August 7, 2012
When dealing with the issue of abortion there are many different aspects of it. There are many different kinds of procedures for abortions as well as many different reasons for obtaining an abortion. There are just as many possible side-effects of these abortions. Also, different states have different laws that pertain to abortions.
In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that a woman, in consultation with her physician, has a constitutionally protected right to choose abortion in the early stages of pregnancy; that is before viability. Since this law became in effect, women choose to have abortions for many different reasons. In a book titled, Abortion, written by Marie Costa, she states that the reasons behind abortion are, women is concerned about how having a baby will change her life, cant afford a baby now, has problems with relationships, unready for responsibility, doesnt want others to know she had sex or is pregnant, not mature enough or too young, has all the children that she wants, partners want an abortion, fetus has health problems, woman has health problems and woman was victim of rape or incest(148). These reasons are the underlying facts behind the many abortions performed each year. As stated in the book by Nada L. Stotland, Abortion, Facts and Feelings, she says, almost half of American women will have had an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45 (20).
Moreover, broad cross sections of U.S women have abortions. Although Robert Crooks and Karla Baur who wrote, Our Sexuality, say that young, white, unmarried women obtain the most abortions (339), many other women of different races and religions have abortions. Stotland states that, approximately 54% of women who have abortions are less than 25 years old, 82% are not married and 61% of women undergoing abortions are white (20). Abortions are not prejudice against age, race or religion; this makes any women susceptible to this procedure. Crooks and Baur even provide the religion aspect by saying, 18% of all abortions are obtained by born-again and evangelical Christians (339). These reasons and percentages provide insight behind the people having abortions.
There are many different methods of abortions that can be performed. These abortions fall into three categories; surgical, induction of labor and antiprogesterones. Abortions are to be performed by an abortionist in a clinical or medical atmosphere. Following are the description of the many different types of abortions.
The Vacuum Aspiration or suction method is usually done between 7 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. The cervix is dilated and a vacuum with a knife like edge is inserted. The suction rips apart the body, sucks out blood, amniotic fluid and tissue.
The Dilation and Curettage, D&C, is usually done during the 1st 10 weeks of pregnancy. This method is similar to the suction method. Instead, a curette, a loop shaped knife, is put into the uterus to cut up the fetus and placenta. Then everything is scraped out.
Another method performed early in pregnancy, usually before 8 weeks, is the RU-486 pill. This method was made by a French pharmacist Roussel Uelaf. This pill produces abortion because the fetus is deprived of hormonal nutrients and then is delivered dead.
Methotrexate Injection is another abortion that is performed early in pregnancy, during the 1st trimester. Methotrexate is injected into the uterus and begins to attack the cells surrounding the embryo. The embryo is deprived of food and oxygen and eventually dies. Several days later, misoprostol is injected to trigger expulsion of embryo.
Dilation and evacuation, also known as D&E, is performed during the 2nd trimester. This method is similar to the D&C method. Forceps are inserted to pull off all parts of the body. The legs, arms, head and spine are all pulled out of the uterus. The fetus must then be reconstructed to make sure all pieces were removed from the uterus.
An Intact Dilation and Extraction, D&X is performed during the late 2nd or 3rd trimester. Using an ultrasound, the abortionist pulls out the baby in breech position. With the babys legs hanging outside the womans body and the babys head is face down, the doctor plunges a scissor into the nape of the neck. A suction device is inserted to suck out the babys brain. The skull then collapses and the baby is delivered.
Saline Amniocentesis is another method done by injection and is performed during the 2nd or early 3rd trimester. This is also known as salt poisoning and was originally developed in Nazi concentration camps and is now common in America. A needle is injected into the abdomen and 50-250 ml of amniotic fluid is removed, this is replaced by a concentrated salt solution. The effect of the salt solution is to burn off babys skin. In about 3 days the mother goes into labor and delivers a dead baby.
The last method of abortion is performed during the 3rd trimester, when all other methods of abortion have failed. This is the Hysterotomy method. The mothers abdomen is opened up in a caesarian-section type way and the baby, placenta and amniotic sac are removed.
No surgery is 100% effective or 100% safe. Although, abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women in the United States, stated in an online article by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Regardless of the safety of each abortion, there still are some risks involved. The Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that women dont have to be informed about risks before an abortion. Crooks and Baur state, there is less than 1 fatality per 100,000 abortions and research has also indicated that having two or more abortions may lead to a higher incident of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy in subsequent pregnancies(340).
Although rare, many complications can occur due to an abortion. As stated in, Abortion, An Eternal, Social and Moral Issue, By Mei Ling Rein the possible side effects of abortions include:Blood clots in the uterus which require a repeat suction, infection, a tear in cervix, a tear in uterine wall and/or other organs, missed abortion which requires a repeat abortion, incomplete abortion and too much bleeding (84).
These complications can be healed on their own or may require the assistance of a doctor. Some people may require a hospital stay, while others only need rest.
The United States Supreme Court has established the trimester system for evaluating abortions. Costa states that these rules include:The state does not have any compelling interest in regulating abortions during the first trimester, the states only interested in regulating abortions during the second trimester is to protect maternal health and when the fetus is viable the state may choose to limit abortions to women for who continued pregnancy would be life-threatening(103).
Each state thus has their own specific laws pertaining to the details of abortions.
As stated in an online article by the Abortion Law Homepage, each state specifies the discrepancies between abortions. There are forty states that have laws banning most post-viability abortions. New Jersey is not included in that law. At least eighteen states have laws that prohibit partial birth or dilation and extraction procedures. New Jersey does participate in this ban. Three states including, IL, KY, and LA, have laws that state that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, they will prohibit abortions. These four states, CT, ME, MD, WA, have laws granting abortion before viability and only after that period if necessary to save the mothers life. Rhode Island and Tennessee prohibit non-surgical or chemical abortions. There are four states including, AL, LA, MO, and OH that require a doctor to determine viability in certain circumstances. Ten states have a law that requires spousal consent or notice. However, this law is unenforceable. New Jersey isnt part of this law. There are thirty-eight states that require a parental consent or notice for a minor seeking an abortion. Also, there are more states that have the same law but they are not enforced. New Jersey does not participate in this law. Eighteen states have mandatory waiting periods but only eleven of these states actually enforce it. New Jersey doesnt participate in this law either. In forty-three states a physician is the only one allowed to perform an abortion. New Jersey does enforce this law. There are three states including, AL, MS, and SD that prohibit the use of state funds for an abortion except in the womans life is in danger. Twenty-seven states will fund an abortion if there is threat of life, rape or incest. Also, sixteen states will fund an abortion in most or all circumstances. New Jersey will fund almost all abortions.
Rebecca J. Donatelle states in her book, Access to Health, that prior to the legalization of first and second trimester abortions, a woman wishing to terminate a pregnancy had to travel to a country where the procedure was legal, consult an illegal abortionist or perform their own abortions (190). Now abortion is legal for women of all ages, races and religions. There are many different types of procedures available for the many different reasons a woman might choose to have an abortion. Nonetheless, there still are complications that can arise from an abortion because a medical abortion is an unnatural occurrence in human nature. Depending on your state, these laws can work to accompany your situation.
In my opinion, Im sure that the choice to have an abortion can be a scary decision. However, I dont believe its necessary for anyone to kill an unborn baby. Life has to begin at some point and its my belief that it begins at conception.