Abstract In this paper I will discuss the most dominant trends in abortion reports in the modern age. We will discuss the issues of morality, health risks and benefits and socioeconomic factors that are a part of the abortion discussion. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the debate of the morality of abortion Is an ongoing and ever-evolving discussion. Some of the points made in the articles discussed are seen as unique or radical, while others are points that have lasted through time and are still strong and relevant today.
This paper will analyze the current dialogue that s occurring within our scholarly journals across the globe, including points of view from Japan, Bangladesh, Australia and the United States. The key common point that is made throughout the literature is that despite local laws, religious beliefs, and services provided, women are still seeking and getting abortions. Abortion Policy and Its consequences By the sass’s abortion was a very common procedure. In an article by Alistair El- Muar, it is documented that more than one-third of Australian families were affected by abortion procedures in the sass’s.
There is a great deal of confusion surrounding he subject because, while abortion is legal in many countries, it is often not discussed, clinics are hidden or not made obvious of their location and purpose, and often times euphemisms are used such as “getting rid of” or “taking care of” a Japan, the topic of abortion has been more open for discussion; the subject that is taboo is oral contraceptive pills. While abortion is legal and available to women in Japan, the use of contraceptives – the pill and condoms – are used sparingly or only during “dangerous days,” when a woman is ovulating.
However, this results in a spike in the number of unwanted abortions. Japan differs greatly from other countries such as the United States and Australia in that abortion is not seen as a poor choice, but, rather, a better choice than taking oral contraceptives. The legality of abortion varies across the globe. But one thing that has stayed consistent and universal over the past twenty years is the abortion rate. Whether legal or not, women are still getting abortions at the same rate in most countries.
In El-Murmur’s article “Representing the Problem of Abortion: Language and the Policy Making Process in the Abortion Law Reform Project in Victoria, 2008,” the recess of legislature reform is described in the light of allowing and extending abortion rights for women. El-Muar shows how the manner in which abortion issues are discussed are commonly over laden with vague language or language that emphasizes a moral bias rather than a logical, rational process of argumentation. Too often the lawmakers are distracted by the colorful language that tugs at heartstrings as opposed to carefully considering the soundness of the arguments being made.
The essence of many arguments is, “This is wrong because I believe it is wrong. ” Legislators consider this – whether knowingly or not is unclear – as valid a mint as an argument in the form of, “The evidence I have presented proves my point because X, Y and Z. ” El-Murmur’s concern with the distraction and misrepresentation of issues is a valid point of concern. How can we make measured, calculated decisions for the entire country when such non-rational, non-linear argumentation is employed?
While the representation of the issue is most likely going to go unresolved for many more years, the Australian government has already come to a conclusion regarding abortion policies. The legislature now indicates that the controversy over abortion is no longer a legal issue, but, rather, a medical issue. In 1992, the Women’s Health Committee of National Health and d Medical Research Council (NRC) gathered an expert panel to review the data regarding abortion and the legality of the procedure. The expert panel completed their report in 1996, concluding that abortion should be decentralized.
However, the NRC rejected their report and argued in opposition – that abortion be illegal. The actual penal code stated that abortion was illegal and punishable by incarceration. However, in the majority of cases in which a woman had an abortion and was prosecuted, the defendants were acquitted due to the defense of necessity – the defense made a strong legal argument that the benefits of the procedure outweighed and Justified the illegal action. This dichotomy of code versus punishment has lead to a great deal of confusion among the Australian population.
In 2008, the Abortion Law Reform Bill decentralized abortion for citizens of Australia. Not only did it make abortion a legal procedure, but the bill also extended the window of time in which a woman has the opportunity to receive abortion services after conception. Many who are opposed to this new reformation believe ND bias without any strict, adhered-to guidelines. Now that abortion is no longer illegal, women are unafraid of punishment. However, there is still a great debate amongst medical professionals as to whether or not they are required to perform such a procedure Just because it is legal.
