Abortion

Throughout the history of this nation, women have continued to gain benefits that they previously had not received. In the 1920’s, women were given the right to vote, and with this, women found that their voice was to be heard. As the nation progressed, both in its mentality and infrastructure, women were allowed to do much more, breaking many stereotypes, and even challenging and then changing laws. As we continued into a new age, abortion and a woman’s right to have an abortion have progressed from a personal choice to a national argument. Those in favor of a woman’s right to choose say that only a person can determine what is beneficial to their future. Those against abortion say it is morally objectionable and religiously a sin, considering murder. However, you do have those who are not for it, nor against it but think that each case must be considered separately, a group that I consider myself a part of.

The American Heritage Dictionary[1] defines abortion as “Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival.” However, one could also say that a miscarriage could, under this definition, be considered an abortion. The State of Maine has defined abortions, for the process of reporting abortions by the doctors to the state, as “the intentional interruption of a pregnancy by the application of external agents, whether chemical or physical, or the ingestion of chemical agents with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus, regardless of the length of gestation.”[2] This definition is clearer and more concise than any other I have come across. It defines abortion and miscarriage as two separate actions, a process that makes one think twice about supporting or disapproving abortion.

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Accordingly, an abortionist is defined to be “One who procures abortion or miscarriage”[3], a person who is usually a doctor or is licensed to practice medicine. Throughout the history of the United States, women have been having abortions. Over this vast period of time, many techniques have been developed in order to abort the fetus without doing harm to the woman. These techniques can be categorized into three groups, according to when they are employed; First-Trimester Abortions, Second-Trimester Abortions, or Late Second- and Third-Trimester Abortions. First-Trimester Abortions are comprised of two groups, surgical abortions and chemical abortions. Suction-aspiration is the most common surgical method of abortion[4]. The procedure requires an abortionist to dilate the cervix by numbing it and then stretching it open.

The abortionist then proceeds to insert a powerful vacuum into the uterus and sucks the baby’s body into a tube. Because of the force it applies, the firmly attached placenta is torn away and the body is ripped apartFig1. The second First- Trimester surgical method is termed Dilation and Curettage. In this procedure, the cervix is dilated or stretched to permit the insertion of a loop shaped steel knifeFig2. The body of the baby is cut into piecesFig3 and removed and the placenta is scraped off the uterine wall. Blood loss from Dilation and Curettage, or “mechanical” curettage is greater than for suction aspiration, as is the likelihood of uterine perforation and infection.[5] Currently, there are only two chemical abortion choices, one of which is called RU 486Fig 4, also known as the “French Abortion Pill”.

This treatment is actually the use of two pills that contain the chemicals mifepristone and misoprostol[6]. The first chemical is used to prohibit the production of progesterone, which is crucial in maintaining the nutrient rich lining of the uterus. As the lining disintegrates, the baby is starved[7]. The woman is then given misoprostol, the second chemical that initiates uterine contractions. Most women then abort the unborn fetus hours later; however, many cases have been reported in which the woman gave birth days later. This process is carried out over three trips to the medical clinic, lasting a period of about three weeks; the child is terminated within the first week. The latter two weeks are a period of time before the women returns to the abortionist to make sure the child was in fact aborted. The second chemical abortion is called MethotrexateFig4. Unlike RU 486, this method does not consist of a woman taking pills, but of intramuscular injection.

Originally designed to attack fast growing cancerous cells, it is now used to attack the trophoblast, a part of the developing child that brings in oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and removes the carbon dioxide[8]. Second-Trimester Abortions are the next stage in child abortions. As the unborn child is clearly larger, other techniques have to be used to abort the child. One procedure practiced is termed Dilation and EvacuationFig5. Used to abort unborn children as old as 24 weeks, this method is similar to the Dilation and Curettage. The difference is that forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp parts of the developing baby, which are then twisted and torn away. This continues until the child’s entire body is removed from the womb. Because the baby’s skull has often hardened to bone by this time, the skull must sometimes be compressed or crushed to facilitate removal. The method can be traumatic to doctors, as one states, “It is before one’s eyes.

The sensation of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.”[9] Saline Amniocentesis is one more procedure used. This, however, is one that I am personally disgusted by but is often used after 16 weeks of pregnancy. The abortionist first withdraws about 50-250mL of amniotic fluid from the abdomen. It is then replaced with a high concentration of a saline fluid, salt and water. As the unborn child breathes in the fluid, it is poisoned and the child dies soon after. However, while dying, the saline solution causes this skin of the child to burnFig6 and deteriorate, when born about a day later the child has shriveled skin. In many states where abortion is legal, Late Second- and Third- Trimester Abortions cannot be practiced.

