewcomplications if it is performed within the twelve-week time frame ofpregnancy.First and foremost abortion is a practice that terminates apregnancy by using a medicine or a surgery to remove the fetus from the uterus.For quite some time, abortion is something that has been part of human culture.The most common reasons for having an abortion is because women who have hadchildren are fairly young. It is also done because of rape, relationship,academic, working, financial issues.
Inthe United States, the issue of abortion is an extremely controversial subjectthat matters not only to the medical field but also to the political and socialfields. Pro-life (illegal abortion) advocates have stated that; life begins at aconception, so the fetus is entitled to have full human rights to live;abortion should be considered a crime of murder; women should usecontraceptives in the means of preventing pregnancies; abortion increases thelikelihood of having some future side-effects. On the other hand, pro-choice(legal abortion) advocates have argued that; it is entirely the women’s rightsto control their own bodies without having any kind of interference; abortiondoes not asphyxiate a baby, but it just ends a pregnancy; the modern-day abortionis safe because it is performed by professionals in a safe setting; women whochoose abortion do not have ability to raise the child. The two sides over thisissue have been strained for a long time. However, again, viewing abortion interms of the medical perspectives it is significantly vital to understanding theissue.Pro-life advocates have argued about the moral status of the fetus. However,the beginning of human life cannot be determined and it extends beyond theknowledge of medicine.
The problem of the moral status of the fetus is done byexperiences, religious and philosophical beliefs, moral belief, and so on.Medicine does not have the ability to establish when the moral status on thefetus occurs. The fetus within the 12 weeks is in fact not fully developed, so basicallyarguing about the fetus’s moral fetus in my opinion is somewhat an unreasonableand unnecessary argument. Also, according to Elizabeth Harman, “inaccessiblefacts determine a fetus’s moral status. We can’t ever know how to treat anearly fetus, because we can’t be sure of its moral status.” (Harman).Furthermore, the fetuses cannot feel pain during abortion (Rosenfield).According to Stuart W.
G. Derbyshire, “necessary to the development of painexperience is also yet to occur.” (Derbyshire), and “there is no evidence thatbrain and neurological system are developed enough even at twenty-four weeksfor the fetus to experience pain” (Rosenfield).
Arguing about something thathas not been proven is not right. Even though today’s medical techniques havebeen developing at a good rapid pace, there are certainly some concepts thatcannot be proven with them. Abortion can be performed naturally or artificially. An Abortion that occurswithin the first twenty weeks is called a miscarriage and after twenty weeks iscalled a stillbirth. The types of surgical abortion procedure are varied on thestage of pregnancy. It is usually divided by trimester. In the United States,about 90% of abortions are done during the first 12 weeks of the period (firsttrimester) because it is the safest time to have an abortion.
The most commonabortion procedure during that period is called the suction curettage (vacuumaspiration), which the contents of the uterus are suctioned out through a plastictube inserted thought the cervix. The next step is a s followed, the curettageis performed to make sure that all fetal tissue is removed. Other proceduresperformed in the first trimester are Methotrexate & Misoprostol (MTX) andManual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA).
MTX is used up to about the first 7 weeks of thepregnancy but not usually used in the united states and an MVA is a procedure thatis used during 3-12 weeks since it’s the last period and is also considered tobe less dangerous/risky. Early on in pregnancy, most women can have abortionsdone at clinics and or outpatient facilities in hospitals (American Pregnancy).At 12 to 20 weeks of pregnancy (second trimester), the most common abortionmethod is a dilation and evacuation, which is 97-99% effective. The cervix isdilated slowly “using sponge-like materials that expand as they are absorbed bylocal cervical fluids” (Rosenfield). And the uterine content is removed byusing forceps in conjunction with vacuum aspiration. The other abortion methodthat is commonly used in the second trimester is called the instillationabortion.
The fetus dies because of saline solutions that are implanted intoamniotic cavity throughout the stomach. Another procedure is called an inductionabortion. It is infrequently performed abortion which “salt water, urea, orpotassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins areinserted into the vagina, and Pitocin is injected intravenously.” (Abortion).The third semester (late term) abortion is not usual and has been restricteddepending on the state laws. Induction abortion and Dilation and Extraction(but now illegal according to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1995) canbe done during this period. Dilation and Extraction is a surgical abortionmethod which is used after 21 weeks of pregnancy.
The cervix is dilated, andthe fetus is extracted in pieces by using surgical forceps (Abortion).Another type of abortion, medical abortion (nonsurgical abortion) involvestaking medications, which is safe and 90-97% effective. The drug is used with aprostaglandin, which makes uterine contractions and removal of the uterinecontents. And then, mother needs to take a second medicine, misoprostol. Itcauses the uterus to empty.
After abortion, she should necessary visit thedoctors regularly and watch out for the risk of infection. Continuous care and constantattention is very significant key to making sure that the abortion is donecorrectly and most importantly that mother is safe, not having anyside-effects.In addition to that, legal and professionally performed abortion is safe.
Withthe increased number of residency programs providing training in abortionprocedures, abortion in the United States is provided by moreobstetrician-gynecologists (Rosenfield). Those physicians are intended to offerthe safest procedures for the woman as well as the fetus. RU-486, the drugmentioned above, is distributed only to physicians who can diagnose theduration of pregnancy accurately and have specific treatment, which makes it safer.If abortion were to be illegal, there are some people that would try to imitatethe RU-486 and make very unsafe abortion pills themselves, which could resultin in a much more dangerous outcome.
