When Is The Beginning Of Personhood? Essay

Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before birth, resulting in,
or accompanied by, the death of the fetus. Some abortions occur
naturally because a fetus does not develop normally. Or because the
mother has an injury or disorder that prevents her from carrying the
pregnancy to a full term. This type of abortion is commonly known as a
miscarriage. Other abortions are induced. Induced abortions are
intentionally brought on, either because a pregnancy is unwanted or
presents a risk to a woman’s health. Induced abortion has become one of
the most ethical and philosophical issues of the late 20th century.
Modern medical techniques have made induced abortions simpler and
less dangerous. But in the United States, the debate over abortion has led
to legal battles in the courts, in the Congress of the United States, and
state legislatures. It has proven to be spilled over into confrontations,
which are sometimes violent, at clinics where abortions are performed.
There are many different methods in having an abortion. Induced
abortions are performed using one of several methods. The safest and
most useful and appropriate method is determined by the age of the
fetus, or the length of pregnancy, which is calculated from the beginning
of the pregnant woman’s last menstrual period. Most pregnancies last an
average of 39 to 40 weeks, about 9 months. This period of time is broken
up into three parts known as trimesters. The first trimester is the first 13
weeks, the second trimester is from the 14 to 24 week and the third
trimester lasts from the 25th week to birth. Abortions in the first
trimester of pregnancy are easier and safer to perform, that is because the
fetus is smaller. Abortions in the second and third trimesters are more
complicated procedures, which present greater risks to a woman’s health.
In the United States, a pregnant woman’s risk of death from a
first-term abortion is less than 1 in 100,000. The risk increases by about
30 percent with each week of pregnancy after 12 weeks. Although it is so
dangerous many women continue to have abortions. There are even
some drug medications used to terminate a woman’s pregnancy. In a
method commonly referred to as the morning-after pill, a woman is given
large doses of estrogen which is a female hormone within 72 hours of
unprotected sexual intercourse and again 12 hours later. This high dose
stops the fetus from any further development at the earliest stages after
conception. Or the point when a man’s sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg.
Typical side effects of the morning-after pill may include nausea,
headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, and sometimes fluid retention.

During the first seven weeks of pregnancy a combination of two
drugs can be given in pill form to make a fetus. A pregnant woman first
takes a drug which blocks progesterone, which is a hormone needed to
maintain pregnancy. About 48 hours later she takes another drug which
is a hormone like chemical produced by the body that causes
contractions of the uterus, the organ in which the fetus develops. These
contractions expel the fetus. Misoprostol, which is another kind of drug
can also induce abortion when it is mixed with a different drug that
interferes with cell division. A doctor first injects a pregnant woman
with one kind of drug and about a week later the woman takes another
drug to induce contractions and to expel to fetus. When you combine
these two kinds of drugs it usually ends pregnancy effectively according
to the 95 percent of the woman who have taken them. Although, some
woman experience cramps, bleeding and nausea. Some of the cases are
more serious, such as pneumonia, edema, arrhythmia and they effect the
heart and lungs which may cause death.

We will write a custom essay sample on
When Is The Beginning Of Personhood? Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

After the first 16 weeks of pregnancy , abortion becomes more
difficult. One method that can be used during this period is called
dilation and evacuation. Which requires greater dilation of the cervix
than other methods. It also requires the use of suction of a large curette
and a grasping tool called a forceps to remove the fetus. Dilation and
evacuation are complicated procedures because of the size of the fetus
and the thinner wall, which usually stretch to accommodate a growing
fetus. Bleeding in the uterus often occurs. Dilation and evacuation must
be performed under general anesthesia in a clinic or hospital. It is
typically used in the first weeks of the second trimester but can be
performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Intact dilation and
extraction, also referred to as a partial birth abortion, consists of partially
removing the fetus from the uterus through the vaginal canal, feet first,
and using suction to remove the brain and spinal fluid from the skull.
The skull is then collapsed to allow complete removal of the fetus from
the uterus.
Abortion has become one of the most widely debated ethical
issues. On one side there are individuals who are for woman’s
reproductive rights, including the right to chose to have an abortion. On
the other side there are the pro- life advocates, who oppose abortion
except in extreme cases, as when the mother’s life would be threatened
by carrying a pregnancy to term. At one end of this ethical spectrum are
pro- choice defenders who believe the fetus is only a potential human
being until it is viable. Until this time the fetus has no legal rights. The
rights belong to the woman carrying the fetus, who can decide whether
or not to bring the pregnancy to a full term. At the other end of the
spectrum are pro-life supporters who believe the fetus is a human being
from the time of conception. The fetus has the legal right to life from the
moment the egg and sperm unite. Between these positions lies a
continuum of ethical and political positions.

