When Is The Beginning Of Personhood? 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 womans 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 womans 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 womans health. In the United States, a pregnant womans 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 womans 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 mans sperm fertilizes a womans 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. 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 womans 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 mothers 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 fetuss 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, preventions 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 i …