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Transcript of Abortion
What is abortion?
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. There are two types of abortion:
- the sudden, involuntary, expulsion of the embryo or fetus from the uterus before it is capable of independent life. This type of abortion is also called a
- The purposeful termination of a pregnancy before the embryo or fetus is viable, or capable of independent life outside of the womb.
- An induced abortion performed to protect the health of the mother.
Jenna Longo, Holley McQuillen, & Valentina Perez
Reasons why women have abortions
There are many reasons why women have abortions including psychological factors, as well as external circumstances. Abortion is motivated by a desire to reduce the risk of physical, financial, psychological, and social disadvantages that the woman feels her and her future child will face.
40% to 45%
have an abortion at some time.
of pregnancies are unintended
are in their 20s
live below the federal poverty line
say they cannot afford to take care of a child, or that being a mother would interfere with school/work or affect their ability to care for existing family members
of women who have abortions do not use any form of birth control
Methods of Abortion
Vacuum aspiration, also called suction curettage, accounts for more than 90% of in-clinic abortions in the United States. The aspiration method can be used up to 16 weeks of gestation. For this procedure, the cervix is dilated with large curved metal rods. Once the cervix is dilated, a suction tube is inserted to empty the contents of the uterus. This method of abortion takes about 5-10 minutes, is relatively painless and inexpensive, and requires little or no anesthesia.
Dilation & Curettage (D&C)
Dilation and curettage (D&C) is not a common method of abortion today and accounts for only a small number of abortions in the United States. It is usually performed 8-20 weeks following the last menstrual period. Once the cervix has been dilated, the contents of the uterus are emptied using a blunt scraping tool. This procedure is done in a hospital under general anesthesia.
Dilation & Evacuation (D&E)
Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is most commonly used during the second trimester. This procedure combines suction and the D&C method. The cervix must be dilated to suction contents of the uterus. Whatever is not removed by suction is removed with forceps. This procedure can be done in-clinic or in a hospital. Sedatives or anesthesia can be used to make the woman more comfortable.
Induction of Labor by Intra-Amniotic Infusion
This procedure used during the second trimester and is also called instillation. A saline solution or a solution of prostaglandins (hormones that trigger uterine contractions during labor), is injected into the amniotic sac. Labor begins within a few hours of infusion and the fetus and placenta are expelled within the following 24-48 hours. This must be done in a hospital under anesthesia.
A hysterotomy is an abortion by cesarean section. Incisions are made in the abdomen and uterus to remove all contents from the uterus. This is a rare procedure that must be performed in a hospital and requires general anesthesia
RU-486, or mifepristone, is the name of the "abortion pill." It can be used up to 9 weeks after the FIRST day of a woman's last menstrual period. The abortion pill works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of the uterus breaks down, and pregnancy cannot continue. A second medicine that causes the uterus to empty, called misoprostol, is also used. As the uterus empties, the woman will have cramps and bleeding similar to menstruation.
There are many ways to carry out an abortion. These methods can be performed in clinics or hospitals.
Issues Surrounding Abortion
Abortion is, and probably always will be, a controversial topic. "When we try to evaluate arguments in the abortion debates, we must distinguish between the moral question (is abortion right?), and the legal question (what should the law allow?)" (Vaughn, 2013). People are so passionate when it comes to the abortion debate because it touches some of our deepest values and most basic beliefs. Our goal was to approach the topic from an educational point of view rather than a personal one.
Abortion: The Debate
people that are pro-choice believe that abortion is a matter of personal choice and that the government has no right to interfere with a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy or tell her what she can and can't do with her body
people that are pro-life believe that human life begins at conception and view abortion as the killing of an unborn child. Most people that are pro-life say that they would make an exception to save a mother's life or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest
Allows women to have the right to choose
Allows termination of unwanted pregnancy due to rape or incest
Don't have to go through with adoption
Decrease in death of women due to non-sterile, back-alley abortions
Legalization of abortion allows a woman to terminate an pregnancy early on
Allows termination of fetal abnormalities or if there is a health risk to the mother
Alleviates social and economic problems
Adoption is an alternative
Can cause pregnancy complications later in life, such as miscarriages
Shouldn't be used as a form of contraception
Can cause psychological stress
Eliminates the legal rights of the unborn child
Allows couples to abort if they are unhappy with the sex of the fetus
Psychological Effects of Abortion
Things to Remember:
Women’s experiences of abortion differ depending on their life cycle phase. A teenager who terminates her first pregnancy, for example, may experience psychological effects different from those of an adult woman who terminates a pregnancy after giving birth to several children.