A variety of ethical arguments have been made on both sides of
the abortion issue, but no consensus or compromise has ever been
reached because, in the public policy debate, the most vocal pro-choice
and pro-life champions have radically different views about the status of
a fetus. Embryology, which is the study of fetal development, offers little
insight about the fetus’s status at the moment of conception, further
confounding the issue for both sides. In addition, the point when a fetus
becomes viable is constantly changing with every passing year medical
advances make it possible to keep a premature baby alive at an earlier
stage. The current definition of viability is generally accepted at about 24
weeks gestation; a small percentage of babies born at about 22 weeks
gestation have been kept alive with intensive medical care.

In the abortion debate, the combination of medical uncertainties
and emotional political confrontations has led to considerable hostility .
However, for many people, the lines between pro-choice and pro-life are
blurred. The issue is also far less polarized. Many women, who consider
themselves pro-life supporters, are concerned about the danger of
allowing the government to decide what medical options are available to
them and the possible threats to reproductive rights. Similarly, many
women, who contemplate their view as the pro-choice view, are deeply
saddened by the act of abortion and seek to minimize its use through
more education about abortions, prevention’s of pregnancy and the use
of birth control. Many people on all sides of the controversy feel the
political debate has led to a stalemate because it ignores the nuances of
the issue. In response, participants in the abortion debate find common
ground in the admission that the issue is surrounded by complicated,
difficult questions that require more than simplified pro-life or
pro-choice supporters.

Abortion has been practiced around the world since ancient times
as a crude method of birth control. Although many religions forbade or
restricted the practice, abortion was not considered illegal in most
countries until the 19th century. There were laws during this time,
however, that banned abortion after quickening which is the time that
fetal movement can first be felt. In 1803 England banned all abortions,
and this policy soon spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Throughout the middle and late 1800s, many states in the United States
enacted similar laws banning abortion. In the 20th century, however,
many nations began to be lenient about their laws against abortion. The
former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) legalized abortion in
1920, followed by Japan in 1948, and several Eastern European countries
in the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, much of Europe and Asia, along
with Canada and the United States, legalized abortion.
An estimate of about 50 million people have abortions a year. Of
this number a lot of the abortions that are performed are done illegally
which lead to immediate deaths. Illegal abortions are more likely to be
performed by untrained people, in unsanitary conditions, or with unsafe
surgical procedures or drugs. In many European countries it is more
likely for woman to have illegal abortions. In countries where abortion is
legal less than one percent of pregnancy related deaths are caused by
In the United States. the legalization of abortion became an issue in
1966, when Mississippi passed a law permitting abortion in cases of rape.
In the following four years, other states started to legalize abortion to
include cases in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s health, the fetus
has serious abnormalities, or the pregnancy is the result of sexual
relations between close relatives. The Supreme court decided in the early
1973 two cases known as Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, that abortion was
legal for any apparent reason before the 24th week of pregnancy. The
reason for this is because the fetus has not yet become viable. The ruling
of the Supreme Court allowed individual states to change the law by
restricting abortion after viability. Except in certain cases when the
pregnancy presents a threat to the woman’s health, abortion is allowed
no matter how many weeks.

In 1976 the Supreme Court recognized the right of pregnant girls
under the age of 18, know as a minor, to terminate her pregnancy. The
court ruled three years later that states may require consent of one of the
parents of the minor, who wants a abortion. However, consent is not
needed if a confidential alternative form of review, such as a judicial
hearing. A judicial hearing is made for young women, who had chosen
not to involve their parents in their decision of abortion. The Supreme
Court of The United States also ruled that a judicial court may approve a
minor’s decision of abortion, in place of her parents, only if the judge
finds that the young girl is capable to make the decision on her own. If
the judge finds the minor not mature enough to make the decision of
abortion on her own, the court can rule whether the termination of
pregnancy is in the minor’s best interest.

