During World War II the German Nazi party wanted to exterminate 5.6 million Jews. William Brennan, a professor of social services at St. Louis University, compared abortion to the holocaust. Adolph Hitler didn’t know what to do with so many Jews after they were captured. So he decided to kill them all, so they were shoved into ovens and burned for disposal. Many babies’ that are aborted today are disposed of in such a manner. Many are collected into buckets, bags, or burned in hospital furnaces. The holocaust of the Jews was legal, but as morally wrong as abortion is. Each abortion that has taken place kills an innocent unborn child (Brennan 31-33).
Abortion has been a long history of conflict and debate throughout history. Connecticut was the first state to name abortion as a criminal offense. A statute was passed in 1821 aimed at preventing murder by poisoning, made it illegal for women to purposely cause a miscarriage. Afterward other states proceeded to follow Connecticut (Rubin 1-2).
During these times abortions took place by means of drugs, herbal potions, and various surgical techniques. It was considered a woman’s business or her family’s. Abortion had been used as a method of population control by all civilizations. During the years of 1880-1960 when considering abortion, those years were labeled as the “silent decades.” The British common law originally guided matters of abortion. Abortion under this law permitted this procedure until “quickening”. Quickening is midway through the pregnancy when the mother first experiences fetal movement. Abortion was also acceptable in the 20th century before quickening. In the 19th century, there was a successful campaign to outlaw abortion. Many “regular” doctors were motivated to get rid of “irregular” doctors, those who were most likely to perform abortions illegally (Staggenborg 3). In the 1960’s, an epidemic of rubella measles became common in the United States. Many people became sick, because this disease can cause fetal deformity when contracted by pregnant women abortion conflicts began to rise. Two years later, in 1962, Sherri Finkbine tried to legalize abortion in the U.S. She had found out that the drug thalidomide, that she had been administering, causes fetal deformity in newborns. She ended up having her own abortion procedure in Sweden (Staggenborg 3). During 1972 a number of abortion cases were hanging over political leaders heads. The first case that was accepted for decision was a mother who was at risk of death when delivering her baby. The constitutionality of Texas was tested; they made it a felony for anyone to destroy an embryo or fetus unless the mother’s life was at risk. Before 1973 millions of women would have illegal abortions. They experienced painful, dirty, humiliating, and dangerous abortions (Jaffe, Lindheim, and Lee 151).
In 1973, feminists and family planning activists wanted to legalize abortion due to deformities in children, death to the mother, or other health risks. This case was widely acknowledged as the turning point of abortion. A married couple attacked the court with future possibilities of contraceptive failure, unprepared parenthood, and impairment to one’s health (Staggenborg 3-4).
There are different stages during pregnancy during which a mother may have an abortion. She may have the procedure done during the first, second, or third trimesters. First trimester is considered to be the first 13 weeks or after the last menstrual period. This is the safest time to have an abortion, because women have the choice of how they want the procedure performed. Most of the procedures during this time are not as complicated as others. Usually chemicals or medicines are injected into the mother, causing the unborn death. Second and third trimester is anytime after this period. More teens have abortions during this time than any other group. During second and third trimester abortions are usually done surgically. There are very many different techniques that a mother may choose from, but often doctors may choose depending on the woman’s physical health (Davidson 3-5).
All first trimester procedures are not as harsh as second and third trimester. During this trimester, chemicals, suction devises, and drugs are often used to abort the babies. The first technique that can be used is dilation and curettage; this takes place during first-trimester. A powerful suction tube with sharp cutting edges is inserted into the womb. The body is dismembered as it tears the placenta from the wall of the uterus as the suction collects all the materials into a small bottle (Cisler 64).
The second type of procedure is dilation and curettage. This procedure also takes place during first trimester and occurs up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The cervix is dilated or stretch to allow the insertion of a loop shaped steel knife into the mother’s womb. The knife is inserted and the baby’s body is cut into pieces and then removed (Cisler 64).
The fourth technique is the use of the chemical RU 486. The RU 486 is usually considered as “the French abortion pill.” This pill uses two powerful synthetic hormones known as mifepristone and misoprostol used to chemically induce abortions in women that are 5-9 weeks pregnant. This abortion technique began in France and has induced abortion for 50,000 French women. This procedure has no side effects, but studies have shown that one woman died, while others suffered from heart attacks from this abortion technique (Lader 17-18). These pills are used to block the action of progesterone, a natural hormone vital to maintaining the rich nutrient lining in the uterus. As the nutrient lining disintegrates, the developing baby starves to death. Long-term affects are currently being studied. It is suspected that not only does RU 486 affect the mother’s current pregnancy, but also could harm future pregnancies, cause potential miscarriages, or cause malformations in later children. In 1995, a U.S. woman nearly died from losing too much blood. Patients are known to bleed up to 44 days after this procedure (National Right to Life).