Many doctors who are morally opposed to abortion are turning patients away, despite the new legality. The morality of abortion appears to be an even stronger determinant than the legality of the procedure. In fact, in Robert Audio’s article, “Preventing Abortion as a Test Case for the Justifiability of Violence,” Audio argues that while abortion may be gal, and murder illegal, it is morally acceptable (and he extends this to “legally justifiable”) to prevent the instance of abortion by murdering the individual providing abortion services.
While Audio’s stance on abortion is clearly an oppositional one, his argument is not as clear or as understandable – despite one’s personal views. In this mixed moral-legal discussion, Audio asserts that a would-be mother and her physician are guilty of murder/harm of the unborn child; while any individual who acts in violence toward either the would-be mother or the physician is morally innocent cause of a commitment to protecting the intrinsically innocent, the fetus.
Whether it be a violent, harassing protest or actual physical harm done to an individual involved in providing abortion services, Audio argues that such behavior is morally justifiable and should not be punishable by law. Audio’s article is a bitter scholarly attack on all women who receive abortion services and all professionals who provide the service. His unsettling discourse leads us to wonder if, under Audio’s reasoning, women should fear being “Justifiably’ killed for desiring or having an abortion.
Due to Audio’s article and the number of people in society who may agree with him, women who consider abortion services are traumatized repeatedly before, during and after such a procedure is performed. To make the decision to terminate a pregnancy is traumatic enough. But Audio’s suggestions are horrific extensions of an already difficult situation. Furthermore, Audio’s language throughout the article is dry and attempts to come across as objective.
Instead of using buzz words such as “God” and “the Bible” when discussing the religious immorality of abortion, Audio uses weaker trigger words such as “miracle,” “divine,” and “scripture” which do not immediately Jump out at the deader as overtly motivated by Christianity. Audio asserts that, regarding women who accept abortion services, “We can act wrongly – counterrevolution, one might say – even when we are within our rights” (Audio, 162). This shows the polarity of Audio’s perspective with regards to the law and what is Just. On another religious path, F.
Cam provides a new, unique argument in favor of abortion. Gamma’s qualitative discussion of the intrinsic value of life and the varying degrees of importance amongst living creatures is a perfect counter-argument to Audio’s radical perspective. Cam points out that the reason there is such scrappiness between what one morally believes is right and what one might realistically do in instances that may necessitate abortion services is that “we believe in the sacredness of individual life (including early fetal life)” (Cam, 222).
He argues that there is more human investment – intellectually and emotionally – in the mother, but the sacredness of both individuals – mother and fetus – is equal. Cam calls potential to suffer greatly or even die from a pregnancy that is carried to term, Cam asserts that the woman’s death is worse – more undesirable – than if the fetus were ported. This follows a common belief that while no deaths are always preferable, one death is more preferable than two. If a mother were to suffer complications or die during childbirth, there would be a great likely hood of facing two deaths.
Furthermore, Cam argues that women, as adults, have intrinsic, incremental objective value as well as intentions, goals, and rights. Whereas a fetus only has intrinsic, incremental objective value (sacredness). This argument is particularly moving in that it reflects that desire to promote the health and well being of the adult woman. Gamma’s argument considers the quality of live that a woman facing the obstacle of abortion can potentially have due to the benefits that abortion procedures offer.
Not many – and clearly no Audio’s – arguments take into consideration the fact that once the ordeal is done, the woman’s quality of life will be much better than if she had faced the risk of carrying a pregnancy to term and raising a child. Gamma’s argument is unique and may even inspire changes within the church and within communities in countries that are primarily Christian. A key deciding factor in the internal debate women face of whether or not to go wrought with abortion procedures is the different aspects of responsibility. In an article by Lawrence B.
Finer, Lori F. Forthwith, Lindsay A. Dauphine, Seashell Sings and Ann M. Moore, 1,209 abortion patients were surveyed and interviewed regarding their reasons for choosing to have an abortion. Finer et al found that the results indicated that women today are much more concerned with their education and careers than what was previously understood. The majority of women – seventy-four percent of those interviewed – reported that a child would interfere with their education, their career, or the ability to care for pre-existing dependents.
