AbortionWhat It Really Is and My View On It
111 pd 8


February 20, 2004


Abortion Research Paper


Health III


Throughout the history of this nation, women have continued to gain benefits that they previously had not received. In the 1920’s, women were given the right to vote, and with this, women found that their voice was to be heard. As the nation progressed, both in its mentality and infrastructure, women were allowed to do much more, breaking many stereotypes, and even challenging and then changing laws. As we continued into a new age, abortion and a woman’s right to have an abortion have progressed from a personal choice to a national argument. Those in favor of a woman’s right to choose say that only a person can determine what is beneficial to their future. Those against abortion say it is morally objectionable and religiously a sin, considering murder. However, you do have those who are not for it, nor against it but think that each case must be considered separately, a group that I consider myself a part of.


The American Heritage Dictionary[1] defines abortion as “Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival.” However, one could also say that a miscarriage could, under this definition, be considered an abortion. The State of Maine has defined abortions, for the process of reporting abortions by the doctors to the state, as “the intentional interruption of a pregnancy by the application of external agents, whether chemical or physical, or the ingestion of chemical agents with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus, regardless of the length of gestation.”[2] This definition is clearer and more concise than any other I have come across. It defines abortion and miscarriage as two separate actions, a process that makes one think twice about supporting or disapproving abortion. Accordingly, an abortionist is defined to be “One who procures abortion or miscarriage”[3], a person who is usually a doctor or is licensed to practice medicine.


Throughout the history of the United States, women have been having abortions. Over this vast period of time, many techniques have been developed in order to abort the fetus without doing harm to the woman. These techniques can be categorized into three groups, according to when they are employed; First-Trimester Abortions, Second-Trimester Abortions, or Late Second- and Third-Trimester Abortions.


First-Trimester Abortions are comprised of two groups, surgical abortions and chemical abortions. Suction-aspiration is the most common surgical method of abortion[4]. The procedure requires an abortionist to dilate the cervix by numbing it and then stretching it open. The abortionist then proceeds to insert a powerful vacuum into the uterus and sucks the baby’s body into a tube. Because of the force it applies, the firmly attached placenta is torn away and the body is ripped apartFig1. The second First-Trimester surgical method is termed Dilation and Curettage. In this procedure, the cervix is dilated or stretched to permit the insertion of a loop shaped steel knifeFig2. The body of the baby is cut into piecesFig3 and removed and the placenta is scraped off the uterine wall. Blood loss from Dilation and Curettage, or "mechanical" curettage is greater than for suction aspiration, as is the likelihood of uterine perforation and infection.[5] Currently, there are only two chemical abortion choices, one of which is called RU 486Fig 4, also known as the “French Abortion Pill”. This treatment is actually the use of two pills that contain the chemicals mifepristone and misoprostol[6]. The first chemical is used to prohibit the production of progesterone, which is crucial in maintaining the nutrient rich lining of the uterus. As the lining disintegrates, the baby is starved[7]. The woman is then given misoprostol, the second chemical that initiates uterine contractions. Most women then abort the unborn fetus hours later; however, many cases have been reported in which the woman gave birth days later. This process is carried out over three trips to the medical clinic, lasting a period of about three weeks; the child is terminated within the first week. The latter two weeks are a period of time before the women returns to the abortionist to make sure the child was in fact aborted. The second chemical abortion is called MethotrexateFig4.