Abortion And Women

Read Complete Research Material


Abortion and Women

Abortion and Women


Women have sought to induce abortions since ancient times, and medical recipe books dating from the colonial period in the United States commonly included descriptions of herbal abortifacients (substances that cause abortion), sometimes couched in ambiguous terms such as “remedies to restore menstruation.” In the early 19th century, laws prohibiting abortion began to appear, beginning with Connecticut in 1821, and such laws became common in the 1860s. By 1900, abortion was illegal in most American states, although some states allowed exceptions, such as in the case of rape or incest. Abortion remained widely restricted until the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade in 1973, which prohibited states from restricting women's access to abortion in the first trimester (three-month period) (Silliman, 2004).

“Abortion Should Not Be Allowed Except In extraordinary Cases.”


From some moral, religious, and cultural vantage points, abortion is murder. Others view abortion as a fundamental right that, whether grounded in privacy, liberty, equality, or autonomy, must remain unfettered to ensure full emancipation. For many, the morality of abortion depends on when during pregnancy it is performed or what an individual's reasons are for undergoing the procedure. Perspectives about abortion are not merely contrasting; they are frequently impassioned and irreconcilable. Seeking compromise among those who stand on opposite sides of the abortion spectrum can appear futile, and encouraging tolerance of diverse viewpoints may, in the context of this debate, seem unprincipled. Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) dealt with the problem from another angle, namely, birth control. A progressive reformer, Sanger saw firsthand the death of a poor working woman who could not afford to have another child and whose husband refused to use a condom. The U.S. Supreme Court dealt with contraception in Griswold v. Connecticut (1973). Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980), writing for the majority, upheld a couple's right to contraception (including information about contraception) in a piece of convoluted reasoning: “Specific guarantees have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.” In other words, the Court now guaranteed the right to privacy, and contraception was one of those rights (Rose, 2006).

Incidence of Abortion

It has been estimated that over 40 million abortions are performed worldwide each year. While the number appears to be on the decline, about one pregnancy out of every five is terminated by abortion. In 2003, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the global abortion rate—that is, the number of women of childbearing age who have an abortion—stood at 29 out of every 1,000. Government regulation of abortion varies considerably. However, rules that are more restrictive do not necessarily correspond with a lower rate of abortion, and abortion rates are sometimes lower where the procedure is legal and readily available. Western Europe, for example, where abortion is legally permitted except in rare circumstances, boasts the lowest rate of abortion at 12 for every 1,000 women. In Africa, by contrast, legal restrictions are far more common, but the abortion rate is estimated at 29 per 1,000 ...
Related Ads