Since these decisions many states have enforced parental consent,
or notification laws. Although some laws have been argued in courts for
years. For Example in 1990, Hodgson v. Minnesota, the Supreme Court
upheld a law requiring that prior notice of the minor’s parents must be
provided before and abortion is performed. In a similar case that
happened in Ohio, the Supreme Court upheld a requirement for notice or
consent of only one parent. In 1980 the Supreme Court upheld another
ruling restricting the availability of federal Medicaid funding for
abortions that were medically necessary. After that ruling, abortion
payments for the poor women were limited to cases in which the
pregnancy threatened the woman’s life. Also in 1977, the Supreme Court
allowed the city of St. Louis, Missouri to exclude elective abortions from
procedures performed in a public hospital.
In 1983, the court found it unconstitutional to require that a
woman considering an abortion should be given information developed
by the state, talking about risks and consequences and that they should
wait 24 hours after receiving the information about abortion. Also in
1986, the court struck down a law in Pennsylvania requiring that state-
developed materials about abortion being offered to woman that are
undergoing the procedure of abortion.
In 1989 there was a Supreme Court decision in Webster v.

Reproductive Health services, and since then the court has permitted
several state imposed restrictions to stand. The Webster case upheld a
Missouri law that prohibits the use of public facilities or public
employees for abortion and requires a physician to determine the
viability of a fetus older than 20 weeks before performing an abortion. In
1991, in the case of Rust v. Sullivan, the court upheld a federal policy that
prevented health care providers who received federal funding from
engaging in any activities that encouraged or promoted abortion as a
method of family planning. This policy was later annulled by President
Bill Clinton in 1993. One year earlier in 1992 the court decided Planned
Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which was a case in
which the court reaffirmed the central ruling of Roe v. Wade, that no
undue burden on access to abortion should exist for a woman over 18
years of age prior to fetal viability. That case also permitted states more
freedom in regulating abortion. The court overturned rulings which
made it possible for states to once again require that a woman be given
information about abortion risks and consequences and wait 24 hours
before actually performing the procedure.

The last bill enacted by the Congress was passed in 1996, banning
the practice of partial birth abortions. President Clinton rejected the law
because it failed to permit use of the procedure when a fetus displays
abnormalities, or when carrying a pregnancy to term presents a serious
threat to the woman’s life or health. Since then many states have passed
the law banning use of the procedure.

Since the Supreme Court ruling in 1973, pro-life supporters have
worked continuously to reverse the decision. They had state and federal
officials to place restrictions on women seeking abortions or on
individuals providing abortions. In 1994, the Freedom Of Access to
Clinic Entrances Act was enacted, which made it a federal crime to use
force, threat of force, or physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, or
interfere with reproductive health care providers and their patients.
During that same year, in a case known as Madsen v. Women’s health
Center, the Supreme Court upheld the basic right to protest in peaceful,
organized demonstrations outside abortion clinics. More than two
decades since the Supreme Court first upheld a woman’s right to
abortion, the debate over the morality and the legality of induced
abortion continues in the U.S. Although pro-life and pro-choice
supporters still continue to argue the issue. A growing number of
individuals and organizations are kind of leaving the debate in search of
common ground. Many people hope that broadening the arguments to
include a wider spectrum of perspectives will improve the chances of an
end to the issue.

The argument for abortion is that women who accidentally get
pregnant have the option to get an abortion. Instead of just having the
baby and leaving it stranded abortion will not leave you in that situation.
In some cases the pregnancy is unwanted and therefore that is why I
think abortion should be legal. I feel that the woman should be able to
decide what happens to their body. Some woman must have the
abortion other wise it is a threat and risk to their lives and to their health.
Some parents might not be understanding and when they find out that
their child is about to perform and abortion, the parents won’t let the
child do it. Therefore the child is forced to have an illegal abortion which
is extremely dangerous. On the other hand, the argument against having
abortion is that it can be very risky. Some abortions are so severe that
they can kill you. Most of the abortions don’t necessarily have to protect
the mothers health since she wants to kill the baby. If the mother doesn’t
want to baby so badly than she should put it up for adoption. Majority
of the abortions performed in the United States are done in an unskilled
way, which leads to either woman dying or having horrendous side
effects such as the inability to have children. The woman who is having
the abortion should be responsible to prevent a pregnancy from the
beginning of the sexual relationship.
In conclusion I feel that abortion should be legalized through out the
world. I think an amendment should be passed for all those unwanted
mothers who either can’t afford to have a baby or who just don’t want it.
Obviously my position on this case is to allow the choice of an abortion in
any case. I hope I’ve proved my arguments for having an abortion. In the
future, I aspire that abortion will be legal in all states and not just selected
states through out the country.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out