Abortion May, 1990, Bill C-43 was passed into legislation, this was the bill stating that abortion should be treated like any other medical procedure. Regrettably, by 1991 this bill was passed into law. What had been considered an illegal act, could now be purchased for a small fee. The murder of unborn children would now be accepted by the Canadian government. Abortion goes against religious doctrine, it causes severe psychological effects in women who follow through with the procedure, and should be considered murder.

The theologians of the catholic religion have shown that aborting fetus’ goes against the will of God. According to the bible an unborn child is considered holy and sacred. Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee; and before I camest fourth out of the womb, I sanctified thee (Jer. 1:5). In Gods eyes a fetus living inside a woman is a human being.

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Ending the life of another human being goes against religious beliefs. The bible states that judgment will be bestowed upon those who do not protect the lives of others. Those who claim ignorance will still be held accountable for their actions. Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die. Don’t try to disclaim responsibly by saying you didn’t know about it. For God, who knows all hearts, knows yours, and He knows you knew! And He will reward everyone according to his deeds (Proverbs 24:11-12). God creates babies in the womb fully alive and filled with emotions.

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy (Luke. 1: 43-44). The church stands by its beliefs against abortion. The most recent development of church position on abortion has been to condemn abortion on the grounds that what begins as human life [and not necessarily a full human being] is morally entitled to the ‘right to life’ (Terkel 99). Once an abortion has taken place a life has ended, this could be why so many women suffer from the after effects of an abortion.

Women can suffer from what has been diagnosed from what is called Post Abortion Syndrome (also know as PAS). Post Abortion Syndrome may cause women to have symptoms such as feelings of guilt, depression and anger: I went through, and still go through, severe mental problems – visualizing the procedure in my mind, hating my self, grieving and wanting to escape from the whole situation. The abortion precipitated years of drug and alcohol abuse, and eating disorder and eventually a serious clinical depression. That supposedly safe procedure has had fourteen years of serious repercussions. (Terkel, 55).

This type of depression can surface immediately after terminating the pregnancy or even years later. Women can still struggle with these symptoms throughout their lives. One woman accounts an abortion as the worst decision of her life: I thought that by having an abortion my problems would be solved as, at least, I would be able to get a job not showing that I was pregnant. Little did I know how wrong I was. I grieved and am still grieving ever since. I have suffered major depression and have contemplated suicide various times.

I wish I never had a abortion. I have constant nightmares about a baby crying. This was worst choice of my life and a very bad decision indeed (Ursala’s story). In fact, women who do proceed with an abortion had nearly a five hundred percent greater suicide risk in the twelve months after, compared to women who carried to term. (stats – birth and abortion).

Although abortion has been legalized, the burden of guilt will still remain with women who have terminated their pregnancies because they know the existence of a life has been extinguished at their will. The Canadian Criminal Code prohibits any person from killing another human being, when such an act occurs a punishment will be dispensed to that individual. It has been scientifically proven that even an embryo at just fourteen days individually exist from fertilization. The embryo is specifically human, and begins to organize itself at once, to interpret and execute the instructions in the DNA code it carries. It is complete, unique, human and alive.

(Early Human Development). At five weeks old, a slowly developing eye can be seen behind the brain. an appropriate sequence because a refined eye is useless with out a refined brain to read and interpret messages it sends (Development of the Pre born Child in the Womb). Even though the child is unborn it still shows signs of intelligent life. By twenty-eight weeks the eye is so sensitive to light that if a physician peers into the uterus with a fetoscope, the child will try to shield its eyes with its hands (Development of the Pre born Child).

How can this not be considered a human being? Unborn children are human beings and under the law should be protected. Advocates of the fetus’s moral right to use its mother’s body argue that the fetus is innocent and therefore entitled to be born. It never asked to be born but was conceived by two other people whose rights are not as compelling as the fetus’s right to life (Terkel 128). Society is obligated to defend an unborn child’s right to life. Like others who are incapable of making rational decisions – the comatose, the senile, the severely mental disabled – a fetus is vulnerable and dependent on others to make its moral decision (Terkel 131).

Terminating a pregnancy should be illegal and classified as a murderous act. Society does not tolerate a 14 month child, a 10 year old, a 45 year old or a 98 year old to be murdered or any living human being. Doesn’t a six month old fetus have the right to be classified as a human being? Religious doctrines support the right of life to an unborn child. Scientifically, the embryo is proven to be a separate entity and individual from the mother. Mothers who terminate their pregnancies can suffer from long term effects of Post Abortion Syndrome. The supporting evidence proves that abortion should be classified as a form a murder and be deemed illegal. Bibliography Works Cited Abortion. The 1998 Canadian & World Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. 1997. Development of Pre Born Children. http://www.lifecall.org/develo.asp.

(10 Jan 2001). Early Human Development. http://www.abortionbashing/earlyhum.com. (12 Jan 2001). Jer 1:5 . http://www.lifecall.org/ourfavo.asp. (10 Jan 2001). Luke 1: 43-44. http://www.lifecall.org/ourfavo.asp.