Religious beliefs are likely to shape women’s likelihood of having an abortion as well as their responses to abortion. Women who belong to religious groups that oppose abortion, such as Evangelical Protestants or Catholics, may be more conflicted about terminating a pregnancy through abortion.
Some women report a sense of relief after having an abortion. Its important to remember that the reasons for relief also vary from woman to woman. Some women can feel a sense of relief opposed to others that feel regret. It can range from mild regret to more serious complications like depression.
Legal & Religious Issues Surrounding Abortion
The History of Abortion in the U.S.
Before the 20th century abortion was legal in the U.S. Women were allowed to end a pregnancy until “quickening” occurred. Quickening is when the mother felt the first movement of the fetus. By 1900, almost every state passed laws that banned abortions at any point in the pregnancy, unless it was to save the life of the mother.
Roe v. Wade
In 1973, the landmark case of Roe v. Wade changed everything. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that:
A woman had constitutional, but not unlimited, rights to an abortion under certain circumstances.
A woman's right to an abortion was protected under the right to privacy.
A woman may obtain an abortion for any reason during the first trimester
After the first trimester, the state has the right to regulate abortion.
When the fetus becomes viable, its rights override the mother’s rights to privacy.
The court also noted that the fetus is not considered a
as it is used in the Constitution. Therefore, the fetus is not entitled to Constitutional protection.
Present Day Abortion Laws/Restrictions
Since Roe v. Wade, abortion, under certain circumstances, has been legal in the United States. Many states have put restrictions on abortion and protests still continue. Some examples of restrictions include:
Parental notification/consent laws for minors
Counseling before an abortion
A minimum of a 24 hour waiting period between counseling and the abortion procedure.
Banning of partial-birth abortions
Reproductive Rights for Minors in New Jersey
A minor in NJ is any person under the age of 18.
In regards to reproductive healthcare, in NJ, a minor may give informed consent and receive confidential healthcare for all family planning services including:
Family planning and contraceptives
Emergency contraceptives (minor must have prescription from a doctor to access ECs from a pharmacy)
Pregnancy testing and options counseling
HIV testing and treatment
STD testing and treatment
Most religions are against abortion because they view life as a gift and value each and every one. Many people form their views about abortion based on when human life begins. Some beliefs of when human life begins include:
when the fetus first has a heartbeat
when the fetus obtains a "soul"
when brain activity is first detected
It is possible for women who have an abortion to develop
Women who have abortions can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms, which are comparable to the symptoms experienced by Vietnam veterans, include depression, grief, anger, shame, survivor’s guilt, substance abuse, and signs of trauma, such as flashbacks and denial.
Those who undergo abortion face nearly double the risk of mental health difficulties compared with others and that one in ten of all mental health problems was a result of an abortion.
Younger and unmarried women without children are relatively more likely to experience negative responses than women who are older and who have already given birth. So, too, are women whose culture or religion prohibits abortions and those who attend church more frequently.
For those that believe it is not a baby until it is born, they have less of a chance of negative consequences. However, for those who believe it is a baby, versus just growing tissue, they are more vulnerable for negative effects such as:
Sense of loneliness or isolation
Loss of self confidence
Insomnia or nightmares
Suicidal thoughts and feelings
Women commonly report that the abortion procedure affected them more than they expected. However, some individuals are more susceptible to experiencing some type of emotional or psychological struggle. Women with a higher probability of having a negative emotional or psychological side effect include:
Individuals with previous emotional or psychological issues
Individuals who have been coerced, forced or persuaded to get an abortion
Individuals with religious beliefs that conflict with abortion
Individuals with moral or ethical views that conflict with abortion
Individuals who obtain an abortion in the later stages of pregnancy
Individuals without support from significant others or their partner
Women obtaining an abortion for genetic or fetal abnormalities