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 a lot of reasons defending the legalization ofabortion. However, understanding the overall medical information as well as thein-depth perspectives on abortion can help to solve this on-going controversialissue. Unlike the most known common perception that abortion is performed in anunsafe setting and can have some potential long-term complications, abortioncontrary to popular belief is actually performed by professionals and has very fewcomplications if it is performed within the twelve-week time frame ofpregnancy.
Firstly in order for us to go more in depth about this topicwe must first know what an abortion is. Accordingto what I found an Abortion a method that terminates a pregnancy by using a medicineor a surgery to remove the fetus from the uterus. For quite some time, abortionis something that has been part of human culture. One of the most commonreasons for having an abortion is because women who have had children are fairlyyoung. It is also done because of rape, relationship, academic, working,financial issues.
In the United States,the issue of abortion is an extremely controversial subject that matters notonly to the medical field but also to the political and social fields. Pro-life(illegal abortion) advocates have stated that; life begins at a conception, sothe fetus is entitled to have full human rights to live; abortion should beconsidered a crime of murder; women should use contraceptives in the means ofpreventing pregnancies; abortion increases the likelihood of having some futureside-effects. On the other hand, pro-choice (legal abortion) advocates haveargued that; it is entirely the women’s rights to control their own bodieswithout having any kind of interference; abortion does not kill a baby, but itjust ends a pregnancy; the modern-day abortion is safe because it is performedby professionals in a safe setting; women who choose abortion do not haveability to raise the child.
The two sides over this issue have been strained fora long time. However, again, viewing abortion in terms of the medicalperspectives it is significantly vital to understanding the issue.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. Then, curettage is performed to make surethat all fetal tissue is removed. Other procedures performed in the firsttrimester are Methotrexate & Misoprostol (MTX) and Manual Vacuum Aspiration(MVA). MTX is used up to about the first 7 weeks of the pregnancy but notusually used in the united states and an MVA is a procedure that is used during3-12 weeks since its the last period and is also considered to be lessdangerous/risky. Early on in pregnancy, most women can have abortions done atclinics 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, San Franciscofound that the majority of women who had an abortion felt that they indeed madethe right decision.
90% of them felt relief a week after the abortion, and 80%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 havestated that women who have abortions have an increased risk for developing breastcancer. They argue that abortion causes a termination of cell differentiation(that results from changing concentrations of hormones) perhaps result in afollowing increase in the risk of cancer growth in the tissues. However, arelationship between abortion and breast cancer has not bee proven.
TheNational Cancer Institute (NCI) concludes that “Induced abortion is notassociated with an increase in breast cancer risk”. Moreover, a study that wasdone in Sweden shows that 49,000 women who received abortions before the age of30 showed no sign of risk of breast cancer and surprisingly stated that therecould be a little reduced risk. Besides, the New England Journal of Medicinestudied 1.5 million women in 1997 to avoid the pitfalls and stated that “awoman need not worry about the risk of breast cancer” when it comes to abortion(Anti-Choice Claims About Abortion and Breast Cancer). These studies byprominent institutes show that a relationship between breast cancer andabortion is just a hypothesis which has not been medically 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, illegalization of abortion willincrease unsafe abortions. However, the safe procedure and few complications ofabortion make the abortion to be legalized.
Abortion is a serious and lifealtering decision that is not decided easily by mothers. It may be an ongoingdebate issue for a long period of time and since a demand will always exist,the long going issue will keep raging on. Understanding the medicalperspectives of an abortion takes it one step further toward the resolve.Abortion, at least medically speaking, should be legal.