Abortion The abortion debate most commonly relates to the "induced abortion" of an embryo or fetus at some point in a pregnancy, which is also how the term is used in a legal sense. In medical parlance, "abortion" can refer to either miscarriage or abortion until the fetus is viable. After viability, doctors call an abortion a "termination of pregnancy". Rise of anti-abortion legislation[ edit ] Abortion laws in the U.
Medical and Social Aspects Warren M. Abortion is one of the most difficult, controversial, and painful subjects in modern American society.
The principal controversy revolves around the questions of who makes the decision concerning abortion — the individual or the state; under what circumstances it may be done; and who is capable of making the decision.
Medical questions such as techniques of abortion are less controversial but are sometimes part of the larger debate.
Abortion is not new in human society. A study by anthropologist George Devereux showed that more than three hundred contemporary nonindustrial societies practiced abortion.
Women have performed abortions on themselves or experienced abortions at the hands of others for thousands of years Potts et al. However, modern technology and social change have made abortion an essential component of modern health care.
However, abortion has become a political issue in American life and a flash point for disagreements about the role of women and individual autonomy in life decisions. Definition of Abortion The classic definition of abortion is "expulsion of the fetus before it is viable.
Before modern methods of abortion, this sometimes meant the introduction of foreign objects such as catheters into the uterus to disrupt the placenta and embryo or fetus so that a miscarriage would result. Although these methods can be effective, they may also result in death of the woman if her uterus is ruptured or if some of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus enters her blood stream.
From the Colonial period to the early twentieth century in America, primitive methods such as these were used along with the introduction of foreign objects into the uterus wooden sticks, knitting needles, catheters, etc.
In modern American society, abortions are performed surgically by physicians or other trained personnel experienced in this technique, making the procedure much safer than when primitive methods were used. The goal of induced abortion still remains the same: Interrupt the pregnancy so that the woman will not continue to term and deliver a baby.
One problem with the classical definition of abortion is the changing definition of viability the ability to live outside the womb.
Premature birth is historically associated with high death and disability rates for babies born alive, but medical advances of the twentieth century have made it possible to save the lives of babies born after only thirty weeks of pregnancy when the usual pregnancy lasts forty weeks.
Some infants born at twenty-six to twenty-seven weeks or even younger have survived through massive intervention and support. At the same time, abortions are now sometimes performed at up to twenty-five to twenty-six weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, the old definition of viability is not helpful in determining whether an abortion has been or should be performed Grobstein Reasons for Abortions There are probably as many reasons for abortions as there are women who have them.
Some pregnancies result from rape or incest, and women who are victims of these assaults often seek an abortion. Most women, however, decide to have an abortion because the pregnancy represents a problem in their lives. Some women feel emotionally unprepared to enter parenthood and raise a child; they are too young or do not have a reliable partner with whom to raise a child.
Many young women in high school or college find themselves pregnant and must choose between continuing the education they need to survive economically or dropping out to have a baby.
Young couples who are just starting their lives and want children might prefer to develop financial security first to provide better care for their future children.
Sometimes people enter into a casual sexual relationship that leads to pregnancy with no prospect of marriage, but even if the sexual relationship is more than casual, abortion is sometimes sought because a woman decides that the social status of the male is inappropriate.
Some of the most difficult and painful choices are faced by women who are happily pregnant for the first time late in the reproductive years thirty-five to forty-five but discover in late pregnancy twenty-six or more weeks that the fetus is so defective it may not live or have a normal life.
Even worse is a diagnosis of abnormalities that may or may not result in problems after birth. Some women and couples in this situation choose to have a late abortion Hern et al.
In some cases, a woman must have an abortion to survive a pregnancy. An example is the diabetic woman who develops a condition in pregnancy called hyperemesis gravidarum uncontrollable vomiting associated with pregnancy. She becomes malnourished and dehydrated in spite of intravenous therapy and other treatment, threatening heart failure, among other things.
Only an abortion will cure this life-threatening condition. In other cases, an abortion is sought because the sex of the fetus has been determined through amniocentesis or ultrasound examination and it is not the desired sex.
This is more common in some cultures than in others. In the United States, it is exceedingly rare, and the request for abortion in this situation may be precipitated by the risk of a sex-linked hereditary disease. Incidence of Abortion If it were not for pregnancy, there would be no abortions.
This rather obvious fact must be stated because it is not always noticed.Jan 18, · Reasons given for having abortions in the United States by Wm. Robert Johnston last updated 18 January Summary: This report reviews available statistics regarding reasons given for obtaining abortions in the United States, including surveys by the Alan Guttmacher Institute and data from seven state health/statistics agencies that report relevant statistics (Arizona, Florida, Louisiana.
- The issue of abortion has always been a controversial one for citizens of the United States. Abortion is the practice of terminating a pregnancy after the embryo has been planted in the uterus (Abortion).
Before , individual states were allowed to decide whether abortion would be legal within their borders. So how did abortion become legal? In a landmark decision, the U.S.
Supreme Court decided that the right to an abortion was part of a woman's right to privacy. Roe v. Wade. Federal law has protected a woman's right to choose an abortion since the U.S.
Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade . Sep 29, · Abortion is as controversial abroad as it is in the United States. Many governments struggle to strike a balance between the rights of pregnant women and the rights of unborn fetuses.
As the following summary of abortion laws and practices in 30 countries shows, this often leads to complex policies. For the purpose of surveillance, a legal induced abortion is defined as an intervention performed by a licensed clinician (e.g., a physician, nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) that is intended to terminate an ongoing pregnancy.
Notable perpetrators of anti-abortion violence include Eric Robert Rudolph, Scott Roeder, Shelley Shannon, and Paul Jennings Hill, the first person to be executed in the United States for murdering an abortion provider.