The term abortion refers to the premature expulsion of a human fetus, whether naturally spontaneous, as in a miscarriage, or artificially induced, as in a surgical or chemical abortion. The most common usage often refers to artificially induced abortion, which is the subject of my essay. All human life is sacred from fertilization through adulthood. The life of a baby begins at conception. Abortion ends human life and should be punishable by law.
One cannot begin to discuss the issues of abortion without first mentioning the 1973 landmark court case decision which made the act of abortion legal. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court held that women have the constitutional right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. The Supreme Court further held that the state could place restrictions on abortion only if justified by a compelling interest. The state was given the power to ensure the health of pregnant women and protect potential human. The court ruled that in the first trimester of pregnancy, women are granted the freedom of choice without any restrictions as to whether to terminate the pregnancy. In the second trimester, however, only the state s interest in potential life became compelling. The state could not restrict women from having an abortion if continuing pregnancy would put the women s health at risk (Mascur 2).
Many other court cases have been held since Roe v. Wade that have substantially increased the state s power in challenging a woman s choice of having an abortion. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court empowered the state to impose restrictions so as long as it does not have the intention of placing a substantial object in the path of women seeking an abortion. (Mascur 3) Many states today require that women intending to have an abortion first receive parental consent and delay their abortion by a minimum of 24hrs in order to receive state mandated information that would discourage them from taking such an action. The state governments have also been given the power to deny funding for abortion services while providing medical care to maintain pregnancy.
In 1976, the Hyde amendment prohibited the use of federal Medicaid funds to low-income women for abortion services except for cases of life-endangerment, rape and incest. Only 17 states provide abortion coverage to Medicaid recipients (Macur 4). One particular statistic that I find disturbing is that nearly 50% of the American population believes that a woman should have the right to a legal abortion at any time and under any conditions. (Kuechler 1) Are they trying to tell us that a week before a baby is due, the women should be allowed an abortion, or even right up to the day before? It would be natural for a woman to fear the pain and suffering of childbirth more and more so as the day of childbirth approaches. If she should, in a confused state, all of a sudden decide that she does not want to deal with childbirth, should we allow her to kill another human being? Nearly a third to a half the people who took the poll agreed that women should have the unquestionable right to abort at any time. I feel that giving women the right to kill their children is absurd.
Much of the confusion about abortion lies in determining at what stage the group of dividing cells (blastula) becomes more akin to a living individual organism. It is a medical fact that the baby has a heartbeat before the mother misses her period. This time may reach up to 31 days. Surgical abortions are rarely performed before the 7th week (49 days). By this time the baby has identifiable arms, legs and brainwave patterns (unconscious thought and reaction processes). It almost brings me to tears knowing that most abortions are performed in the period of seven to ten weeks after conception. In this period of time the baby s face is recognizably human.
Death of a human being is not the only consequence of abortion (as if that were not reason enough to make abortions illegal). Clinical research has proven that abortion can cause severe psychological side effects upon the women. Women who report negative after-effects from abortion know exactly what their problem is, observed psychologist Wanda Franz, Ph.D. in a congressional hearing on the impact of abortion seven years ago (Franz 1). She went on to describe how they report horrible nightmares of children calling them from trash-cans, of body parts and blood. Chemical Abortions in which the baby is removed un-maimed often damages the minds of women to an even greater extent. They see their unborn children and even able to distinguish tiny arms legs and a face. So traumatic is the experience, that researchers have asked women not to take the drug if they are not prepared to see their dead child (Hannibal 14). There is such a well-defined pattern of severe psychological problems in the women who have had abortions that it has been given the name Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Women diagnosed with PAS often have accompanying alcohol and drug abuse problems as well as sexual dysfunction and worst of all records of suicide attempts. (Franz 1) A women who has already had an abortion is more likely use abortion again as a quick and easy solution than is another pregnant female under conditions. PAS is a type of pattern of denial that does not finally surface within 10-12 years afterwards (Rugh 1). Only then do emotional difficulties surface bringing about a whole new array of problems. A Los Angels survey in 1989 found that 56% of women who had abortions felt guilty of doing so, and 26% regretted the abortion (Koop 1). If we know that such a high percentage of women change their minds not in favor of having an abortion after the bastardly act is committed, why do we allow them to do so?
