How abortion has increased in the U.S since 1980s

How abortion has increased in the U.S since 1980s

Abortion can be viewed as a social issue that affects both the economic and political aspects in our society. In defining abortion, it can said to be the act of pregnancy termination. It can an also be defined as the act expelling an embryo or a fetus from the uterus before birth, or before it is able to survive outside the womb (Francome 23). This definition is so because; an embryo or fetus may have attained a certain level of maturity or growth, which in return can allow it to survive outside a uterus. This is as long as the right life support practices are observed (Palmer 32). However, there are other pregnancies that come out of the uterus without any inducement or personal interferences. When this happens, it is referred to as a miscarriage, since they occur spontaneously without necessarily being induced (McBride 08). However, in cases where a miscarriage is induced, it is also referred to as an abortion since if the pregnancy was not interfered with, it would never come out. Therefore, the term abortion generally means the terminating act of a pregnancy from a human being.

The United States of America is one of the countries in the world whose high rate of abortion has caused alarm. There has been a lot of contention emanating from the federal government, the media, different legal groups and the public on the grounds to which an abortion can be performed and which it cannot (Palmer 12). The governments (both state and federal) have held numerous debates resulting in a political showdown on the matter, as each state feels this matter should be dealt with as a states matter and not as a federal one. The United States of America know known to have had strong anti-abortion laws from as early as 1900, in different statutory books (Reagan 19). In fact, abortion was illegal in 30 states in this country, and only 20 states provided exceptions for some particular cases in their statutory laws.

This was until the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which set new guidelines on how to handle abortion cases, invalidating all the previous laws governing this matter. The Roe v. Wade matter was brought forth by Roe, who established that there was need to consider abortion rights regulation as unimportant to states interests (Hull & Hoffer 12). He also established a “trimester “system threshold on how these abortions were affecting the states interests. He established a system of correspondence states interest with a fetus life to its possibility of survival once outside the uterus, over what was the primal course of the pregnancy itself. This was in perception that states were not justified in banning abortions especially in early fetus development stages, while at the same time advocated for outright bans or increased restrictions at later stages of the pregnancies (Hull & Hoffer 20). In the first trimmest, which between 0 to 22 or 24 weeks, Roe argued that a mother should have a right to terminate a pregnancy of she deemed fit. After the 24th week, the government can control the pregnancy citing the health of the mother. In the final trimester, the government could then ban abortion on the basis of an already developed baby.

This case proved the conflict of interest between the legitimacy of the government interest in expense of a woman’s personal rights. In simpler terms, Roe argued that the governments had the legitimacy right to protect a fetus only after it had been established to be a human person (Hull & Hoffer 211). Prior to that, Roe argued that an embryo or fetus could not be accorded the same human rights as a fully developed person. There are scientist and other activist groups including the Roman Catholic Church who came out strongly against this assumption. In fact, contention seems to be drawn from all corners in relation to the recognition stage of a fetus as a person. Some scientists argue that a personhood starts from the period between 22 and 24 weeks of a pregnancy. Other scientists prefer seeing personhood as a stage that kicks in at conception, since conception itself signifies life in an embryo (Reagan, 37).

Roe argued that after a period of 22 to 24 weeks it is the only time that a fetus can be still have a chance of survival, under proper attentive medical care to grow into a person. In other words, Roe was arguing that women rights of making decisions about their own body were not debatable, and that the state ought to have no say in the matter (McBride 48). He also argued that a fetus cannot be accorded the same rights as other human persons prior to visibility. The success of this argument accorded a woman the right to terminate her pregnancy under the Ninth and Fourteenth amendment citing it as a personal and a private right (Hull & Hoffer 201). Under other amendments in the United States constitution, there are other reasons under which a woman can decide to terminate her pregnancy. The Thirteenth amendment also offers the basis of any US citizen to make their own choices. It states “neither slavery nor servitude shall exist in the United states”. Thereof, states banning abortion in the expense of what a pregnant woman wants can be viewed as either slavery or imposed servitude (Hull & Hoffer 41). The Fourth amendment also states that ; “every American citizen have a right to be secure in their persons”. This means that as long as what a pregnant woman wants is personal constitutional, she should get it in order to be at peace with herself.

This was the first time that abortion illegality was successfully challenged in court. This saw massive abortions carried out in health facilities all over the United States of America. However, this does not mean that mankind has gotten away with these abortions. Research shows that there are more than five million hospital admissions in the world as a result of pregnancy every year. As if that was not enough, the world loses approximately 80, 000 women per year to unsafe abortions (Berlatsky 71). Other than these hospital admissions and maternal deaths, there is also a new study which show that more than 44million pregnancies termination procedures are carried out every year. However, this number is expected to drop, and in deeded it is dropping due to introduction of contraceptives, and family planning methods in the 21st century. As result of this number being this high, the world embarked on legalizing some abortion procedures depending on the health conditions of the mother and also on the circumstances under which the woman became pregnant (Waters, Roberts & Morgen 32). However, we must understand that most of the women who seek abortions are as result of unintended pregnancies, and not as victims of sexual abuse or medical problems. As a result, research now rates the percentage of the women with access to legal abortion procedures at 40 percent globally.