The next most common response – seventy-three percent of those interviewed – was that financial hardship and the inability to adequately provide for a child was the reason for terminating their pregnancy. The third most common deciding factor – forty-eight percent of those interviewed – was that the individual was going through relationship problems or was facing being a single mother. An analysis of the study participants showed that 40% of the women had decided that they were through with their childbearing years and wanted no more children.
Thirty percent of the women stated that they had no children and were not ready to come mothers at this time. The researchers also found that the percentage of women who said that their reasoning for getting an abortion was because their parents or their partner wanted them to was less than one percent. Also, the issue of health – either that the individual was currently not in good health or that she feared a pregnancy would compromise her health – was rarely a concern. This study, both qualitative and quantitative, revealed a great deal about the population of women receiving abortion services today.
This article has helped to promote a better understanding and lessen the misconceptions of the concerns and oratories of women today. Also, we are able to see that in the majority of cases the decision to get an abortion is not a spontaneous decision, but, rather, a well thought out and planned decision that has been analyzed carefully by the individual. Women with regards to how a child would affect their quality of life and how their current lifestyle would affect a child’s quality of life if the pregnancy were carried to term.
From 1987 to 2004, the reasons for seeking abortion services have remained consistent and the data have changed little. In the debate of morality, it is notable hat women are consciously considering and reconsidering all aspects of this decision. The majority of the women interviewed in this study felt that they were making the best decision. While the consideration of one’s education and career weigh heavily on women in America, the same factors are not as paramount in other countries such as Japan.
In a study by Going IMHO titled Can Have Abortions But No Oral Contraceptive Pills’: Women and Reproductive Control in Japan,” the issue of eugenic abortions and unwanted pregnancies is illuminated in a new light. In Japan, a strong emphasis is placed on the natural remedies of the body and healing. Anything synthetic and unnecessary is considered toxic. This includes oral contraceptive pills. While condom use is publicly accepted as responsible and sufficient birth control, the use of condoms is not nearly as effective in preventing pregnancy as in the United States.
This is because there is a common notion that condoms are only necessary on “dangerous days,” when a woman is ovulating and most likely to become pregnant (IMHO, 102). When intercourse is had on a day that is not considered “dangerous” condoms are rarely used. The legalization of abortion came about primarily in order o prevent extra-marital pregnancies due to the large number of conceptions that occurred because of ineffective contraception use. Micro’s quantitative report on the shocking number of abortions performed in Japan shows the striking cultural differences between eastern and western populations.
In the post-World War II era in Japan, the desire for procreation and large families flipped to a preference for small families with only one or two children. The decision to proceed with a pregnancy or to terminate with abortion services was largely affected in this era by the advancement of medical science and eugenics. Thanks to new developments in medicine, women are able to have a portion of cells from the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus tested for genetic defects. In Japan especially, any birth defects – whether they be cystic fibrosis, Downs syndrome, or ATA-cash, etc. Are reason for serious consideration and formability of abortion. However, after a large population of women did decide to use oral contraceptive pills after the development of a low-dose hormone pill, the number of abortions dropped significantly. Until these numbers decreased, ninety-nine percent of all abortions in Japan were done so legally under the Eugenic Protection Law. This law legalized induced abortions as early as 1948. In 1996, this law was renamed the Maternal Body Protection Law due too rise in opposition against eugenics.
In 1955, Japan reported 1. 17 million abortions performed each year. This number slowly declined as condoms became widely accepted as proper contraceptive use and declined further after World War II and eugenics practices became the norm. In the sass’s, a group led by Nook Moisakos called for the abolition of abortion laws and the cessation of access to oral contraceptive pills. While many agreed with their stance, Moisakos group was dismissed as radical, militant women’s liberation activists. Many saw the pill as a step towards banning abortion.