(10 Jan 2001). Stats – Birth and Abortion. http://www.lifecall.org/stats.asp. (10 Jan 2001). Ursala’s story. http://www.lifecall.org/twowomen.asp. (10 Jan 2001). Terkel, Susan Neiburg.

Abortion Facing The Issues. New York: Franklin Watts, 1988. History Essays.


Abortion is one of the most controversial and talked about topics of our time. It is discussed in classrooms, work places and even on the Internet. Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in or closely followed by the death of an embryo or fetus. This definition includes accidental abortion such as, miscarriage and stillbirths. But this is not what is being debated. People want to know if abortion is ethical, if the fetus can feel pain, and when it is more human than non-human. These questions are very difficult to answer and may never be answered in our lifetime. But one thing we as humans do know is that we have opinions, ranging from completely anti abortion (pro-life) to completely for abortion (pro-choice), and anywhere in the wide spectrum in between. Abortion is a movement that was erected almost 40 years ago. This movement has been very controversial over the years; the main reason being that it is something that there is virtually no in between. You either are, or you are not. Both movements, (pro-life and pro-choice) have been one of the most controversial movements in a political presents. The opposition feels that pro-choice does not mean Pro-abortion, it is the right in choosing whether to reproduce, adopt, or abort. It is every human being’s right to make there own decisions, and so it is a woman’s right to make the choices that affect her life as she see’s morally right. It is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body and it should not be altered or influenced by anyone else. As you can see, there are two sides of this movement that are constantly looking for contradictions in what other believes.

There are many different viewpoints on abortion in the United States of America. Where most Americans do not feel that abortion is necessarily ‘good,’ they do believe it is a ‘right.’ Others have similar opinions. They embrace contradictory opinions and consider abortion a form of murder and yet still feel it should be legal for the truly desperate. However, most Americans think abortions are morally troubling. A recent study by George Hunt shows that neither age nor gender appears to have any effect on people’s current views on abortions. – (Wolf p54)
Now that we know so much about what each movement stands for, it would be rather imperative that we know what a movement is. A movement is constituted by human beings engaged in discourses and practices designed to challenge and change society as they define it – Contemporary Movements and Ideologies p.12. To simplify this definition, it is a change in the status quo of society. To simplify even more, it is changing from the norm. The normal way of life 70 years ago had always been the freedom to make your own decision. In most cases that’s perfectly OK, however the pro-lifers feel differently, and that is no one should have the freedom to take another life. So essentially what they are trying to change is the taking of life from another innocent human being. They’re trying established laws in attempts to protect and support the discourses and ideologies of their movements. One question that will often arise is this, why are people engaged in a social movement rather than coping with these problems on the individual basis or through institutionalized channel? The answer to this question is fairly simple. Pro-live supporters are involved in this for the simple reason that they feel passionately enough about it that they want to make a difference in society.
Discourses and Ideologies
Discourses and ideologies are what make a movement a movement. Essentially what a discourse is, is what the actual movement is trying to say. What the pro-lifers say about this movement is that abortions should not be legal. They say that every innocent human being has a right to life. Pro-life advocates are involved in many practices that enhance what they say. Some simple statistics that are in support of the pro-lifers discourse are these. 1.5 million babies are aborted each year, whereas there are 1.6 million that wish to adopt. -Medical Economics, p.33. Another staggering statistic, between 1973 -1984 there were 15 million babies aborted. That number alone is unbelievable, that is ten times the number of Americans lost in all of are nation’s wars. Now in all honesty tell me, who is against who. . -Medical Economics, p.88. ” Blessed is the mother who would never think of asking her child to give up its life for hers”.-Thou Shalt Not Play God p.2. Pro-life advocates convey that these are only a few reasons in which to support their movement. These points and one’s similar to them helps to dictate what is really important, hence, their discourse.

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Practices are fairly self-explanatory, “they include talking, writing, engaging in physical violence, and many other kinds of interactions. Practices can also involve physical objects-flags, guns, desks, books”.-Contemporary Movements and Ideologies, p.12. In short, practices mean doing something. Some of the obvious practices in the pro-life movement are as follows: one of the biggest practices that pro-life supporters engage in, is picketing. This is the most prevalent practice; this is where pro-life supporters will actually stand in front of an abortion clinic. This is where much of the collective behavior has arisen. Along with a lot of these practices comes hypocrisy. In 1994 pro-live supporters were picketing outside an abortion clinic when things started getting out of hand, riots broke out, people be an fighting, and as an end result the abortion clinic was burned down leaving thirteen people dead that worked inside. Think of the irony of a whole bunch of protesters trying to say lives of innocent people and killing thirteen themselves. This is not the only practice that the pro-lifers participate in. Being that abortion is predominant in the political world, they utilize with called the political opportunity structure. What this does essentially, it says that someone in power such as a president is much more motivating and has much more of an impact on society. This is someone in support of your movement. Someone opposed to it is known as an agent of social control. With the presidential candidates, whether their pro-life or pro choice actually dictates who will vote for them. This is why political power is very sought out by movements similar to the pro-lifers movement. Other pro-life practices include TV commercials. These are very successful again because all of society gets to see them and base a decision upon that. There’s definitely power in numbers, and what that means is as many supporters as you can have in your movement the better off in movement will actually be. This movements practices are utilized to try to capture the ideology, a system that is of the most important. In order for any movement to gain recognition and support it must have practices and discourses.