The famous RU486 Drug is not a solution. It has several well document side-affects including severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain and even death. At least one French woman has died while others are suffering from life-threatening heart attacks. On top of this, you must be the ideal women to use the drug; smoking, asthma, high blood pressure and obesity are all red flags for women not to use the drug. (Torress 170)
Five years ago in Russia, 98 out of every 1,000 women have died in performing abortions, one tenth of the women, yet it is still allowed. (Anonymous SPB Press) Why not allow one out of every 10 pregnant women to commit suicide as well, the result would be the same? With a death rate of one in 10, how could they have allowed abortions to remain legal? Daniel J. Martin, M.D., clinical instructor at the St. Lois University Medical School in St. Louis Missouri, sums it up beautifully in saying that The impact of abortion on the body of a women who chooses an abortion is great and always negative. I can think of no beneficial effect of a social abortion on a body. I understand that human beings should be allowed to make choices even if they clearly put themselves in a worse position, but death of an infant is a whole other issue. The decision to kill another human being, and a child at that, cannot be tolerated. Pregnant women in favor of abortion should acknowledged his idea. A realistic solution to hindering the choice of abortion would be to force such knowledge upon women in seeking abortions. Some actions of this sort have already been state mandated as mention previously, but much more can be done. On top of the psychological problems that abortion brings about on women, it has been shown that having an abortion makes a woman more prone to developing breast cancer. Aborting a first pregnancy during the first trimester can double a women s risk of breast cancer. Multiple abortion often triples and even quadruples the risk. (Daling 1585)
A vivid quote that describes a Dilation and Extraction (D&E) technique used frequently against babies 12-18 weeks after conception might help one take a firmer stand on abortion:
[Babies] fully formed and able to experience pain are literally pulled apart as they are dragged out of the womb; Instead of a loop shaped knife, a grasping forceps (similar to pliers with teeth), is inserted into the womb to grasp the fetus. Because the developing baby already has calcified bones, the parts [arms and legs etc.] must be twisted and torn away. This process is totally dismembered and removed. Sometimes the head is too large and must be crushed in order to remove it. Bleeding is profuse. (Williams 2)
This quote is nothing short of being 100% accurate. It appeals to our emotions. And our emotions are often the incontestable truth. Such actions performed on a born human being would be considered vial and the killer would be at once deemed psychologically ill. Why we protect the clinical abortionist in performing such actions on a baby is beyond the scope of my understanding.
I have no other choice than to get an abortion a woman might argue. Such a statement is shallow and unwarranted. There are nearly 3,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers staffed by volunteers ready to provide real help to women facing unplanned or untimely pregnancies. In addition to providing pregnancy tests and counseling, these centers provide a full range of baby equipment, pre and post natal care legal assistance, financial support, adoption services and even information on how a pregnant student can continue her education. There is no excuse for abortion. The bottom line is that even if you don t care about your child, there is someone else who genuinely cares about what happens to you and your unborn baby. Women should remember that they are not alone, but very much a part of a caring community.
There is very much a religious aspect to abortion in today s world. Many religions teach that life begins at conception. The Bible refers to conception as the beginning of life over forty times. When a mother decides to abort her child, she is not simply removing non-living tissue; she is eliminating part of God s plan for mankind. Who are we to say that a child has no worth or value when in God s eyes that child may be a modern prophet such as John the Baptist, Jeremiah, David or Moses was. Various excerpts from religious journals attempt to explain what God feels towards an abortion and how man is a link in the chain of life. More universally, it is important for us to understand how that religious person is thinking. In essence, he is saying that an all knowing supernatural being would view abortions highly negatively. An interesting quote posed itself to me from the Bible. In John 10:10, Jesus preaches that The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full. Such a statement seems profoundly accurate in my opinion. (Bible)
What about abortion clinics, are they as justified as they claim to be? I found one quote from a representative abortion clinic quite insincere:
We commit ourselves to restoring access to abortion to the poor and to preserving it as a matter of choice to individuals throughout the economic spectrum when you support Planned Parenthood you support a campaign to work against the enactment of laws that restrict the availability of abortions. (Scott 77)
Not mentioned was the fact that Planned Parenthood clinics charge an average cost of $415 for each of the 104,000 1st trimester abortions. These statistics translate into 44.3 million dollars in revenue, all of which is tax-free! For that much money they would tell us anything (Williams 3).
Rape is a dastardly act. It is incapable of being remedied and feared by both men and women. Abortionists are now trying to use rape in order to justify their own dastardly act of killing a pre-born child conceived by rape and then possible extending that to killing any and all innocent pre-born children. Abortion-murderers should not use our passion against rape as a tool to ,in reality, rape our country for the unalienable right to life which begins at fertilization.
In conclusion, I feel that the act of abortion is inexcusable by any rational. Human life begins at conception and negative interference in the development of a baby should be punishable by law. I have shown the numerous psychological and physical effects an abortion can have on the pregnant mother. A vivid quote on a technique used to brutally terminate the life of a child illustrates how inhumane the action of abortion is. There are many cost-free alternatives to abortion available to every mother in the U.S if not all over the world. Yet the troubling fact still remains that there have been over 35 million abortions in the U.S since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973. Roughly 1.5 million abortions are made a year. ( Henshaw 101) Something must be done.