Alternative Points of View on the Abortion Debate Research Paper

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Abortion rates have been steadily decreasing in the United States, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still reports over 600,000 legal abortions per year (CDC, 2018). In spite of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, abortion remains a contentious public policy issue. The reason why this issue was selected for analysis is because it remains unresolved in public debate and reflects unfortunate schisms in American society. Rather than resort to vitriolic language, it would be more constructive to reach a consensus about abortion policy.

History and Background

Both from medical and legal perspectives the term abortion refers to different procedures used to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy (“Abortion Law and Legal Definition,” 2018, p. 1). Abortions can be medical or clinical. Medical abortions utilize pharmaceutical methods to terminate the pregnancy; a clinical abortion involves the use of specialized tools and procedures such as suction devices to terminate the pregnancy. The vast majority (more than 91%) of abortions are performed before the 13th week of gestation (“Abortion Fast Facts,” 2018). There has been some additional controversy over late-term and “partial birth” abortions (“Historical Attitudes To Abortion,” n.d., p. 1).

As long as women have been getting pregnant, they have been having abortions. Contrary to popular belief, abortion is not mentioned at all in either the Old Testament or the New, and was until recently an “accepted” practice that was certainly not criminalized (“Historical Attitudes to Abortion,” n.d., p. 1). In fact, abortion was not always a political issue in the United States. “There was a time when abortion was simply part of life in the United States. People didn't scream about it in protest, and services were marketed openly,” (Ravitz, 2016, p. 1). Historians believe abortion to have been “common in colonial America,” albeit hidden from view (“Historical Attitudes to Abortion,” n.d., p. 1). Due to a combination of factors, including changes to the medical profession itself, abortion gradually became stigmatized. By the middle to late nineteenth century in both England and the United States, abortion laws started to become more strident and eventually abortion became criminalized in American law around 1900 (“Historical Attitudes to Abortion,” n.d.).

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Abortion remained illegal until the 1973 case Roe v. Wade was brought before the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that women have the right to legal abortion based on the provisions in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution such as the citizen’s right to privacy. Since Roe v. Wade, anti-choice activists have continued to press for the re-criminalization of abortion either at the state…

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…encourage people to participate in healthy dialogue. One possible solution would be to promote more open communication between anti-abortion groups, those who believe that abortion should be illegal, and those who believe that it should be legal. Many people who believe that abortion should be banned for everyone might not have considered that their views hold no real footing in the realm of logic, reason, and law.

A second solution would be for pro-choice activists to invite those from the anti-choice camp to express their opinions openly and without judgement. Understanding that anti-choice individuals do not necessarily base their beliefs on the Bible, it may be helpful to hear alternative opinions related to why abortion is akin to the murder of a human being, and why a woman’s right to self-determination is subordinate the right of a cluster of cells to gestate for nine months. Dialogue might offer the opportunity to bridge the gap between disparate groups, and allow for sensible solutions.


The abortion issue has been discussed ad nauseam, framed from many different points of view. Neither side seems able to recognize the validity of the other’s, which highlights the social and political rifts in American society. Further research may reveal the best ways of demonstrating the need for more logical analysis of….....

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“Abortion Fast Facts,” (2018). CNN. Nov 23, 2018.

“Abortion Law and Legal Definition,” (2018).

Alvargonzález, D. (2017). Towards a non?ethics?based consensual public policy on abortion. The International journal of health planning and management, 32(1), e39-e46.

CDC (2018). CDCs abortion surveillance system FAQs.

Faúndes, A., & Miranda, L. (2017). Ethics surrounding the provision of abortion care. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 43, 50-57.

“Historical Attitudes to Abortion,” (n.d.). BBC.

Ravitz, J. (2016). The surprising history of abortion in the United States. CNN. 27 June, 2016.

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