However, the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case saw some modifications being accorded to the above Supreme Court decision. The decision that followed saw the upholding of the central holding in the previous Roe case, but the trimester system was replaced with a “when it may occur” basis, or simply when viability of the fetus was in question (Reagan 12). This saw the basis of defining a woman’s autonomy override right to the state. In this case, Casey had kept the legal standards to which restriction rights could be imposed to the woman by the state. This was by offering means as to which the state would prove its justification on imposing abortion restrictions on a woman’s rights (Palmer 52). The main effect of this case was a different interpretation of abortion, other than as a woman’s private right. In other words, the interpretation of the American constitution in regard to this matter is significantly wide. As a result, the public and the media have also had their say in this contentious matter.

The American public has different opinion in regard to this matter. Most of the public still view abortion as privacy right although this point was dismissed after the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case of 1992. These people still feels that a woman reserves the right to have an abortion from a certified and licensed physician. They argue that many people have different reasons as to why they have abortions carried out in the states. Most of them cite economic challenges, especially with the deteriorating economy of this country (McBride 68). As a result, they feel that an American family should not be forced to live in abject poverty just because of another uncertain member in a family. They say that in as much as the act is godly, what would be more ungodly would be to bring another child in the world to suffer from poverty and malnutrition among other challenges (Waters, Roberts & Morgen 56). They feel that is why we have many inmates in our recreational facilities as they involve themselves in life of crime in trying to make ends meet. They argue this is because their mothers brought them to this world without their parents having properly planned for them.

Some members of the public also feels that if a parent was forced to bring forth a child they did not want in this world, they would end up hating the child, pushing him/her away and subjecting them to a life of suffering. This would mean that such a child may also develop hatred feelings towards their parents either resulting into criminal acts like manslaughter and murder. There would also be hatred in our society if we filled it with families who hated one another with passions. This is because they would be blaming each other for their failures and misfortunes in life. The American public feels that even if a poor mother may want to keep her pregnancy, she may not be able to feed her child once born (McBride 18). They cite things like how programs like the Social Security and welfare have failed to serve their purpose in the United States of America. These are programs that were established the in the early 1930’s with the intention of keeping the Great Depression that happened then, from ever again attacking the united states of America.

However, the American public feels that these programs are no longer working because the cost of living continues to rise (Danziger 30-31). This is because the world now faces more than the Great Depression that hit us in the 1930s. There are other more deadly factors which make everyone think twice before adding another member to a family like; inflated food prices, recession, skyrocketing fuel prices, housing market crash, and increased unemployment. These are some of the factors that lead to the revision of the food stamps funding. The Food Research and Action Centre (FRAC) summarized the effects of cutting these funding and they are not comforting at all. According to FRAC, an individual person who relies on this program now loses $11 monthly since these food stamps were revised (FRAC 01). Families of two, three and even four members have not been left behind either. This is because they lose $20. $29 and $36 respectively on a monthly basis ever since the revision took place (FRAC 01). This means that the every American citizen has toil harder, and dig deeper into their pockets for a basic commodity like food. With all these reasons, I see why the public feels that it is the right of a woman to make a call on whether to add another member to her family or not.

On 9th October, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would now see more medical practitioners’ performing abortions which are still at their first trimester stage. This means that physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives can now perform first trimester abortions under this new law as long as they are qualified. On average, California has hospitals in every 50miles radius meaning that many abortion cases will now become rampant in the state (Shaw 53). This law attracted criticism from republicans who cited on the safety of women and also on their standard care. This decision also attracted a lot of contention from anti abortion activists who expressed concern that while other middle and southern states are trying to pass laws that restrict the act.

Works Cited

Berlatsky, Noah. Abortion. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Print.

Danziger, S.K. “The Decline of Cash Welfare and Implications for Social Policy and Poverty.” Annual Review of Sociology. 36 (2010): 523-546. Print.

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).  Retrieved November 12, 2013, from What you need to know about Hunger in America: (2010)

Francome, C. (2004). Abortion in the USA and the UK. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate.

Hull, N E. H, and Peter C. Hoffer. Roe V. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 2001. Print.

McBride, Dorothy E. Abortion in the United States: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2007. Internet resource.

Palmer, Louis J. Encyclopedia of Abortion in the United States. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland, 2002. Print.

Reagan, Leslie J. When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. Print.

Shaw, D. Abortion and the media. Los Angeles Times, October 18 (2013). Internet Resource

Waters, J., Roberts, A. R., & Morgen, K. (September 06, 1997). High Risk Pregnancies: Teenagers, Poverty, and Drug Abuse. Journal of Drug Issues, 27, 3, 541-562.