Revolutionary Movement
There are two types of movements, a revolutionary movement, and reformative movement. For the single reason that abortion is very cut and dry, I would definitely say that pro-life is a revolutionary movement. What a revolutionary movement is, is a movement seeking total change, going from one extreme to another, and leaving the previous status quo behind. I will say this again, you either are, or are not. There are only two directions this movement can go pro-choice of pro-life. As it sits right now in society pro-choice is the favorite of the two movements in society today. This is the case because there are no laws prohibiting it. An effective change for pro-life advocates would be to have laws saying that it is illegal to abort an unborn baby. This would be the very definition of revolutionary movement, (seeking total change). The other type of movement is not so drastic as the revolutionary movement. It is what’s called a reformative movement. A reformative movement is not asking for a complete 180 degree turn around, it is asking for change within a movement that already exists to satisfy that particular organization or movement. For obvious reasons you can see how abortion would not fit into this category. Essentially what a reformative movement is saying is that it seeks only partial change rather than total change.

Mobilization is especially important in the bigger organizations such as the pro-life movement. The pro-lifers try to mobilize and involve as participants a large proportion of its support base in one or more of their organizations.-Contemporary Movements and Ideologies,p.24. It is important to this movement do the fact that it is taking part in electoral politics. Trying to enact new laws to get your movement through congress absolutely requires mobilization. Again recognition of the pro-lifers is the ultimate goal, and mobilization helps acquire that recognition that’s so necessary. Some easy ways that the pro-life advocates accomplish this is the mere fact that they are so widely known and so widely recognized. Along side that every TV commercial, every picket, every march, every parade, is a form of mobilization and practice.

Contrary to popular belief, a movement is not something that someone could wake up and devise in one day. What a movement is essentially is an organization, and a very complex one at that. There are many contributing factors to movement’s success, far more than listed above. In my opinion when I have listed above is the skeletal structure of a movement success. Why do movements exist? Furthermore, why would people contribute to them? Why did they decide they wanted to deal with this problem in they movement rather than deal with them independently? These are all very complex questions with very complex answers. In short, because there is a demand for it. If and when a group of people decides that they are not happy with the regular status quo, they decide to take that initiative to get that changed. My personal opinion is that movements are extremely necessary in today’s society. People in this world are living a specific way, and when that way is not suitable for them, they need to make that decision to create a movement to ultimately achieve their discourse. Through researching movements, furthermore, the pro-life movement, I have to revert to an original statement I already made and that is, movements in today’s society are essential.

Books Used
Clark, Thomas. “Thou Shalt Not Play God” The Humanist July-August 1995: p3
Hunt, George W.. “Of Many Things” America 31 January 1998: p2
Lavelle, Marianne. “When Abortion Comes Late In Pregnancy, Though Rare, Most
Lefevere, Patricia. “Ex-abortion Providers; Conversation Tales” National Catholic
Reporter 16 March 22 2000: p6
Merril, Ted. “Abortion; Extreme Views Ignore Reality” Medical Economics 15 July 1996:
McMillan, Jeff. “Focusing On a Woman’s Right To Self Defense” The Chronicle of Higher
Education. 6 December 1998: pA12
“No Easy Quick Fix Solutions To Abortion Issues” National Catholic Reporter 8
November 1996: p20
Thomas, Judy. “Pro-life Turns Deadly” Newsweek May 13 2000: p64
Wallace, Bruce. “When One Fetus Lives and One Dies” Maclean’s


Abortion In our society, there are many ethical dilemmas that we are faced with that are virtually impossible to solve. One of the most difficult and controversial issues that we are faced with is abortion. There are many strong arguments both for and against the right to have an abortion which are so complicated that it becomes impossible to resolve. The complexity of this issue lies in the different aspects of the argument. The essence of a person, rights, and who is entitled to these rights, are a few of the many aspects which are very difficult to define.

There are also issues of what circumstances would justify abortion. Because the issue of abortion is virtually impossible to solve, all one can hope to do is understand the different aspects of the argument so that if he or she is faced with that issue in their own lives, they would be able to make educated and thoughtful decisions in dealing with it. The definition of a person is an aspect of the abortion issue which raises some very difficult questions. Is an unborn baby a person? When does the unborn baby become a person? This is a difficult question because in order for one to answer it, he must define the essence of a person. When describing the essence of something, one needs to describe the necessary and sufficient conditions of that thing.

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So how does one define the essence of a person? Kant describes a person as a rational being. Some people define the essence of a person from more of a biological standpoint. Nevertheless, defining the essence of a person is a very difficult thing for a group of people to agree on. Ones own definition of a person would most likely greatly impact his opinion on whether abortion is morally justified or not. This becomes even more complicated when one takes into account potentiality.

