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THE MORALITY OF ABORTION. Abortion or Not?. In the US, there is one abortion for every three live births. Over a million abortions performed every year. One third of the women who have abortion are married; the rest are single. Yet, many women are torn between conflicting moral views:
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Abortion or Not? • In the US, there is one abortion for every three live births. • Over a million abortions performed every year. • One third of the women who have abortion are married; the rest are single.
Yet, many women are torn between conflicting moral views: • They feel that aborting is not right • But having a child interferes with their career • Conflicts with financial decision • Happiness of the family • Child with undesirable characteristics • It endangers woman’s mental or physical health or life • Rape or incest
The stages of development of the fetus: • Development begins at conception when a spermatozoon meets an ovum in the Fallopian tube and forms a single cell, a zygote, which contains 2 sets of 23 chromosomes or genetic code of an individual. • After conception, the zygote travels down through the Fallopian tube and reaches the uterus where it implants itself about two weeks later. • After implantation, it is referred to as “embryo” until the end of the eighth week, after which it is called “fetus.”
About a month after conception, the fetus has a rudimentary heart, head, eyes, ears, and nose. • Two months after conception, the heart starts beating, the head size increases, and brain waves are detected. • At the end of three months, the fetus is about three inches long, has arms and legs, fingers and toes. • This point is the end of the first “trimester.” in 1973 (as we will discuss later) the US Supreme Court ruled that up to this point a woman has the “right of privacy” to have an abortion without state interference.
During the fifth month, “quickening” occurs: the mother feels the fetus moving inside. • Before sonograms, quickening was considered the point when a fetus becomes human. • By the end of the fifth month, the fetus is about 8 inches long, hair grows on its head. • During the 7th month, the fetus becomes capable of surviving on its own outside the womb, i.e., it is “viable.”
The Experience of Abortion • Before 1973, (legalized abortion) women undergoing abortion had horrific experiences. • Physicians were rude, some demanded sex, some lectured or scorned women. • If damaged occurred, women had no legal recourse. • It cost a lot. Poor women could not afford it.
Despite the danger and horrific experience, in the 50’s and 60’s, hundred of thousand of American women had illegal abortions. • Many died as a result! • Because they were embarrassed for what they did, they would go to emergency room at the last minute—when it was too late.
In 1962 in Phoenix, AZ, Sherri Finkbine became pregnant. During the second month, she took anti-nausea medicine not knowing it produced a deformed fetus. • She requested abortion, but the DA threatened her to prosecute her. • She flew to Sweden and had an abortion, where abortions had been legal since 1940! • This made many demand legalized abortion in the US. • 18 states started liberalizing laws about abortion.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical that declared use of birth control to be a sin! • The encyclical shook many Catholics. (Catholics, like anybody else, need abortion). • Several priests teaching at universities were punished for teaching about sex, contraception, and more. • In 1986 At Catholic U, not being allowed to teach about contraception, Catholic priests left priesthood. Priest and prof. Charles Curran was fired from Catholic university: • DISSENT INTO DARKNESS THE VATICAN AND CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY'S FATHER CHARLES CURRAN DISAGREED OVER WHAT A PRIEST COULD TEACH ABOUT ABORTION, CONTRACEPTION AND HOMOSEXUALITY. GUESS WHO WON THE ARGUMENT? (washingtonpost.com).
Roe v. Wade January 22, 1973 The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirms women's right to have an abortion under the 14Th Amendment to the Constitution.
Let’s take a step back… • 1971 - The case is filed by Norma McCorvey, known in court documents as Jane ROE against Henry WADE, the district attorney of Dallas County from 1951 to 1987, who enforced a Texas law that prohibited abortion, except to save a woman's life.
The Case: • The Constitutional Question: Does the Constitution embrace the right of a woman to obtain an abortion, nullifying the Texas prohibition? • Answer: Yes! • The ruling allows for legal abortions during the entire pregnancy, but set up conditions to allow states to regulate abortion during the second and third trimesters.
The Decision: • The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the Right to Privacy protected by the 14ThAmendment. • The decision gave women a right to abortion during the entirety of the pregnancy, defining different levels of state interest for regulating abortion in the second and third trimesters. • The ruling affected laws in 46 states.
Legal Timeline: • 1971 - The Supreme Court agrees to hear the case filed by Norma McCorvey, Jane ROE, against Henry WADE.
December 13, 1971 - October 11, 1972 - The case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. • January 22, 1973 - The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirms the legality of a woman's right to have an abortion under the 14Thamendment to the Constitution. • By the commencement of court case, Jane had already given birth to her baby!
Later on, something bizarre happened… • Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) has since come forward and changed sides on the abortion debate. • In 1997, Norma McCorveystarted Roe No More, a pro-life outreach organization.
