Abortion in the US

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What is abortion?

Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is born. If the fetus spontaneously happens before 24 weeks it is called a miscarriage. There are different types of abortion. There is the medical, which happens “during the first 49 days of pregnancy” where drugs are administered and there is little no evasive procedure. [1] Surgical abortion whilst the most common is evasive and involves the vacuuming of contents within the internal lining of the uterus. [1] Typically surgeons will only perform abortions during the first-trimester and will not perform during the second or third. Only when the mother’s life is in danger will abortions at this time be performed.


Abortion in the United States has been a long debated topic.However before the late 1800s abortion was a common practice without the controversy attached to it. “In 1803, Britain first passed antiabortion laws” and shorty after the United States followed. By the late 1880s it was outlawed and permitted only in the event to save the mothers life. [2] This was in effort for legislation to tighten control over women’s health care and control reproduction rates. [3] The government encouraged reproduction due to the declining birth rate among the white population at the time. There then developed a stigma towards abortion from societal and religious pressures.

Illegal Abortion

Women who could not go abroad for a safe, legal abortion had to resort to illegal abortion or unsafe abortion. Abortionists would perform procedures in a speedy and often painful manner. These procedures were commonly overpriced and “some male abortionists insisted on having sexual relations before the abortion.” [2] From 1950 to 1960 the illegal abortion rate increased from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year [4]

The Process of Legalizing Abortion

Animated during the time of the civil rights movement the women's liberation movement obtained momentum as well.

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade was a pivotal decision of the United States Supreme Court. This case legalized abortion across all states. However the debate of abortion has continued throughout the years. There are two sides to this debate the pro-choice and pro-life stances. Pro- choice maintains that individuals have autonomy over their reproductive rights whist pro-life emphasizes the governments role of regulating reproductive health. [5]

Difficulties today

Abortion today is still one of the most controversial topics in the United States. And although considered legal by the government certain individual states make it difficult for women to have an abortion. The most recent state to make having an abortion more difficult is Ohio. Ohio just passed the “heartbeat bill” that bans abortion once the heartbeat of the fetus is distinguishable. [4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.pamf.org/teen/sex/pregnancy/abortion.html.
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.feminist.com/resources/ourbodies/abortion.html. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Feminist.com”" defined multiple times with different content
  3. http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/u-s-abortion-history/.
  4. 4.0 4.1 [1]. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "CNN”" defined multiple times with different content
  5. [2].