First of all, a miscarriage is also an abortion when the definition is taken at face value. A miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion that happens often from reasons unknown. All other types of abortion are often outlined and defined by the government. Each state within the United States begins with the pretense that abortion is a crime (National Survey of State Laws: Abortion). Legal abortion is allowed based on the mother’s convenience or the health of the fetus; each state has specific guidelines as to time parameters and refer to the viability of the fetus (National Survey of State Laws: Abortion). An illegal abortion is any abortion that takes place outside of the time parameters and questions the viability of the fetus (National Survey of State Laws: Abortion). A partial birth abortion takes place when the fetus is partially removed from the mother, for the purpose of performing a procedure that will end the life of the fetus, before completing the delivery of the fetus (National Survey of State Laws: Abortion).
The idea of abortion is a very controversial issue and has been for many years. Those who take a stance of pro-life are against abortion and feel that it should be illegal at all times. Those who take a pro-choice stance feel that a woman has the right to choose at all times because it is her body. There are still others who feel that there should be regulations regarding abortion, such as a specific time parameter or a limitation on the reason for opting for an abortion. Many times the reason would have to involve health, incest, or rape.
There are many reasons that this topic interests so many people; the main reason being recent headlines. The most reason case involving abortion is the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell is an abortion doctor in Philadelphia (Ghafour). He was accused and convicted of murdering babies born alive to poor, minority women in the later stages of their pregnancies (Ghafour). This was an illegal abortion because they were partial birth abortion that took place outside of the time parameters required by the state to be considered a legal abortion. Often the babies had their spine severed from their neck with a pair of scissors to ensure death (Ghafour). Gosnell was convicted on three counts of this act.
Another major headline is the Plan B pill, some call this the abortion pill, now being available over the counter to persons as young as 15 years old (Press). Though this is being appealed by the U. S. Government, many feel that the pill should not even be legal, let alone available to teenagers (Press). This is related to abortion in that viability starts at the moment of conception, rather than at the quickening, or movement of the fetus, which would make this type of pill a form of abortion in the eyes of some.
The issue of abortion has been significant since the ruling of Roe vs. Wade in 1973 (Abortion History). Prior to this court ruling allowing abortion to become illegal, there were approximately one million illegal abortions each year that could often end in death or hospitalization for the women involved (Abortion History). Since this ruling the questions of the extent to which a women has the right to obtain an abortion and the extent to which a person has the right to protest have been very fundamental to any legislation that is involved with abortion (Abortion History). The debate over the answers and interpretations of these two questions becomes more and more heated with the passage of time.
There have been court cases that have dealt with the abortion debate since 1973. Important cases include Bellotti vs. Baird, 1981, which allowed for minors to petition the court for an abortion without their parents’ permission (Timeline of Abortion Laws and Events). In 1992, the court reaffirmed Roe vs. Wade in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (Timeline of Abortion Laws and Events). The most recent bill entered in to congress is H. R. 1797: District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H. R. 1797: District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act). This act is very recent and has stemmed from the Gosnell trial and conviction.
Abortion is a very interesting topic. This issue causes people to do harmful acts, such as the bombing of an abortion clinic in 1997 that injured six people (Timeline of Abortion Laws and Events). Or prior to this instance in 1994, a minister, Paul Hill, murders an abortion doctor and his bodyguard outside of an abortion clinic (Timeline of Abortion Laws and Events). The Minister is sentenced to death.
Another interesting facet of abortion is the time parameter. Abortion is legal at different times throughout a pregnancy dependent on the state. In recent news, Arizona’s law on a 20 week abortion ban was struck down by a federal court saying that it limited a woman’s right before the stage of viability for the fetus (Elias). Each state has a different definition of legal abortion.
The issue of partial birth abortion can also be a heated topic. Partial birth abortions are not illegal in most states if they are done within certain time parameters. This is a very controversial idea. In 1996, congress attempted to pass a bill to outlaw these procedures, but it was vetoed by President Clinton (Timeline of Abortion Laws and Events).
One other interesting fact about abortion is that due to the heated debate between pro-life and pro-choice, the media is less likely to make trials such as Gosnell, front page news. Though this case was very important, it was difficult to find information on the trial in the beginning. It seemed to be hidden to avoid the debate.
Abortion is an issue that arose before the trial of Roe vs. Wade. This issue will remain a heated topic for many years to come. It is an issue that cannot be resolved with a compromise. Feelings are too strong in the matter. Though there are different types and restrictions regarding abortion, pro-life and pro-choice debaters will continue to disagree despite any legislation that is passed or any restrictions that are in place. An interesting topic, however it is difficult to not take an emotional stance on the issue.
“Abortion.” 2013. Merriam-Webster . http://www.merriam-webster.com. 24 May 2013.
“Abortion History.” 2013. The Free Dictionary. http://www.thefreedictionary.com. 24 May 2013.
Elias, Paula. “Court Strikes Down Arizona 20 Week Abortion Ban.” 21 May 2013. ABC News. http://www.abcnews.go.com. 24 May 2013.
Ghafour, Hamida. “Kermit Gosnell Trial: Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Guilty of Murder.” 13 May 2013. thestar.com. http:www.thestar.com. 24 May 2013.
“H. R. 1797: District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” 26 April 2013. govtrack.us. http://www.govtrack.us. 24 May 2013.
“National Survey of State Laws: Abortion.” 2008. Encyclopedia.com. http://www.encyclopedia.com. 24 May 2013.
Press, Associated. “Plan B morning-after pill ruling: U.S Government Files Appeal to Stop Unrestricted Sales.” 13 May 2013. Newsday. http://www.newsday.com. 24 May 2013.
“Timeline of Abortion Laws and Events.” 2013. The Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com. 24 May 2013.