Furthermore, complications of abortion have rarely occurred. And even when theydo happen to occur, they are not usually serious. General anesthesia may occur;however, it is considered as an unnecessary additional risk. Prophylacticantibiotics may be prescribed, but infection have hardly occurred. “Medicalevidence has consistently shown that a woman who has one properly performedinduced abortion is the first trimester of pregnancy has the same change of anormal outcome of a subsequent pregnancy as a woman who has never had anabortion.” (Rosenfield). Complications during or after the abortion may be oneof the biggest reasons why women are afraid of going through with it. However,like I have stated if the abortion is performed within the 12 weeks, there isnothing to worry about.
“The risk of death from complications isless than 0.6 in 100,000 procedures, whereas the risk of women dying fromgiving birth is 13.3 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies” (Abortion). It is gettingless and less than in the early 1970s, when the complication rate was more than4 per 100,000. Both psychological complications and physical complicationsrelate to the type of procedures and the pregnancy age of abortion. Earlierabortion results fewer complications than later procedures. In addition, thereis no post abortion syndrome (a negative emotional or physical response toabortion) that meets the American Psychiatrist Association’s definition oftrauma (Rosenfield). A study from the “University of California” and “SanFrancisco” found that the majority of women who had an abortion felt that they indeedmade the right decision.
90% of them felt relief a week after the abortion, and80% of them who reported having mostly negative emotions about their abortionsstill felt that they made the right choice (Erdreich). And since most womenhave abortion within the 12 weeks of pregnancy, they did not feel as guilty aspeople thought they would have. They surely thought over and over to come tothe decision to have the abortion.
Consequently, they do not regret the choice ofgoing through with it and feel that at the end of the day, they made the rightchoice for both them and the child. According to former U.S. Surgeon General C.Everett Koop, “…emotional problems resulting from abortion are minuscule from apublic health perspective.” (Koop). Abortion is a decision that the mothersmake, which at the end of the day becomes their responsibility. They know whatthe consequence would be if they bear the burden of an unwanted child.
The opponents of abortion as a whole have stated that women who have abortionshave an increased risk for developing breast cancer. They argue that abortioncauses a termination of cell differentiation (that results from changingconcentrations of hormones) perhaps result in a following increase in the riskof cancer growth in the tissues. However, a relationship between abortion andbreast cancer has not been proven.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI)concludes that “Induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breastcancer risk”. Moreover, a study that was done in Sweden shows that 49,000 womenwho received abortions before the age of 30 showed no sign of risk of breastcancer and surprisingly stated that there could be a little reduced risk.Besides, the New England Journal of Medicine studied 1.5 million women in 1997to avoid the pitfalls and stated that “a woman need not worry about the risk ofbreast cancer” when it comes to abortion (Anti-Choice Claims About Abortion andBreast Cancer).
These studies by prominent institutes show that a relationshipbetween breast cancer and abortion is just a hypothesis which has not beenmedically proven. Moreover, abortion has enabled couples to have the option to determine not tohave babies/baby with severe medical conditions or abnormalities. Thisselective abortion based on genetic abnormalities is not discrimination at all becauseit is not fair for the children/child to go through such hardship withoutknowing that truth. For instance, syndromes like Fragile X Syndrome, Downsyndrome, and Cystic Fibrosis can be known before the childbirth.
Preventing itahead actually helps both parents and children to live better.Besides, in reality, using contraceptives is not always readily available,especially for those who are poor and young. Or, pregnancy can occur even withresponsible use of contraceptive. Access to abortion is necessary because ofthat.
Women need prescriptions to get birth controls methods; however, manyinsurance plans do not cover prescription contraception. Main contraceptiveservices include the IUD, the diaphragm, the hormonal implant, the path, theshot, and the pill. According to Guttmacher Institute, approximately 75% ofwomen who are enrolled in top selling insurance plans do not have the corecoverage for contraception; only 51% of the plans cover at least onecontraceptive service; emergency contraception is not generally accessible inmost health plans either (Kurth). Obviously, contraception is fairly expensiveand if contraception is not commonly covered by insurance, the majority of womenhave no choice of preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Therefore, illegal abortionwill cause women not to have any choice at all.Women know more about their situation than anyone else and seek abortion tokeep their responsibility. There is no obligation for the women to be forced tohave unwanted babies.
There are hardly any mothers who have abortions easily.It is all result of enough counseling and situations that they cannot handle.Think of a young woman who is too poor to buy contraception.
She suddenly gotpregnant with unwanted child. The young woman is now held with responsibilityof raising the child when in reality she can’t. Abortion might be better forthe child who will eventually suffer after the birth. Many pregnancies areunintended, even though having a child is an important decision which needsenough planning and preparation.
An unwanted baby should not be born in thisunprepared world. Finally, Abortion is widely legal with various restrictions throughout thisindustrialized world, but illegal in developing countries where unsafe abortionis performed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a woman in adeveloping nation dies in every 8 minutes because of the unsafe and illegalabortion (Haddad). Like the case above, making abortion illegal will likely increaseunsafe abortions. However, the safe procedure and few complications of abortionmake the abortion to be legalized. Abortion is a serious and life alteringdecision that is not decided easily by mothers. It may be an ongoing debateissue for a long period of time and since a demand will always exist, the longgoing issue will keep raging on.
Understanding the medical perspectives of an abortiontakes it one step further toward the resolve. Abortion, at least medically speaking,should be legal.