Tuesday, March 30, 2021

History of Abortion: It Really Should Be a Woman’s Legal Right


            Early 2019 consisted of hundreds of protests, however, the most controversial has been the abortion ban. According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, an abortion is a medical or surgical process that ends a pregnancy deliberately before an embryo/fetus is born. 

The opponents are most commonly known as “pro-life advocates” and generally condone abortion in serious cases, for instance, rape or incest. But most of these advocates believe that all abortion is murder. The reasoning behind this view is thought that the procedure allows for the cruel termination of a "viable" life. Supporters of reproductive rights such as this are known as pro-choice advocates. These advocates believe that women have the right to choose for themselves and argue that the access to safe and legal abortions is a human right. Some of these activists highlight the importance of no restrictions being placed on the procedure at all. 

            Abortions have been commonly performed in the United States at the time of the founding of the country and were not restricted until 1821 when the first anti-abortion law was passed in Connecticut. Many state legislatures have enacted laws that restrict and regulate access to the procedure, however, most of these laws are challenged in court, such as the most well-known, Roe v. Wade . This was the Supreme Court ruling that protects a woman’s right to an abortion until the end of the first trimester unless the fetus is posing a risk to the mother’s health. Though after the first trimester it is up to the state to restrict access. 

In 1967, most states considered abortion a felony crime, and in the same year, many states repealed this law on the premise that women should be allowed to seek voluntary abortions safely. One of the most restrictive abortion laws is held in Iowa starting in May of 2018. The proposed and accepted bill prohibits doctors from performing an abortion if there is a detectable heartbeat, which can be as soon as six weeks. There are many other proposed laws that would require spousal consent, but they have been struck down. 

In 2015, both Arizona and Arkansas passed legislation  that would require doctors to ensure the patient had the information that abortions could be reversed by taking progesterone, which is a chemical that mifepristone stops the body from producing naturally. Arizona governor repealed this law a year later on the premise that there is no scientific evidence that progesterone can successfully interrupt the effects of mifepristone.


Types of Abortions 

            There are two types of abortions: surgical and medical. A surgical abortion, known as vacuum aspiration, is what takes place within the first trimester and is less invasive than surgeries done at a later time. Medical professionals consider vacuum aspiration as one of the safest and simplest forms of surgery. These professionals also highlight that when these procedures take place in the first trimester, there are significantly fewer risks to the mother’s health than actually giving birth. 

            The second type of abortion is medical. These do not require surgery and are effective and safe until about nine weeks. In this case, the woman would take a pill known as mifepristone or the “abortion pill” prescribed by a health care provider. Two days later, another pill has to be taken in order to reject the embryo. These abortions are less effective than surgical but carry lower health risks. 

Social Concerns 

            Those who identify as pro-choice highlight that restricting abortions would impact the poor negatively. The WHO has estimated death of tens of thousands of women every year stemming from unsafe abortions. Though exact figures were not analyzed, it is estimated that the annual number of women dying has declined since 1990 as long as abortions were performed safely. Because of the tremendous amount of hate and the stigma brought on with getting an abortion, many women will travel to different states to get an abortion without breaking state laws, or they will risk their lives trying to terminate on their own. Advocates for these rights underscore that restrictions on abortion make them too costly for women with limited resources, for example, government fund restrictions to cover cost of abortions deny women equal access to the procedure. 



            The pro-life advocates, and protestors , at abortion clinics often hold up signs with fetuses and other threats of violence to cause the patients to feel guilty. From this, in 1994, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances made blocking entrances of abortion clinics a federal offense. Some other anti-abortion activist groups also use extreme tactics including domestic terrorism and aggressive harassment of health care professionals. Because of the threats to reproductive rights at these protests and within the political spectrum, pro-choice activist groups have taken defensive action in supporting and protesting their rights. Now, with the Republicans securing majorities in both houses of congress, state legislatures have been inspired to pose more stringent abortion restrictions. 

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