This raises the question of whether the fetus is an actual person or a potential person. Many would argue that a fetus is a potential person because it is has the potential to become what it is not yet. However, does a potential person have potential rights? An example was used: does a potential doctor have the rights of a licensed doctor? When one is describing potentiality, All he is really describing is what that thing is not. By declaring that a fetus is a potential person, one is also stating that a fetus is not a person. As one can see, this issue of the essence of a person and whether a fetus is a person is a very complicated one.

This becomes seven more complicated if one takes into account the issue of rights. Now, the concept of human rights, that is to say, what American society dictates as human rights, conflicts heavily with itself. On one hand, we form a deep and heavy opinion on ones right to life. On the other, we hold an equally strong opinion on ones freedom to live that life as they please. American society by and large has a firm belief in an individuals right to live.

Therefore, if one comes to the conclusion that a fetus actually is a person, then that fetus should receive the protection to its right to live, as much as you or I. This society also holds the firm belief in ones right to the sovereignty of his or her own body, equal to that of ones right to live. In this case, it is imperative that we understand what liberties we can and cannot take upon ourselves concerning our lives. Case in point, suicide. Society dictates what we are allowed to do, and how we are allowed to live, by law.

Most of American laws are written to preserve ones rights to individuality, and ones right to take the liberty to live their lives as they see fit. However, laws are also written to undermine those whos actions compromise the liberties and freedoms of other individuals, thus protecting the concepts and ideals of agency and liberty. Based on our societys laws, essentially, we believe that what you do to yourself is your choice, and is accepted by law, so long as it doesnt stop or impede the lives and freedoms of others. The difficulty in this dilemma lies within the question of whether an abortion falls into a category of protection of a womans rights over the sovereignty of her own body, or whether it falls into a different category of an action which is not permissible because, according to some people, the fetus is a person whose life and freedom is being compromised. The question of rights is further complicated by the different circumstances where the abortion issue could be raised.

Many people would argue that abortion should not be used as birth control or as a means to deal with the consequences of promiscuous sex. However, how does one address the abortion issue in the circumstance of rape or incest? Many say that in these circumstances, abortion is justified. The confusing thing is that the outcome is the same in both circumstances. The fetus is being denied its right to live and grow to its potential as a human being. Where does one draw the line? What about a case where there is medical complications? For example: a woman becomes pregnant and goes to the doctor for an examination.

During the doctor visit, various tests are run and it is discovered that the baby will be born severely deformed and that its quality of life would be extremely substandard. If the woman were to have an abortion, would it be justified? What about a situation where a woman becomes pregnant and she does to the doctor and is told that the baby is deformed and the birth would most likely kill the mother. The argument justifying abortion in this case goes back to the right to physical sovereignty over ones own body. A person has the freedom to do what he or she wants to concerning their own body as long as it does not harm or compromise the freedom of another, except in self defense. Therefore, in the case of the mother who would most likely die in childbirth, an abortion could be justified because she is acting in self defense.

And in the case of rape, many argue that an abortion is also justified because the womans right to not conceive has been violated, therefore she should not be responsible for the consequences which came through no fault of her own. As on can see, the issue of abortion is on e that is extremely complicated. The problem being that many of the ethical dilemmas involved in the abortion issue are so closely intertwined that they are difficult to distinguish from one another. There are some aspects of the issue that would convince most people that abortion is justified, however when those aspects are combined with other intertwining aspects and imperatives, justification oftentimes becomes impossible. In conclusion, the issue of abortion is so complicated and controversial that it is unlikely that a consensus could be reached by American society.

There are too many aspects of the issue which peoples views vary to widely. Some of these issues could be things such as the definition of a person, is the fetus a person, and if so when does it officially become a person. There is also the issue of rights. Do the rights of a person outweigh the rights of a non person. Does the right of a mothers sovereignty over her body outweigh the right of an unborn child to live.

The answers to these questions are very diverse as a result of the diversity of the American society. With the issue of abortion, ones attitude toward it is going to be based on many things such as religious background and personal morals. There is no black and white answer to the abortion issue. Luckily we live in a country where we are able to decide for ourselves whether something is morally right or wrong. Thus, ultimately, the choice is ours. As with the many other ethical issues which we are faced with in our society, it is hard to come to a concrete answer until we are personally faced with that issue. All we can do is make an effort to know all of the aspects which are involved so that we may be able to make a sound decision if we were faced with this problem in our own lives.


Abortion: A Basic Right
The abortion controversy has been debated for years. The presidential election this year has become very involved with this topic. On one side, John F. Kerry, along with third party candidate Ralph Nader, the pro-choice supporters, sees individual choice as central to the debate: If a woman cannot choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, a condition which affects her body and possibly her entire life, then she has lost one of her most basic human rights. However, George Bush feels the complete opposite. He thinks having an abortion is unethical and unjust. I agree with Kerry. The government has no right to interfere with a mother’s decision and trying to deny abortion to any woman is denying that mother’s civil rights.