In her article, IMHO says, “Since there is such and unfailing contraceptive such as the pill, abortions are no longer necessary’ (IMHO, 101). Eugenics played a large role in the popularity of abortions in Japan. In Sabine Frustum’s article “Women’s Rights? : The Politics of Eugenic Abortion in Japan,” we are urged to despise the process of screening fetus for defects and the process of eugenic abortion. It is Frustum’s position that the advancement of medical genealogy has launched a new era in abortion policy and has skyrocketed the number of abortions performed each year in Japan.
While the numbers suggest that abortion rates have leveled and are fairly consistent year to year, Frustums makes a better argument for a negative disposition towards eugenics. For quite some time, as people watch the world of science grow and present new, unheard of feats, there has been concern over whether or not parents will eventually be able to biologically engineer the perfect child, taking all of the chance out of nature’s random order. This is a great concern of Frustum’s as well – she calls this concept Freestanding” in its depravity.
While many people in America see abortion as something that only affects the lower classes and the poor, Frustums emphasizes the opposite – that those with the financial means to screen their fetus for defects or diseases are the ones who are taking advantage of abortion services the most. However, Rachel K. Jones and her colleagues countered this idea by conducting a study entitled, “Patterns in the Socioeconomic Characteristics of Women Obtaining Abortions in 2000-2001 . ” Jones et al. Adhered a representative sample of 10,000 women receiving abortion services ND analyzed their socioeconomic characteristics. In 2000, twenty-one in every one thousand women had an abortion. This ratio is startling in itself. Further analysis of their study participants gave more details as to the circumstances of our society. Jones et al. Found that there was a higher rate of abortions amongst women who were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, were unmarried, black or Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, had a previous birth, lived in a metropolitan area, and who were Christian.
While there was an eleven percent decline in abortion dates from 1994 to 2000, the decline was mostly in women ages seventeen to twenty, and the rate actually increased amongst women who were poor or on Medicaid. Jones et al. Found that a high pregnancy rate is directly related to a high abortion rate. The researchers concluded that the only way to prevent abortion is to provide better opportunities for the lower classes in the forms of education and better health care.
A decrease in unwanted pregnancies can be made possible by increasing awareness of, understanding of, and access to contraceptives – whether they be condoms, intrauterine devices, oral contraceptive pills, etc. Better health care for those who are struggling financially would also provide better access to contraceptives. Similarly, because abortion services generally cost between $400 and $600, many women who are not in a financial position to afford professional services decide to obtain an abortion by other means. In an article by M.
Bearer titled, “Making Abortions Safe: A Matter of Good Public Health Policy and Practice,” women are obtaining unsafe or unsanitary abortion Bearer analyzed the statistics of infection and mortality caused by improper abortion procedures. While the article partially encourages abortion and especially the equalization of such procedures, the emphasis of her article is on the health and safety of women. As many researchers have shown, the number of abortions that are performed is consistent across most countries, whether the process is illegal or not.
Women are still resorting to abortion in times of unwanted pregnancy despite the possible legal ramifications. Server’s stance is that with this in mind – that abortion is going to be a part of society whether we ban it or not – we might as well approve and legalize abortion so that women have the option of having the procedure done in a fee, clean environment rather than in a broken down storage shed by a man with a coat hanger.
Abortion accounts for thirteen percent of maternal mortality (Serer, 580) and menstrual regulation (the process of removing the lining of a woman’s uterus, similar to the natural menstrual cycle, to expel any implanted eggs, whether fertilized or not) is steadily increasing. In order to make abortion a completely safe procedure, we must first legalize abortion. Furthermore, training in abortion procedures should be required for all medical professionals – nurses, midwives, even pediatricians – and tot Just obstetrics and genealogy physicians, Bearer says.
