Abortion is a loaded word in this great country. Some consider it a medical procedure; others consider it homicide. The regularization of the procedure with the Supreme Court decision of “Roe v. Wade” does not quell the debate. In fact, it seems to have added fuel to the fiery passion both pro-choice and pro-life advocates feel about their stances on this issue. What about those who have the same amount of fiery passion for both sides of the debate? Believe it or not, there are those who are pro-choice and pro-life when it comes to abortion. Before you make a decision about which side to be on, you should know about all of the procedures available to a woman.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, abortion is defined as “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.”
Argument for abortion:
“Roe v. Wade” was a monumental legal decision, to say the least. The legalization of abortion did wonders for the victims of rape or incest. Why should these victims be forced to carry that child to term? Roe also helped reduce the mortality rate of mothers in the United States.
Argument against abortion:
Many people, Catholics, in particular, have loudly voiced their pro-life stance in the abortion debate. Their opinion of killing an innocent child is a just and fair one. They argue for carrying a baby to term and then giving it up for adoption. What they don’t realize is the fact that giving up the baby isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
Where to get info about the medical procedures available:
If you are wondering how abortions are performed, there is no better website to visit than religioustolerance.org. Their diverse staff is made up of Christians, Atheists, Wiccans, etc., so who better to disseminate information about the different abortion procedures? Considering the many abortion procedures available, this article will discuss the ones that pro-lifers and pro-choice advocates can agree on. There are safe procedures for each of the trimesters of pregnancy.
Again, according to religioustoleralnce.org, 90% of all abortions occur in the first trimester. The first-choice procedure is medicating the woman with different abortion-inducing pills, the most popular being the pill known as RU-486. This pill was “developed in France by Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu in 1980. He found a method of preventing a woman’s body from producing a hormone that sustains early pregnancy.” He essentially discovered a way to help women miscarry, which is more acceptable in today’s society.
The second-choice procedure is manual vacuum aspiration. This procedure is “an abortion technique that is gradually becoming widely available in North America. It was developed in the 1960’s as a technique that could be used in the third world, because it does not require electricity. A hand-held syringe creates a tiny, localized vacuum that removes the embryo. It is as powerful as the suction provided by conventional vacuum pumps, but is more focused. The amount of cervical dilation is less than with a conventional abortion because of the smaller size of the instrument. This generally creates less discomfort. It is a simple and safe procedure that gynecologists can use in their office without a general anesthetic. It typically takes less than two minutes.” It should be noted that this procedure is only available to women who are 3 to 6 weeks pregnant.
The third and final procedure available to women who want to abort their pregnancies in the first trimester is a surgical removal of the fetus. There are actually several procedures doctors can use to abort pregnancies after the sixth week. For a full description of these procedures, visit: http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_surg.htm.
Again, according to religioustolerance.org, 9% of abortions are performed at this stage. The procedures for aborting pregnancies gets more and more gruesome as you get further along into the pregnancy. The best procedure to have during the second trimester is induced labor. This causes little harm to the fetus or the mother, which would make pro-lifers and pro-choice advocates happy. The other two procedures, dilation and evacuation/dilation and extraction, are very harmful to the fetus and are not recommended. To learn how these procedures are performed, go to http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_late1.htm.
Less than 1% of abortions are performed at this stage of pregnancy. If an abortion is performed, it’s usually because, the fetus is dead or delivering the baby would endanger the mother’s life. There are two options available to doctors. The first is a hysterotomy, which is “similar to a Cesarean section. The woman is given a local anesthetic. A cut is made into her abdomen which extends into the uterus. The fetus is removed. The placenta is then removed. Finally, the incision is stitched.” The other procedure is dilation and extraction, which you read about earlier.
Now that you know what procedures are out there as concerns abortions and how they are performed, maybe you won’t be so quick to jump on either band wagon. Pro-lifers have been justified, as least to me, in the description of D&E and D&X. Pro-choice advocates have also been justified in the description of induced labor and hysterotomies.
What would make an abortion justifiable during the first trimester? Rape and incest. No woman ever wants to face the decision to have an abortion, that’s why there are emergency contraceptive pills on the market. The biggest weakness for those its that they only work soon after unprotected sex. Should rape and incest victims have to buy these pills? Who knows? This is a complicated matter. That is why it is important to keep abortions legal during the first trimester. Pills like RU-486 become invaluable to women in those trying times of rape and incest because a woman may not find out she is pregnant until a few weeks later, when it is too late to take the emergency contraceptive pills. Some over-the-top pro-lifers would have that medication made illegal.
What would justify an abortion in the second and third trimesters? Preeclampsia. The National Institutes of Health, describes preeclampsia as a “condition that typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy and is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother’s urine (as a result of kidney problems). Preeclampsia affects the placenta, and it can affect the mother’s kidney, liver, and brain. When preeclampsia causes seizures, the condition is known as eclampsia-the second leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. Preeclampsia is also a leading cause of fetal complications, which include low birth weight, premature birth, and stillbirth. There is no proven way to prevent preeclampsia. Most women who develop signs of preeclampsia, however, are closely monitored to lessen or avoid related problems. The only way to “cure” preeclampsia is to deliver the baby.”
No matter what your political or religious affiliation, abortion will continue to be a hot button issue for quite some time. There will always be those whom oppose the procedures and there will always be people who approve of the different procedures. The best thing for our country is to agree to disagree. Not all of us are medical professionals and the decision about an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor.