Abortion Essay Research Paper Abortion in today

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Abortion Essay, Research Paper Abortion in today’s society has become very political. You are either pro-choice or pro-life, and there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. As we look at abortion and research its history, should it remain legal in the United States, or should it be outlawed to reduce the ever growing rate of abortion. A choice should continue to exist but the emphasis needs to be placed on education of the parties involved. James C. Mohr takes a good look at abortion in his book Abortion in America. He takes us back in history to the 1800s so we can understand how the practice and legalization of abortion has changed over the year. In the absence of any legislation whatsoever on the subject of abortion in the U.S. in 1800, the legal status of the practice

was governed by the traditional British common law as interpreted by the local courts of new American states. For centuries prior to 1800 the key to the common law’s attitude towards abortion had been a phenomenon associated with normal gestation as quickening. Quickening was the first perception of fetal movement by the pregnant woman herself. Quickening generally occurred during the mid-point of gestation, late in the fourth or early in the fifth month, though it would and still does vary a good deal from one woman to another (pg.3). The common law did not formally recognize the existence of a fetus in criminal cases until it had quickened. After quickening, the expulsion and destruction of the fetus without due case was considered a crime, because the fetus itself had

manifested some semi-balance of a separate existence: the ability to move (pg3). The even more controversial question: Is the fetus alive? Has been at the forefront of the debate. Medically, the procedure of removing a blockage was the same as those for inducing an early abortion. Not until the obstruction moved would either a physician or a woman regardless of their suspicions be completely certain that it was a "natural" blockage-a pregnancy-rather than a potentially dangerous situation. Morally, the question of whether or not the fetus was "alive" had been the subject of philosophical and religious debate among honest people for 5,000 years. Single pregnant woman used abortion as a way to avoid shame. The practice of aborting unwanted pregnancies was, if

not common, almost certainly not rare in the United States. A knowledge of various drugs, potions and techniques was available from home medical guides, from health books for woman, for mid-wives and irregular practitioners, and trained physicians. Substantial evidence suggest that many American women sought abortions, tried the standard techniques of the day, and no doubt succeeded some proportions of the time in terminating unwanted pregnancies. Moreover, this practice was neither morally nor legally wrong in the vast majority of Americans, provided it was accomplished before quickening. The important early court cases all involved single woman trying to terminate illegitimate pregnancies. As late as 1834 it was axiomatic to a medical student at the University of Maryland, who

wrote his dissertation on spontaneous abortion, that woman who feigned dysmenorrhea in order to obtain abortions from physicians were woman who had been involved in illicit intercourse. Cases reported in the medical journals prior to 1840 concern the same percentages (16,17). Samuel Jennings quoted Dr. Denman, one of the leading obstetrical writers of the day to reassure his readers, "In abortions, dreadful and alarming as they are sometimes it is great comfort to know that they are almost universally void of danger either from hemorrhage, or any other account." Again, the context was spontaneous by the then induced abortion, but in a book with such explicit suggestions for relieving the common cold, woman could easily conclude that the health risks involved in bringing