.. abortions. If they were caught afterwards, they were charged with murder. But is abortion murder? Abortion is defined as “The induced termination of a pregnancy before it is capable of survival as an individual” (Frohock 186). Considering this definition, at the time of most abortions, the fetus is not an individual. The definition is far too simplistic.
One needs to take into consideration the developmental stages of the fetal life span. Most abortions occur soon after the confirmation of pregnancy, (usually prior to 12 weeks gestation.) The first twelve weeks is known as the first trimester or the embryonic phase. At this time the fetus is about 3-3.5 inches long having a weight of 15-20 grams. The neurological system is primitive at best, demonstrating only vague swimming motions (Rosenblatt 37). The second trimester heralds a time of rapid growth. At about 20 months the mother usually first perceives fetal movement.
At 24 weeks the brain resembles that of a mature person. The fetal weight is about 650 grams. (39) The third trimester is from 24 weeks to birth (approximately 40 weeks.). At 26 weeks the nervous system begins to regulate some body processes. (40) “When making the conscious decision to terminate the life of the fetus one must take into account the development of the fetus. One approach might be that of assessing the neurological development.
It is only logical that the more complex the neurological system the more likely you are to induce pain or end a sense of self if in fact that sense exists prior to birth” (Frohock 28). In many ways it is similar to the decision to pull the plug on a comatose person. Here, one must decide whether or not to withdraw that which the person needs to survive. Yet the decision to terminate is not considered murder but an act of the deepest humanity, an opinion that contrasts greatly to the shame and animosity faced by an aborted mother during the time of the mass anti-abortion sentiment. How long would women suffer this mental anguish? (Haddok 132) Based on this information, presented in the Roe vs.
Wade case, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman was allowed by the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to receive an abortion before the first trimester. It now appeared that the pro-choice advocates had won the political tug-o-war at last. However, violence continues between the two groups as the animosity and resentment has grown to new heights. Now, more than ever, research articles are coming out about a woman’s right to privacy vs. a fetus’s right to life.
The law may have been passed, but the war goes on. It is difficult to gain valid and subjective information on the topic of abortion. This is because much of the research has been colored by the personal beliefs of the group or individual that collects it. There may not be an intentional or even conscious effort to skew the facts in this manner but it happens none the less. A person writing a paper on the tragic effect of abortion on society’s moral values may tend to twist the real statistics slightly to better serve his or her purpose. Another doing a paper on the same topic may use the previous one as a reference point and exaggerate the information even more. One can see how, very soon, the “facts” are no longer recognizable as truth. Another metamorphosis may occur in the way the original research is collected.
In order to prove a certain point, a researcher may choose to collect information in a very select genres of people instead of wide and random test groups taken from many diverse areas. A pro-choice researcher may poll a feminist rally while a pro-lifer may choose a Catholic organization. Thus the information becomes so varied and conflicting that the objective data gets lost in the muddle. It is a case of ignoring the whole truth and focusing on the part of it which best suits a specific person and their ideals. Unfortunately, because of this lapse, many Americans are confused as to the reality of the situation and tend to avoid it as we have a tendency to do with subjects we do not understand.
Others simply grab the information they like best and sling it at their opponents in the matter. The other side looks at this information and sees that it contrasts with their own. Thus they dismiss it as lies. It is a vicious circle and it has caused many deaths and injuries on both sides from riots, bombings, and fights. Carrie, a San Diego nurse in an abortion clinic, tells us what it was like when the building was bombed by pro-life supporters. “At the initial explosion, I was knocked to the floor.
A wave of heat burst through the room followed closely by the fire. Burning papers fell from my desk and caught on the leg of my scrubs. The pain was unbelievable! I now know what hell must be like. I began to crawl to the door when I heard a cry behind me. One of the young patients was running down the hall with her gown on fire.
I grabbed her and made her roll. Then we got out.. I suffered second and third degree burns on my legs and arms and my lungs were filled with smoke and had to be flushed out. Still, I am lucky to even be alive. Two of my best friends died in that bombing and several of my co-workers. I can not help but think now, that it is a bitter irony that the people who claim they are trying to save lives are killing people to accomplish it.” (Interview with Carrie) According to Jannet Lennelborg, “We must find an uncommon ground on this issue.”(18).
It is clear that these two groups will never join in their ways of thinking. There is too much passion and conflict involved in the debate. What we must do is find a compromise and “agree to disagree” (18). If, just for a moment, we could just stop the finger pointing and name calling, and just listen to what our so-called opponents have to say, we may find that both sides have their points. Only then can we stop the hatred and violence that has so ripped America in the last few decades. In conclusion, my research leads me to believe that, while abortion must be legal, a woman should also be provided with all the correct information she needs to make a responsible and rational decision. I believe that this is the only solution we can have which will conclude this “private war” once and for all.
The misinformation and violence surrounding this issue has turned human against human for far too long. Most of the negativity regarding the issue of abortion comes from the religious rights who believe that the right to the life of the fetus supercedes all else. Unfortunately there will always be a disparity between logic and religion. Bibliography Boyer, Mark. Abortion: The Straight Facts. Boston: Houghton Mifflan, 1992.
Cohen, Marshall. The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion. New Jersey: Princeton Press, 1978. ~Frohock, Fred. Abortion. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1989.
~Haddock, Martha. Abortion Today. New York: Doubleday, 1992. ~Interview- Interview with a former San Diego abortion clinic nurse who was present when it was bombed in 1985. ~Lunneborg, Patricia. Abortion: A Positive Decision.
New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1992. ~Messer, Ellen. Back Rooms. New York: St. Martin’s press, 1989. ~Rosenblatt, Rodger.
Life Itself. New York: Random House, 1993. ~Welton, K.B. Abortion..Is Not A Sin. California: Pandit Press, 1989.
191-95. ~Whitney, Catherine. Whose Life? New York: William Morrow and Co., 1992.