If we cannot legalize abortion, Bearer recommends at least reducing the punishment for those convicted of criminal abortion. Researchers Hide Bart Johnston, Elizabeth Oliver’s, Sashimi Skater, and Diana G. Walker agree with Bearer in their article, “Health System Costs of Menstrual Regulation and Care for Abortion Complications in Bangladesh. ” Johnston et al. Advocate for increasing education and awareness of menstrual regulation as a birth control method in order to bridge the gap between unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
These researchers assert that menstrual regulation – a process similar to the implantation of an intrauterine device in which a physician inserts a tube into a woman’s cervix and removes via vacuum the lining of the uterus – is cheaper for medical service providers than treating the complications of illegal abortions. When abortion procedures go wrong, complications are a serious drain on medical resources in Bangladesh. This technique has also lead to a decrease in maternal deaths and has improved the economic conditions in the health care sector.
In addition to their analysis of cost data related to abortion complications versus menstrual regulation, Johnston et al. Emphasize that this method of menstrual regulation reduces unwanted pregnancies without abortion and the terrible consequences that come with substandard abortion services. It is a simple, fast procedure that sidesteps illegal abortions and which can be seen as an ethical middle ground between abortion and carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. This procedure is legal in most countries that have banned abortion. Johnston et al. Advocate for improved education for women who may benefit from this procedure.
The common theme amongst all of the articles we have discussed so far is that ore and better medical services should be available to women – whether it be to prevent unwanted pregnancy, to provide better care for pregnant women, or to provide abortion services. In a case study by Maharani Malaria, S. Sirius, and S. A researchers discuss the tragic case of a twenty-six year old woman who received an ill-performed abortion by a man with a wooden stick. The woman came into the emergency room suffering from abdominal pain and a sever fever indicating infection. Septic abortion is a spontaneous, therapeutic or artificial abortion complicated by pelvic infection” (Malaria, 149). In India, twelve percent of maternal deaths are caused by septic abortion. After describing this horrific case, Malaria et al. Strongly recommend to the public that abortion policy be reviewed and legalized in order to prevent the instance of septic abortion. In an anonymous article titled “A Doctor Tells Why She Performed Abortions – And Still Would” and written under the pseudonym “Dry. X,” a female doctor describes why she refuses to stop providing abortion services.
The number of providers of abortion services (that is, licensed and medically trained with sanitary facilities) has decreased from 2,680 in 1985 to 1,787 in 2005. And while doctors are retiring, the new enervation of physicians are not being taught how to perform abortion services. As teaching hospitals have merged with religious institutions, abortion is no longer being taught to medical students. There are more than 1. 5 million abortions performed each year, making it the most common medical procedure in the United States. However, there are fewer and fewer providers of such services despite the consistent demand.
This has resulted in more amateur providers conducting the procedure in less-than-sanitary conditions. Similarly, the aggressiveness and number of protesters outside of abortion clinics has risen to shocking levels. Instead of seeking out abortion services, women are hiding from the shame placed on them by these protesters, staying at home, and attempting to perform the procedures on themselves with reeds or knitting needles (Dry. X, 1265). According to Dry. X, the solution to this problem is, “All physicians who care for reproductive-age women should have opt-out, rather than opt-in, abortion training” (Dry.
X, 1266). This will encourage medical students to participate in the training rather than going through the process of opting out of the course. This is one realistic solution to the problem of declining numbers of abortion service revisers. However, the consensus still seems to be that the most important step for us to take is legalizing abortion and doing away with punishments for those who receive and perform abortion services. In an article posted in the London Lancet, titled “Abortion in the U. S. A. ,” the statistics of abortion in America are clearly outlined.
Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. There are twenty-two abortions performed for every one thousand pregnancies. And while the legalization of abortion has changed over time and across cultures, the abortion incidence, rate and ratio have remained the same. Drug induced abortion is a new phenomenon that is peeking the interest of women all over the country. But these articles have left us wondering, is it better for women to experiment with chemicals and knitting needles than to provide professional abortion services? Where do our moral principles lie?
Who is the priority in this situation: the health and lives of women all over the globe or unborn fetus that have not yet begun to experience life? While the morality issue is certainly one of open debate, there is a platform on which we all can agree – we must take provide care for all. The statistics have proven omen facing an unwanted pregnancy are still going to seek abortion services if they decide it is the only feasible option. The tone and primary focus of the scholarly journal articles reviewed here vary along a wide spectrum.