In order to form an opinion on this matter, it is important that one understands many of the common factors, which are constantly debated. When does human life begin? There is a societal agreement that a newborn is a human person. People disagree about whether a zygote, embryo, or fetus is a person. People have different opinions about the stage at which human life begins. This is the core disagreement that drives the abortion wars. Bush argues, “I believe banning partial-birth abortion would be a positive step toward reducing the number of abortions in America. This is an issue that’s going to require a new attitude. We’ve been battling over abortion for a long period of time. Surely this nation can come together to promote the value of life” (Bush). This opinion is based solely on an individual’s moral point of view. Decisions based on those ethical beliefs should not be made by the government. It should be up to the individuals. During conception life is created; however, even though it might be considered a living thing, is it a person? Whether or not abortion should be legal seeks the answer to the question of whether a fetus is a person and if so, at what point does the fetus become a person.
This is a question that cannot be answered rationally or practically. “The concept of personhood is neither logical nor empirical: It is essentially a religious, or quasi-religious idea, based on one’s fundamental (and therefore unverifiable) assumptions about the nature of the world”(Campos) In my opinion, to make a person a person there must be evidence of a personality. A personality is formed when a baby has entered the world. It acts and reacts to situations put upon it and forms its opinions in that manner. It is only then that we can consider it a unique person with it’s own personality. Someone could argue that an abortion is taking an unborn child’s life, but what life are they talking about? To be alive, one must have experiences, which an unborn child simply does not have. A woman’s rights outweigh those of an unborn child’s. Society is constantly changing and although the Supreme Court shows sympathy and respect for traditional values, it also recognizes the need for change. The Supreme Court agrees with Kerry and other pro-choice supporters.

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One such influential case involving abortion was Roe vs. Wade. It all started out in a small town in Texas where a woman under the alias Jane Roe filed a case in district court for a woman’s right to choose abortion (Doudera 142). At this time, the law in Texas prohibited abortion. Eventually the case moved to the Supreme Court. The attorneys for Roe argued that the law was unfair. They said that the unborn fetus is not a real person. Kerry’s position is that the unborn child is not a person, according to the law. Though human, the unborn child is not protectable human life. That means Kerry adheres to and supports the decision made in Roe v. Wade (Cooney). The Supreme Court pointed out that a woman should have the right to control her own life and body. The Supreme Court also argued that women have fundamental rights to abortion. It was a right of privacy and if a woman felt that the right choice was to abort a baby, they should be allowed to make it.

The case, which was filed in District Court, was filed against Dallas District attorney Wade. Wade, who shares the same opinions as Bush, strongly opposed abortion and believed abortion was murder. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, a person has an undeniable right to freedom. Wad tried to persuade the Supreme Court by stating that the fetus has a right to freedom guaranteed by this amendment. After hearing both sides of this case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jane Roe. It stated that women have a fundamental right to abortion. Due to this case and the ruling of it, all states have legalized abortion. Roe vs. Wade has greatly influenced the world today. Furthermore, the pro-choice forces hoped they had proved the pro-life forces wrong by having had the Supreme Court of the United States decide in Roe vs. Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Other organizations also agree with the decisions made by the Supreme Court and support a woman’s rights to choice. Planned Parenthood, one such organization, helps defend those rights by voicing their opinion:
Reproductive freedomthe fundamental right of every individual to decide freely and responsibly when and whether to have a childis a reaffirmation of the principle of individual liberty cherished by most people worldwide. It helps ensure that children will be wanted and loved, that families will be strong and secure, and that choice rather than chance will guide the future of humanity (Planned Parenthood 1).

Today’s traditional family is different from the past generation’s family and is still continuing to change. In society now, women can chose to have the family that they desire. They can decide for themselves if they want an additional child or any child at all. The woman is expected to care and be responsible for the child for the next eighteen years of its life. If she does not feel she is adequate to care for it, or she knows she can’t provide a good life for it, that is her decision not the laws. Only a mother can be the judge of her own ability. Being such a huge responsibility, who ever the parent may be has to be positive that they want to bring that child into this world. It is tragic how many unwanted children are born and struggle through their adolescence or entire life. It is important for women to have that option open. It is our right and it is up to the voters today to help keep that right.

