Partial Birth Abortion
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Abortion, is the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent life. When the expulsion from the womb occurs after the fetus becomes viable (capable of independent life), usually at the end of six months of pregnancy, it is technically a premature birth.
The practice of abortion was widespread in ancient times as a method of birth control. Later it was restricted or forbidden by most world religions, but it was not considered an offense in secular law until the 19th century. During that century, first the English Parliament and then American state legislatures prohibited induced abortion to protect women from surgical procedures that were at the time unsafe, commonly stipulating a threat to the womans life as the sole exception to the prohibition.Occasionally the exception was enlarged to include danger to the mothers health as well.
Religious Point of View
In all three of the worlds major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, abortion is not permitted. These religions advocate that abortion can only take place if there is a threat to the life of the mother. Another stipulation entails that, after three months of pregnancy abortion can not take place, for after that time period the fetus is given life.
In a passage from the bible (2 Kings 24:2-4) it is stated that, “The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets. Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lords command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive.” (Manasseh, Israels chief executive, had committed one particular sin–advocating the killing of children.) The laws of religion condemn the ending of any human life, no matter what form it is in.
Abortion, as a practice, is strictly prohibited, even in the most liberal of religions. Although the opposition would argue that it is against the concept of “the freedom to choose, but the religions are very clear on this front. The pro-choice movement states that it is a womans choice whether or not she wishes to give birth to the child in question, for it is her body and therefore, her right to choose what to do with it. But the religious leaders have reiterated the word of God, which is very clear on the subject.
Legal Point of View
No matter how you look at it, partial birth abortion is murder. If we look at the legal viewpoint, where the battle for life now stands, we see that the laws have followed the whim of the government in office. Legislative action in the 20th century has been aimed at permitting the termination of unwanted pregnancies for medical, social, or private reasons. In the late 1960s liberalized abortion regulations became widespread. The impetus for the change was threefold: (1) Infanticide and the high maternal death rate associated with illegal abortions, (2) A rapidly expanding world population, (3) The growing feminist movement. By 1980, countries where abortions were permitted only to save a womans life contained about 20 percent of the worlds population. Countries with moderately restrictive laws-abortions permitted to protect a womans health, to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, to avoid genetic or congenital defects, or in response to social problems such as unmarried status or inadequate income-contained some 40 percent of the worlds population.
Abortions at the womans request, usually with limits based on physical conditions such as duration of pregnancy, were allowed in countries with nearly 40 percent of the worlds population. In the United States, legislation followed the world trend. The moderately restrictive type of abortion law was adopted by 14 states between 1967 and 1972. Alaska, Hawaii, New York, and Washington legislated abortion on request with few restrictions. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Roe v. Wade, declared unconstitutional all but the least restrictive state statutes.
Noting that induced early abortions had become safer than childbirth and holding that the word person in the Constitution of the United States “does not include the unborn,” the Court defined, within each of the three stages of pregnancy, the reciprocal limits of state power and individual freedom: (a) During the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant womans attending physician. (b) After the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health. (c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate and even proscribe abortion, except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
Analysis and Arguments
Opponents, supported by the religious institutions the world over, in particular the Catholic church, of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, argued that a fetus is entitled as a “person” to constitutional protection, and attacked the decision on a variety of fronts. State legislative bodies were lobbied for statutes narrowing the implications of the decision and circumscribing in several ways the mothers ability to obtain