This is still a major debate among people. Many think that the unborn child is now alive and has a soul, and aborting the pregnancy at this stage is murder. As the debate goes on, these abortions are still being practiced in some areas. One of the most controversial procedures is Partial-Birth Abortion. In this procedure, an abortionist reaches into the uterus, grabs the unborn baby’s leg with forceps, and pulls the baby into the birth canal, except for the head, which is kept just inside the womb. The abortionist then jams scissors into the back of the baby’s skull and spreads the tips of the scissors apart to enlarge the wound. After removing the scissors, a suction catheter is inserted into the skull and the baby’s brains are sucked out.

The collapsed head is then removed from the uterus.[10] Another procedure is called Hysterotomy. In this last resort, a cesarean section is performed and the umbilical cord of the child is cut or clamped which suffocates the childFig8. Many times the child is born alive, and the abortionist merely places “a towel over the face so it can’t breathe. And by the time they get it to the lab, it is dead.”[11] As with almost all medical procedures, there are many risks. The Second-Trimester Abortions are more dangerous to the health of the mother the First-Stage Abortions. Saline Amniocentesis may cause a condition in the mother called consumption coagulopathy, an uncontrolled blood clotting throughout the body, with severe hemorrhage as well as other serious side effects on the central nervous system.

Seizures, coma, or death may also result from saline inadvertently injected into the woman’s vascular system, which has happened before. However, the most dangerous procedure to the health of the woman is Hysterotomy because the possible rupture during following pregnancies is significant. In the first two years of legal abortion in New York State, the death rate from Hysterotomy was 271.2 deaths per 100,000 cases.[12] When asked when I believe an unborn child becomes human, I fall back on my religion. I am currently unaware of what the Bible, Torah, or other holy books say about conception, the Koran states that a child is given a soul in the fourth month of pregnancy. To me, this seems believable to me because at this stage in the pregnancy, the mother can feel the child begin to move about and “kick”.

Many others argue that the child is a human being when the sperm first joins with the ovum, but this is a medical explanation. At this time I choose to rely on my religion for an answer to this difficult question. As I have stated earlier, I am neither for nor against abortion. In my opinion, each case should be handled individually. What I do have, however, is a preference. I believe that abortion should a last resort for unfit mothers, utilized to protect the woman’s health, either mentally or physically. Those women who were sexually assaulted and have conceived should have the option to abort the child.

Women whose bodies cannot handle the process of carry a child should also be given the option to abort. In my opinion, abortion should not be used as a tool against childbirth. If a woman has repeatedly had an abortion due to lack of contraceptive use, she should not be able to abort. I also believe that a woman should not abort a child while in the late second or third trimester. I do believe that the child a person, and aborting at this stage for a reason other than a medical one is wrong.

Bibliography

http://www.ashcofriendsforlife.com/hysterotomy_jpg.jpg http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/fig17baby5mos.jpg http://cvhope.20m.com/babypba.jpg http://www.nonprofitpages.com/mcfl/abtypes.htm http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/rcah/html/ah_000400_abortion.htm http://www.priestsforlife.org/government/supremecourt/7301roevwade.htm http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/22/title22sec1596.html http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_fact.htm http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm http://biblia.com/abortion/photos.htm http://www.abortionismurder.org/methods.shtml Figure 1 [pic] Figure 2 [pic] Figure 3 [pic] Figure 4 [pic] Figure 5 [pic] Figure 6 [pic] ———————– [1] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. [2] Title 22:2:3: Chpt 263-B: 1596. [3] Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc. [4] Janet E. Gans Epner, PhD; Harry S. Jonas, MD; Daniel L. Seckinger, MD; “Late Term Abortion,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 280, 26 August 1998, 724-729. [5] http://www.nonprofitpages.com/mcfl/abtypes.htm [6] Because of these generic names, the RU 486 technique is sometimes referred to as the “M & M ” method. “Abortion Pills on Trial,” TIME, December 5, 1994 [7] Janice G. Raymond, Renate Klein, Lynette J. Dumble, RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths, and Morals (Cambridge, MA: Institute on Women and Technology, 1991 [8] Keith Moore, Ph.D., Essentials of Human Embryology (Philadelphia: B.C. Decker, Inc., 1988) [9] Warren M. Hern, M.D., and Billie Corrigan, R.N., “What About Us? Staff Reactions to the D & E Procedure,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians, San Diego, California, October 26, 1978. [10] Dr. Martin Haskell, speech to National Abortion Federation, Sept. 1992 [11] Frank A. Chervanak, M.D., et. al., “When is Termination of Pregnancy During the Third Trimester Morally Justifiable?”, The New England Journal of Medicine, 310, No. 8 (23 February 1984) [12] Jane E. Hodgson, M.D.,” Hysterotomy and hysterectomy as abortion techniques,” Abortion and Sterilization: Medical and social aspects, Jane E. Hodgson, ed. (New York: Academic Press, Grune and Strathon, 1981

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