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Melissa Eggleton Lewis Silvestri F13 PHIL8110 01 CRITICAL THINKING November 28, 2013 Individual Assignment Two: Abortion

The term abortion is the scientific title for a procedure where an unborn fetus is terminated within the mother in the early stages of pregnancy. This procedure, in one way or another, has been around for thousands of years, but only became a health procedure in the late 1800s. It was then underwent by healing women who would assist, and teach other women how to abort. In those days, women could abort unwanted or accidental fetuses without any legal ramifications or outcry from the church. It wasnt until 1803 that Britain passed the first antiabortion laws, quickly followed by the United States. In the 1880s abortion was illegalized in almost every state, only allowed when it was necessary to save the mothers life (History of Abortion femisnist.org). The argument regarding abortion has been long and ongoing, with some people siding against it (Pro-Life) on reasons such as a babys right to live, the physical and emotional ramifications for women who abort, and the moral question of when someone is classified as a human. On the other side, people standing for it (Prochoice) argue that women should have complete, independent control over their bodies, and that in certain situations abortion is the only humane option. In this essay I will provide my Pro-Choice argument, explaining why women deserve the right to have complete sovereignty over their bodies, and will provide proof that the negatives arent as detrimental as many believe. I will also bring to light some of the inaccuracies prevalent in the Pro-Life arguments.

The first thing we should tackle is some facts about abortion. There is a far spreading belief that abortions are only done by irresponsible teenagers who got themselves into trouble. The truth is, In the United States, approximately 1.2 million abortions were performed in 2008.1 In the United Kingdom, more than 200,000 abortions are recorded annually.2,3 About one of three women will have had an induced abortion by the time she reaches menopause. (Templeton, 204). Also, before 2000, almost all abortions performed were surgical, but as medical advancements were made easier, safer medical abortions have become available. The fact of the matter is, women will seek out abortions, whether legal or not, and the mortality rate associated with unaided abortions is simply too high for us to completely ban it. (Templeton, 204) One of the greatest arguments facing the legality of abortion is the perceived physical, mental, and emotional strain it can put on the mothers, as well as the mothers lasting fertility after the procedure is performed. These ideas, simply, are not true. The greatest physical risk associated with most common medical abortions is that of infections, ranging from basic bacterial infection to STDs. These risks can and have been easily controlled via the use of simple antibiotic prophylaxis both during the abortion procedure and after. We must remember though that Data from randomized, controlled trials of antibiotic prophylaxis with medical abortion are lacking. However, a large before-and-after study of clinics providing medical abortion showed a marked decline (93%) in the rate of serious infections after implementation of routine antibiotic prophylaxis *+ (Templeton, 204). As for the mental and emotional states of the patients, there is no true data supporting the theory abortion threatens the lasting health of the patients. Every woman is different, and may respond to the procedure differently, but a large scale population based cohort study done by The New England Journal of Medicine found that there is no discernable link between abortion and later life mental health problems. The study I am referencing was done to counter act all the half finished work started by other scholarly journals that faced problems such as low response and high drop-out rates, lack of

control for potential co-founders, and inadequate measures of exposure and outcome variables. To remedy this, this study was done based off of population using data off the Danish Civil Registration System (CRS) which holds information on all of Danish residents. This was then focused down to all women and girls who were born between 1962 and 1993, and who survived past their 15th birthday. From here, they used this information to correlate which women had abortions and later mental health problems, and which ones didnt have abortions but still had later mental health problems. The results were thus: The incidence rates of first psychiatric contact per 1000 person-years among girls and women who had a first abortion were 14.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.7 to 15.6) before abortion and 15.2 (95% CI, 14.4 to 16.1) after abortion. The corresponding rates among girls and women who had a first childbirth were 3.9 (95% CI, 3.7 to 4.2) before delivery and 6.7 (95% CI, 6.4 to 7.0) post partum. The relative risk of a psychiatric contact did not differ significantly after abortion as compared with before abortion (P=0.19) but did increase after childbirth as compared with before childbirth (P<0.001) These results are conclusive enough to prove that having an abortion at least does not increase your risk for mental health problems later in life, although ironically enough childbirth does. (Munk-Olsen et al, 332). Now, the final health questions; what about the patients lasting fertility? Doesnt abortion damage that? The answer to that is, once again, no. Induced abortions have no running risks for infertility of any kind (Templeton, 204.) So, as far as health goes, abortions have little to negligible risks. The problem is, that is not the only argument made by people who are Pro-Life. They also cite moral complications regarding the rights of the fetus, claiming that from the moment of conception the fetus is a human being, therefore

classifying abortion as murder. The leaders in this way of thought are people of religious backgrounds, who believe that to abort a fetus is to kill a baby. One of the leaders in this idea are the National Right to Life Committee, a group of a few Catholic journals and individuals who in the mid-1960s took an active role against the abortion reforms. Their belief was that life was a precious gift from God and that man did not have the right to kill the innocent child in the womb. (Karrier, 527). The overhanging issue with this problem was that the separation between physical and moral humans is so great. Scientifically, a fetus is not a true baby until it is able to support its own life outside of the womb, whereas morally it is assumed that the fetus is a baby as soon as it is consummated. These two ideas are nearly inconsolable, making this the strongest and longest lasting argument against abortion. The problem with this attitude is, when there is legitimate and just cause for an abortion, groups such as these stand in the way of the procedure being done. A prime example of this is the 1962 Sherri Finkbine incident. The actress Sherri Finkbine, a mother of four, was expecting her next child in 1962. During her first few months of pregnancy, she took some of her husbands sleeping pills during the night to help her rest, not knowing the pills were high in Thalidomide, a drug which was known to give unborn baby severe birth defects such as missing arms and legs. Once she became aware of this, she quickly scheduled and was approved for an abortion from a local hospital committee. She then went public with her story, hoping to inform any other expectant mothers of the risks Thalidomide posed. Unfortunately, the only thing anyone took from her story was that she was going to have an abortion. The publicity and public outcry from the announcement was so great that she and her family had to travel all the way to Sweden to get the necessary procedure. (Witness BBC News). In conclusion, not only is abortion sometimes necessary, legitimate and just, but they have little to no physical or mental lasting problems to speak of, and do not cause infertility. The only true argument regarding abortion is the argument about when a person is truly human, and that is an idea too personal to each person to ever be completely put to rest.

Work Cited Feminist.org History of Abortion, web page, Thurs November 28, 2013. Templeton, Allan, M.D., and David A. Grimes M.D. "A Request for Abortion." The New England journal of medicine 365.23 (2011): 2198-204. ProQuest. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. Munk-Olsen, Trine, et al. "Induced First-Trimester Abortion and Risk of Mental Disorder." The New England journal of medicine364.4 (2011): 332-9. ProQuest. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.

Karrier, Robert N. "The national right to life committee: its founding, its history, and the emergence of the pro-life movement prior to Roe v. Wade." The Catholic Historical Review 97.3 (2011): 527+. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. BBC World Service, The Sherri Finkbine Abortion Case Tuesday, August 27th 2013. Thursday November 28, 2013.