In this paper I will be exploring and explaining the act of abortion. I will discuss the historical and analytical background by explaining pre Row versus Wade, and post Row versus Wade. I will be explaining this issue on a National level, and discuss how womens role in society has changed dramatically since the famous trial. Introduction Abortion is the act of ending a pregnancy, either through surgery or by taking medication, with the intention not to have an infant born alive.
Because many people believe that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, it has been a topic of great debate and controversy throughout the nation. The most historic case to ever argue the issue was Roe versus Wade; the trial that legalized abortion in the United States of America. It was this very decision made by the Supreme Court that opened the door to the greater feminist movement, giving women more freedom and control of their bodies, in the workplace, and in their own households. In this paper, I will explain the famous case, the courts decision, and the impact it had, and still holds over society.
Historical Background Geographically speaking, abortion is a huge issue not only in the United States of America, but also all over the world. It is vastly different however, because several countries allow abortion without it being a national issue. America has had many court cases and appeals to obtain the law it has today. I am explaining abortion internationally with a Maco level of analysis, giving a broad overview of different countries policies. I have decided to tighten my focus, and explain abortion Nationally with a Micro level of analysis because abortion in America is an issue of huge controversy.
It has been such an issue in the past, as well as now, that it took the Supreme Court to make a decision that everyone must abide by, without restricting women of their rights (Schoen 2000). Abortion in the United States is a subject of public debate. Opinion polls show that most people think abortion should be legal. These people might disapprove of abortion or disagree with some of the reasons that women seek abortions, but they would permit a legal choice. Some believe that only the State- not the federal government should regulate or outlaw abortion (Carlton 2000).
State laws prohibiting abortion began to appear in the 1820s. By 1900 every state except Kentucky had made abortion a punished crime. By the 1960s, pro-choice organizations in the United States had begun working to change state abortion laws. By the early 1970s, fourteen states had laws permitting abortion if the womens health was in danger, or if the woman was a victim of incest or rape. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a historic decision on abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade (Carlton 2000).
The court ruled that states could not forbid a woman to have an abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. The court based this ruling on an assumption that an early abortion is usually safer for the mother than a pregnancy that lasts a full nine months. The court also ruled that during the second trimester, states may regulate abortion only to protect a womans health. Once a fetus reaches the third trimester, states may regulate abortion to protect the interests of both women and the unborn (Author anonymous 2001).
The Roe v. Wade decision stated that the U. S. nstitution implies the right of privacy and allows a woman to decide for herself if she will have an abortion. The 1973 decision also dealt with the question of when a fetus becomes viable. It stated, Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. The court said that states may forbid abortion of a viable fetus except when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. Since the Roe v. Wade decision, many groups have organized in the United States to oppose abortion and the legislation and court decisions that permit it.
These groups include the National Right to Life Committee and the Christian Coalition as well as Operation Rescue, which conducts demonstrations near abortion clinics. Most pro-life groups strongly oppose illegal acts. However, some individuals have vandalized, bombed, or set fire to abortion clinics. Others have attacked and killed doctors and other clinic employees. Pro-choice groups have also expanded their efforts. They contact lawmakers, hold demonstrations, and attack restrictive abortion laws in court.
Pro-choice organizations include the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the National Organization for Women (Schoen 2001). In other countries, abortion laws are very different. Lawmakers in some countries have considered abortions an effective tool for limiting family size and as a battle against poverty. In China, for example, abortions are legal and common because the government allows only a limited number of children per family. Chinese women may have an abortion at any time during their pregnancy. In Russia, abortion is allowed up to the 29th week of pregnancy.
Japan restricts abortions to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Both Russian and Japanese women are allowed to use abortion as a method of birth control. In the United Kingdom, an abortion may be performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy. However, it must be proven that continuing on to birth would endanger the physical and mental health of mother or child. Canadian law, on the other hand, allows abortion at any time, and for any reason. However, most physicians avoid performing abortions during the later stages of pregnancy and do not offer abortion as a method of birth control.
Abortion is an issue all over the world. While Americans see it as an issue of moral or immoral, legal or illegal, other countries view it more on the grounds of whether it is a birth control method or not. Although some individuals in countries like China and Canada might not agree with abortion, it is not an issue of such great controversy as it is in the Unites States. In America, Roe v. Wade was a landmark case that lead to much controversy. It soon became the subject of a great national issue, which is still argued today.
Some people considered it an important advance towards equality for women because it gave women the right to choose when and whether to have a child. However, people who oppose abortion- particularly those who feel life begins at conception- strongly disagreed at the Supreme Courts decision. Analysis The Roe v. Wade decision, made by the Supreme Court, opened the door to the greater feminist movement, giving women more power and control in society. Feminist beliefs have existed throughout history, but feminism became more popular and widespread after the Roe v. Wade case ended.
In previous times, many people regarded women as inferior and less important than men. Such people believed a womans proper place was in the home- cleaning and taking care of children. The law reflected this opinion. For example, women were barred, by law, from voting in elections or serving on juries. Most institutions of higher education and most professional careers were also closed to women. Despite the strong opposition, feminism grew in power. Many people refer to this growth and change as a turning point in the history of society (Author anonymous 2001).
This change only became more strong and prominent in the United States of America after to Roe v Wade trial. Women now had the right to choose whether they wanted to have a child or not. They were given almost complete control of their bodies, and with that power they wanted control over everything else. It was this decision that made women demand for more. The social and political agenda of the feminist movement expanded as the philosophy of the movement evolved. Women initially wanted to overcome their biological differences in order to be equal with men.
After the legalization of abortion they sought changes in marriage divorce law, tax reform, universal day care, pay equity, affirmative action in employment, and changes in language. In the second stage of development, their agenda expanded from naming themselves, to naming their cause(Schoen 2000). They emphasized female strengths and womens capacity for love, acceptance, peace and empathy, and added issues such as homosexual right as well as abortion rights (Schoen 2001). These drastic changes in womens needs and desires lead to a change of the family norm.
Since mothers were now entering the workforce head on, fathers were expected to do more around the house. Babysitters and at home fathers became more popular and accepted. Young girls are now taught the value of higher education and careers, and not so much about motherhood. It was once Roe v. Wade decision was made that modern feminist movements grew strong, and have yet to end. Conclusion Abortion is a huge controversial issue nationwide. Pro-life people have made it very hard on pro-choice people with violent demonstrations and appeals.
Unfortunately for pro-lifers, the Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion in the United States of America has brought about a modern feminist movement and attitude. It is this very attitude that has changed the lives of millions of women. Women are doing more then they ever could, and the attitude they have towards society screams louder then any anti-abortion demonstration. The fight for equal rights between men and women has been going on for years. If feminists have anything to do with the matter, this fight will never end.
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