June 17, 2003 - Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) files a motion with the U.S. District Court in Dallas to have the case overturned! • She asked the court to consider new evidence that abortion hurts women. Included are 1,000 affidavits from women who say they regret their abortions!
September 14, 2004 - A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dismissed a motion from the original plaintiff in Roe v. Wade to have the case overturned.
The Law: Trimester Rule of Roe v Wade • 1St trimester: woman has the right to end pregnancy and state can’t do anything about it. • 2Nd trimester: the state may limit—but not entirely prohibit—the woman’s right to abortion by regulating it for the sake of woman’s health. • After viability—24-28 weeks (6-7 months)—state may regulate or ban abortion, except to save life of woman.
About 21% of all American pregnancies end with abortion. (2011). • When pregnancy is unintended 40%. • In 2011, 1.06 million abortions performed. • Number of abortions seems to be declining: • Wider availability of contraception. • Education(?)
unmarried women account for one-third of abortions in America. • Reasons for seeking abortion include the following: • 21% Inadequate finances • 21% Not ready for responsibility • 16% Woman’s life would be changed too much • 12% Problems with relationships, unmarried • 11% Too young and/or immature • 8% Children are grown; she has all she wants • 3% Baby has possible health problems • <1% Pregnancy caused by rape/incest • 4% Other
ABORTION BY RACE - Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions. - Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women. - 69% of pregnancies among Blacks are unintended, while 54% among Hispanics and 40% among Whites. - Planned Parenthood, the largest seller of abortions in the US, has located 80% of its clinics in minority areas targeting minorities for abortion.
Medical Abortion Medical abortion, or non-surgical abortion, is away to terminate an early pregnancy using medications. A medical abortion is performed from the time a woman suspects to be pregnant up until 9 weeks from her last menstrual period. Some insurance companies limit it to 7 weeks or fewer. • In clinical practice, medical abortion is about 95 percent to 98 percent effective.
Medications The medications prescribed for medical abortion blocks the action of the natural hormone progesterone on the uterus, causingthe lining of the uterus to shed, as it does during a period, and stops the growth of the pregnancy. Also, it causes the uterus to contract and initiates bleeding and cramping.
Medical abortion is NOT the same as emergency contraception, a/k/a “the morning-after pill.” • Emergency contraception prevents a pregnancy. Therefore, once pregnancy has occurred, this is no longer effective. • Medical abortion, on the other hand, is used to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Surgical Abortions There are many methods of abortion. The procedure used depends on the stage of pregnancy and the size of the fetus. 3 main categories: Invade the uterus and kill the fetus by instruments. Kill the fetus by administration of drugs and then induce labor and the delivery of a dead fetus. Invade the uterus by abdominal surgery.
At this early stage of development, suction abortions are performed using a tube, requiring little dilation of the cervix. • This is called "menstrual extraction.”
Suction Aspiration • Most common method of abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. General or local anesthesia is given and her cervix is quickly dilated. A suction tube is inserted into the womb. This is connected to a vacuum machine that sucks up the fetus.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C) • This method is similar to the suction method with the added insertion of a hook-shaped knife (curette) that cuts the fetus into pieces. The pieces are removed and discarded.
By the end of the third month all arteries are present. • Vocal chords are complete, and the fetus can cry (silently). The brain is fully formed, and the fetus can feel pain.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) This method is used up to 18 weeks. Instead of the hook-shaped knife used in D&C, a pair of forceps is used to grasp part of the fetus. In other words, the D&E involves removing the fetus piece by piece.
Salt Poisoning (Saline Injection) • Used after 16 weeks (4 months). A long needle injects a saline solution through the mother's abdomen into the fetus's sac. The fetus swallows this fluid and is poisoned by it. • It normally takes an hour for the fetus to die. Within 24 hours, labor will usually set in and the mother will give birth to a dead or dying baby.
At around 6months, 24 weeks, a fetus may be viable. as the word is used in United States constitutional law since Roe v. Wade, viable means that a fetus can survive outside the uterus after birth.
Prostaglandin Chemical Abortion This form of abortion uses chemicals that cause the uterus to contract intensely, pushing out the developing baby. The contractions are more violent than normal, natural contractions, so the unborn baby is frequently killed by them.
Hysterotomy or Caesarean Section Used mainly in the last 3 months of pregnancy, the womb is entered into by surgery through the wall of the abdomen. The technique is similar to a caesarean delivery, except that the umbilical cord is usually cut while the fetus is still in the wombto cut off his oxygen supply and causing him to suffocate.
Partial-Birth Abortion • Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the fetus's legs with forceps and pulls them out into the birth canal. • The abortionist delivers the fetus's entire body, except for the head. • The fetus's brain is sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead fetus is then removed.