Abortion Essay

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Sociology: Human Services
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #41559257

Excerpt from Essay :

Part One

According to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, an abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy so that it avoids the birth of a child. Abortion is one of the most intense and hot-blooded topic in society today, provoking a host of opinions, contentions and fierce dogma. It’s definitely thought provoking to determine when and how abortion became so contentious, as for much of American history it really was considered to be a standard aspect of life (Reagan, 1996). In fact, for much of America’s existence the procedure was legal and used frequently. In fact, until the last quarter of the 19th century when the act of abortion was considered to be a crime, abortion was definitively legal before a period of time called the quickening—the fourth month of pregnancy (Reagan, 1996).

It’s important to consider that from a historical perspective, ending a pregnancy was considered common and something at least initially a woman could engage in herself. “Colonial home medical guides gave recipes for ‘bringing on the menses"’ with herbs that could be grown in one's garden or easily found in the woods. By the mid eighteenth century commercial preparations were so widely available that they had inspired their own euphemism (‘taking the trade’)” (Reagan, 1996). However, the major issues with these methods were that they caused many deaths. Hence the first laws in place regarding abortion were passed in the beginning of the 19th century and they actually manifested as poison control laws (Pollitt, 1997). Poisonous substances to create an abortion were banned, but the actual abortions were still legal. In fact during the mid 19th century, the abortion trade continued to thrive, as did the sale of illegal drugs to induce abortions (Pollitt, 1997). One of the more widely known practitioners of abortion was a woman by the name of Madame Restell and she served for decades in the tri-state area, with travelling sellers working her region selling the female monthly pills that could induce abortion (Pollitt, 1997).

The pros and cons of abortion still remain highly charged and highly controversial. One of the biggest pros in favor of abortion revolves around the right of a woman to control her destiny: that includes deciding when she will or will not have a child. An unplanned pregnancy can derail a woman’s career and redirect the course of her life. Another pro in favor of abortion is that it avoids a woman having to deal with psychological, social and financial issues from an unplanned child. Furthermore, abortions today are safe and can be done with minimal risk to the mother. The major arguments against abortion refer to how it violates the sanctity of life. These arguments argue that it is akin to murder and ultimately disrespect how precious human life is. They often address how babies can experience pain in the womb and implies that abortion is traumatic for them.

New York has had a long and storied relationship with abortion, not just during the 19th century but as recently as the 1970s. In 1970, New York distinguished itself from other states by passing the most open abortion law in America, one that gave it a new image as a refuge for women seeking an abortion. “Thirty-five years later, New York has the highest abortion rate in America. In 2000, the last year for which good data are available, 39 out of every 1,000 women in the state ended a pregnancy, for a total of 164,000 abortions that year. In America, one of every ten abortions occurs in New York, and in New…

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