The candidates in the abortion debate not only have strong beliefs, but they each have a viewpoint that clearly reflects what they believe to be essential issues. John F. Kerry and George W. Bush have very different views. Kerry supports abortions and believes that while a fetus is a potential life, its life cannot be placed on the same level with that of a person. Kerry believes “that in the year 2004 we deserve a president who understands that a stronger America is where women’s rights are just that – rights, not political weapons to be used by politicians of this nation”(Presidential). If we do not fight for our rights now, then when will the government stop? What other rights will they take away? We need to vote for candidates, who understand that the power to choose cannot be taken away. Society needs to voice their opinions in this year’s election if they want their rights to be kept.
Another candidate, Ralph Nader, also agrees with Kerry’s views. Nader comments, “I don’t think government has the proper role in forcing a woman to have a child or forcing a woman not to have a child. And we’ve seen that around the world. This is something that should be privately decided with the family, woman, all the other private factors of it, but we should work toward preventing the necessity of abortion” (Presidential). Women in America have the right to decide what to do with their bodies. No government or group of people should feel that they have the right to dictate to a person what path their lives should take. People who say that they are “pro-life” are in effect no more than “anti-choice”. These pro-lifers want to put the life and future of women into the hands of the government. Abortion, and the choice a woman may make, is a very private thing and should not be open to debate. The question of morality should not even come into play when considering abortion, because in this case the question is not of morality but of choice and constitutionality.
Pro-life opponents of abortion argue that the fetus is human and therefore given the same human rights as the mother. They believe that when a society legalizes abortion, it is sanctioning murder. Bush has said, “Through sonograms and other technology, we can clearly see that unborn children are members of the human family as well. They reflect our image, and they are created in God’s own image”(Bush). Although I think his intentions are good, Bush is attacking this issue from a completely different view. It is a choice that many people do not agree with but it is not their chose to make. Yes, some disagree with abortions but the choice must still be there. Many people are not in favor of abortion or feel it is a positive thing; yet, it is a necessary evil.

I have known children who have become pregnant and felt having an abortion was their only option. I use the word children because they just were not mature enough to handle a child of their own. Having a child is such a huge responsibility. Try to imagine having to keep that unwanted child inside of you for nine months, in some cases, with no intention of keeping it. My friend, Angelica, was a freshman in high school at the time. She is now, a sophomore in college and no longer even speaks to the father of the child she decided not to have. She is doing very well in school and does not regret the decision she was forced to make. She simply was not ready for a child and felt it was wrong to bring that unwanted child into this world. Without that decision and right, women cannot plan out and live their own lives.

Abortion has caused many people to feel very strongly in one way or another. It is important to remember, that people’s view on abortion is one that is based on their beliefs. With this said, I agree with the candidate Kerry as a pro-choice supporter. With Kerry’s leadership abortion will remain legal and it is up to the voters to make sure he is put into that position. It is, and possibly always will be, a very controversial topic, yet, the decision to abort a pregnancy is that of the mothers, and the state has no right to interfere.


Abortion Abortion in today’s society has become very political. You are either pro-choice or pro-life, and there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. As we look at abortion and research its history, should it remain legal in the United States, or should it be outlawed to reduce the ever growing rate of abortion. A choice should continue to exist but the emphasis needs to be placed on education of the parties involved. James C.

Mohr takes a good look at abortion in his book Abortion in America. He takes us back in history to the 1800s so we can understand how the practice and legalization of abortion has changed over the year. In the absence of any legislation whatsoever on the subject of abortion in the U.S. in 1800, the legal status of the practice was governed by the traditional British common law as interpreted by the local courts of new American states. For centuries prior to 1800 the key to the common law’s attitude towards abortion had been a phenomenon associated with normal gestation as quickening.

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Quickening was the first perception of fetal movement by the pregnant woman herself. Quickening generally occurred during the mid-point of gestation, late in the fourth or early in the fifth month, though it would and still does vary a good deal from one woman to another (pg.3). The common law did not formally recognize the existence of a fetus in criminal cases until it had quickened. After quickening, the expulsion and destruction of the fetus without due case was considered a crime, because the fetus itself had manifested some semi-balance of a separate existence: the ability to move (pg3). The even more controversial question: Is the fetus alive? Has been at the forefront of the debate. Medically, the procedure of removing a blockage was the same as those for inducing an early abortion. Not until the obstruction moved would either a physician or a woman regardless of their suspicions be completely certain that it was a “natural” blockage-a pregnancy-rather than a potentially dangerous situation.

Morally, the question of whether or not the fetus was “alive” had been the subject of philosophical and religious debate among honest people for 5,000 years. Single pregnant woman used abortion as a way to avoid shame. The practice of aborting unwanted pregnancies was, if not common, almost certainly not rare in the United States. A knowledge of various drugs, potions and techniques was available from home medical guides, from health books for woman, for mid-wives and irregular practitioners, and trained physicians. Substantial evidence suggest that many American women sought abortions, tried the standard techniques of the day, and no doubt succeeded some proportions of the time in terminating unwanted pregnancies. Moreover, this practice was neither morally nor legally wrong in the vast majority of Americans, provided it was accomplished before quickening.

The important early court cases all involved single woman trying to terminate illegitimate pregnancies. As late as 1834 it was axiomatic to a medical student at the University of Maryland, who wrote his dissertation on spontaneous abortion, that woman who feigned dysmenorrhea in order to obtain abortions from physicians were woman who had been involved in illicit intercourse. Cases reported in the medical journals prior to 1840 concern the same percentages (16,17). Samuel Jennings quoted Dr. Denman, one of the leading obstetrical writers of the day to reassure his readers, “In abortions, dreadful and alarming as they are sometimes it is great comfort to know that they are almost universally void of danger either from hemorrhage, or any other account.” Again, the context was spontaneous by the then induced abortion, but in a book with such explicit suggestions for relieving the common cold, woman could easily conclude that the health risks involved in bringing on an abortion were relatively low, or at least not much worse than childbirth itself in 1808, when Jennings wrote in his book (18). Mohr continues with the first dealings with the legal statues on abortion in the United States.