The fifth type of procedure that occurs during first trimester is methotrexate. Methotrexate is injected into the muscular system causing the uterine lining to break down. The unborn is deprived of food, oxygen, and fluids. After a period of time the baby is aborted and this can happen anywhere. Sometimes labor occurs within a couple of hours, but often a second dos is required, causing the procedure to be delayed for more than 42 hours. Abortion may take several weeks after completion. Abortionists are reluctant to prescribe this technique because of its high toxicity and unpredictable side effects, such as: nausea, pain, diarrhea, anemia, liver damage, and methotrexate-induced lung disease (National Right to Life).
As you can see, first trimester abortions are terrible procedures, but nothing compared to second and third trimester. During these trimesters the baby has began to develop organs and important body parts that are necessary for life. Surgery or chemicals are usually used during these trimesters.
Instillation methods are used after 16 weeks of pregnancy, during second and third trimesters. A needle is inserted into the abdomen, inserting chemicals into the womb. One method that is used is dilation and evacuation; this procedure can be performed after the unborn is 24 weeks. Forceps are used with a sharp metal jaw that grabs body parts of the baby. The twisting and tearing of the forceps remove the baby’s entire body piece by piece. The skull is usually crushed or compressed for removal (National Right to Life).
During second and third trimester saline solution may be used, this technique usually occurs during 4-7 months. A long needle is inserted into the mother’s abdomen into the bag of water around the baby. Some of the fluid is drawn out and replaced with saline solution. This chemical is solution causes painful burning and deterioration of the baby’s skin. The baby breathes in swallowing the solution and is poisoned. After several hours, the mother goes into labor and delivers a dead, burned, and shriveled baby. There are many dangers to this type of abortion (National Right to Life). The risks of saline abortions are salt poisoning of the mothers blood, convulsions, hemorrhaging, and failure to abort the baby after it dies. This technique may cause the mother to have uncontrolled blood clotting throughout her body with severe hemorrhage as well as effects on the nervous system. Seizures, coma, and death may also result from saline inadvertently injected into the woman’s vascular system (National Right to Life).
Another procedure that occurs during second and third trimester is partial-birth abortion. This technique is usually used during the 5-6 month of pregnancy. This procedure consists of the abortionist reaching into the mother’s uterus, grabbing the unborn baby’s leg with forceps, and pulling the baby into the birth canal except for the head. The abortionist jams scissors into the back of the baby’s skull and spreads them apart to enlarge the wound. After the abortionist removes the scissors, a suction catheter is inserted into the skull and the baby’s brains are sucked out. The collapsed head is then removed from the uterus (National Right to Life).
Out of three late term abortions witnessed by Brenda Shafer, a nurse who worked at an abortion clinic, she stated that two cases were just because the mother’s didn’t want the children and in one case the baby had Down syndrome. After witnessing these abortions, she wrote a letter to Congress. She stated that, “the abortionist used forceps to pull apart the baby inside of the uterus, bring it out piece by piece and then throwing it into a pan (Shafer 74-77).
Another type of procedure that is used during second and third trimester is a hysterotomy. This surgical procedure is usually used when the methods of salt poisoning or prostaglandins fail. Incisions are made into the abdomen and uterus and then the baby, placenta, and amniotic sac are removed. Sometimes babies are born alive, raising many questions as to how and when the infants are killed and by whom (Cisler).
Any surgical abortion is risky. Risks of perforation of the uterus or laceration of the uterus due to the various instruments or by fetal tissue are additional risks. The surgical instruments that are used may cause fever, heavy bleeding, may cause a foul smelling discharge, and pregnancy symptoms may continue (Davidson 4-7).
Since there are many risks of health problems such women are observed for a period of time. Doctors make sure that the woman’s blood pressure is stable and bleeding is controlled. A follow-up visit to the doctor is necessary for aftercare. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to reduce any chances of infection to the mother (Davidson 6).
There are many physical complications after having abortions. All abortions have risks, some of these risks are permanent infertility, future miscarriages, risk of future sterility, and an increased risk of tubal pregnancy. The procedure of abortion is often compared to the pain of cancer. Young women seem to find abortion more painful than older women do. During the procedure of abortion, 97% of women reported experiencing pain with the use of anesthesia (National Right to Life).
Each year an estimated 5 million families apply to adopt children, but it is very heartbreaking to know that there are not enough babies available to those families. Many of these couples are infertile and unable to have children (Falwell 143-145). Adoption would be a much better choice for mothers. They would not have to deal with the pain and the guilt of aborting their baby. Such babies would be in a loving and caring home where they are wanted. Many mothers need to view their options when considering abortion. There are many options that they may choose from and adoption is only one of them. They may place their child with other family members until the mother can care for them.
Many parents would love to have a beautiful baby to love. Why don’t mothers think of their babies first and the families that would appreciate and take care of them. Abortion will always be a controversy, especially when there are other ways to deal with unwanted pregnancies. Why kill an innocent child when they could have adoptive parents? I don’t know how anyone could cause such horrendous pain to such a harmless being. Abortion is almost never a good choice.
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