The earliest laws that dealt specifically with the legal status of abortion in the U.S. were inserted into Americans criminal code books between 1821 and 1841. Ten states and one federal territory during that period enacted legislation that for the first time made certain kinds of abortions explicit statute offenses rather than leaving the common law to deal with them. The legislation 13, 14 and 15 read. Every person who shall, willfully and maliciously, administer to, or cause to be administered to, or taken by, any person or persons, any deadly poisons, or other noxious and destructive substance, within an intention him/her/them, thereby to murder, or thereby to cause or procure the miscarriage of any woman, then being quick with child, and shall be thereof duly convicted, shall suffer imprisonment, in the newgate prison, during his natural life, or for such other terms as the court having cognizance of the offense shall determine (21).

Consequently, it is not surprising that the period was not one of vigorous anti-abortion activity in state legislation. One of the exceptions was Ohio. In 1834 legislators there made attempted abortion a misdemeanor without specifying any stage of gestation, and they made the death of either the woman or the fetus after quickening a felony (39,40), Alabama enacted a major code revision during the 1840/1841 session of its legislature that made the abortion of “any pregnant woman” a statuate crime for the first time in that state, but pregnant meant quickened (40). A code revision in Maine in 1984 made attempted abortion of any woman “pregnant with child” an offense, whether such child be quick or not.” Regardless of what method was used (41). The first wave of abortion legislation in American history emerged from the struggles of both legislatures and physicians to control medical practice rather than from public pressures to deal with abortion per se.

Every one of the laws passed between 1821 and 1841 punished only the “person” who administered the abortifacients or performed the operation; none punished the woman herself in any way. The laws were aimed, in other words, at regulating the activities of apothecaries and physicians, not at dissuading woman from seeking abortions (43). The major increase in abortion in the U.S. start in the early 1840’s three key changes began to take place in the patterns of abortion in the United States. These changes profoundly effected the evolution of abortion policy for the next 40 years.

First, abortion came out into the public view; by the mid-1840’s the fact that Americans practiced abortion was an obvious social reality, constantly visible for the population as a whole. The second overwhelming incident of abortion, according to the commentary observers began to rise in the early 1840’s and remained at high levels through the 1870’s. Abortion was no longer marginal practice whose incident probably approximated that of illegitimacy, but rather a wide spread social phenomenon during that period (46). Third, the types of woman having recourse to abortion seem to change; the dramatic surge of abortion in the U.S. after 1840 was attributed not to the increase in illegitimacy or a decline in marital fidelity, but rather to the increase use of abortion by white, married, Protestants, native born woman of the mid and upper class who either wished to delay their child bearing or already had all the children they wanted (46). The increased public visibility of abortion as stated by Mohr may be attributed largely to a process common enough in American history: commercializations. Several factors were involved in the commercialization of abortion, but the continued compensation for clients among members of the medical profession stood out because that compensation was so intense many marginal practitioners began in the early 1840’s to try and attract patients by advertising in popular press their willingness to treat the private ailments of woman in terms that everybody recognized as significantly their willing to provide abortion services (47).

During the 1840’s Americans also learned for the first time not only that many practitioners would provide abortion services, but that some practitioners had made the abortion business their chief livelihood indeed, abortion became one of the first specialties in American medical history. The popular press began to make abortion more visible to the American people during the 1840’s not only in its advertisements, but also in its coverage of a number of sensational trials alleged to involve botched abortions and professional abortionists (47). One indication that abortion rates probably jumped in the United States during the 1940’s and remained high for some 30 years thereafter was the increased visibility of the practice. By the 1950’s, then, commercialization had brought abortion into the public view in the United States, and the visibility it gained would effect the evolution of abortion policy in American State Legislatures. At the same time, a second key change was taking place: American woman began to practice abortion more frequently after 1840 then they had earlier in the century (50).

During the week of January 4, 1845, Boston Daily Times advertised Madame Restell’s Female Pills; Madame Drunette’s lunar pills which were sold as “a blessing to mothers . . . and although very mild and prompt in their operations, pregnant females should not use them, as they may invariably produce a miscarriage”: A second piece of evidence for high abortion rates for the period of was existent during that time of flourishing business and abortifacients medicine (53). The East River Medical Association of New York obtained an affidavit form the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in 1871 declaring that a single manufacturer had produced so many packages of abortifacient pills “during the last twelve months” that 30,841 federal revenue stamps had been required of him(59).

Beginning in 1840 several Southern physicians drew attention to the fact that slave women used cotton root as a abortifacient, and they considered it both mild and effective. Although regular physicians never prescribed cotton root for any purpose in normal practice, druggists around the country were soon beginning to stock it. By the late 1850’s, according to the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, cotton root had “become a very considerable article of sale” in New England pharmacies. In 1871 ” a druggist in extensive trade ” informed Van de Warker “that the sales of extract of cotton-wood had quadrupled in the last five years” (59). Judging by advertisements in the German-language press in New York after the Civil War.

Abortion was apparently on a commercialized and relatively open basis in the German community by then. Female specialists, quite candidly announced their willingness to provide for German women the services then touted so openly in the English-language press. Many practitioners offered abortifacient preparations for sale and several made less than subtle allusions to their willingness to operate. A Dr. Harrison, for example, invited German women to his office with the promise that” all menstrual obstructions, from whatever cause they might originate, will be removed in a few hours without risk or pain”(91). Mohr advises us who was performing the abortions. Only the affluent, generally speaking.

Could offer temptations that were worth the risk to a regular of being found out by his colleagues. The two groups of regulars most vulnerable to proffered bonuses for abortions were young men struggling to break into the viciously competitive laissez faire medical market of the 1840s and the 1850s and older practitioners losing their skills and their reputations during the 1860s and 1870s, when modern medicine took long strides forward and physicians unfamiliar with the new breakthroughs began to fall behind (95). The founding of the American Medical Association in 1847 may be taken as the beginning of this long-term effort, the goals of which were not fully realized until the twentieth century. Mohr leads us to believe that the physicians were launching a crusade against abortion for there own finical benefit. While the founding of the AMA did not instantly alter the situation, it did provide an organizational framework within which a concerted campaign for a particular policy might be coordinated on a larger scale than ever before.

Ten years after its creation a young Boston physician decided to use that framework to launch an attack upon America’s ambiguous and permissive policies toward abortion (147-148). The young physician was Horatio Robinson Storer, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. Storer, an activist who “kept things stirred up wherever he was, “sensed that his elders were growing restive …


Partial-Birth Abortion Act
During the Clinton administration the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, a bill that would make it illegal in all of the United States for a partial-birth abortion to be performed, caused major debate throughout the House of Representatives and the Senate; recently different versions of the bill had been passed through the both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In prior years Clinton had vetoed similar bills to ban partial-birth abortions.
The House and Senate have passed somewhat different versions of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (S-1692), sponsored by Congressman Charles Canady (R-Fl.) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). This bill would place a national ban on partial-birth abortions.

President Clinton successfully vetoed similar bills in 1996 and 1998. When the Senate approved S.1692 last October, it was by a margin two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

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The congressional bills are similar to a Nebraska law that was struck down by a five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 in the case of Stenberg v. carhart. After carefully examining that ruling, the leading sponsors of the bill decided that it would be more productive to focus on other pro-life bills for the remainder of this congressional session. (National Right to Life News, August 2000)
Partial-Birth Abortion is used after twenty weeks of pregnancy. The doctor pulls the baby out of the mother with forceps feet first and stops when the only thing remaining inside the mother is the babys head. The doctor then takes a pair of scissors and inserts them into the back of the neck of the child, spreads them apart and then proceeds to suction the brain of the child out of its head. The child is now no longer living and can be disposed of. Under current legislation the only factor that separates partial-birth abortion from homicide is the fact that the childs head remains inside the mother while the procedure is performed.
The Partial-Birth Abortion Act is not a bill to make abortion illegal just partial-birth abortions. Those who support this bill in the Senate are pro-life, while those who are trying to vote against the bill are pro-choice. Lobbyist and interest groups are hard at work fighting for what they believe will be the right decision in whether or not to implement the Partial-Birth Abortion Act.
Pro-Choice Activists feel that abortion is a womans choice; a womans body and her decisions involving it are up to her. Womans clinics similar to and including Planned Parenthood feel that woman need the option of the partial-birth abortion. Abortion, as defined by pro-choice activists, is the disposing of a fetus not the killing of a baby.

On the other side of the spectrum are Pro-Life Activists. These people believe it is not right for any type of abortion to take place in the United States. Even though the baby is inside the mother it is still a baby, a little life. Those who are Pro-Life feel that a life no matter how small is still a life and should not be killed. They are trying to take the voice of the baby, seeing as no one else has. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is the first step in doing this. Pro-Lifes followers believe alternate actions can be taken, such as adoption. And lets not forget the initial step in stopping unwanted pregnancies, birth control.
Birth control has been made widely available to all in the within the past decade, due to the nationwide push on safer sex. Currently you can walk into almost any clinic and receive free condoms, or low cost examinations and a decreased expense in filling of a prescription for birth control pills.
Besides the visible views of interest group activists the judiciary committee has seen its own share of partial-birth abortion arguments. Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin had bans on partial-birth abortion overturned. Two separate federal courts, the Seventh Circuit and the Eastern District of Michigan found that the bans were extremely similar to that which was struck down in Nebraska by the United States Supreme Court. The high court, in a 5–4 decision, held that Nebraskas partial-birth statute violated womens constitutional rights by imposing an undue burden on women


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