Abortion Throughout History Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2447 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Abortion


Throughout history, abortion has been the subject of a lot of controversy, with it having both people supporting it and rejecting it. Even though it did not get sufficient attention until the last few centuries, the act has been practiced from the early ages, when people used various devices to terminate pregnancies. Whether it is discussed by the general public because of politics, or whether people have simply started to pay more interest to it, abortion is certainly a contentious topic.

While abortion is considered to be perfectly normal in some countries, it is punished by law in others, not to mention the fact that most religions (if not all) regard the performance as being equal to murder. In the present day, civilization has made it possible for abortion to be a normal occurrence and it can be justified by a series of factors, such as pregnancies being unwanted. Because the main cause for the practice of abortion is the fact that women get accidentally impregnated, abortion rates have gone down in the recent years thanks to matters like better sexual education and more efficient contraceptive services.

As present-day people have more means of avoiding getting unwanted pregnancies, society accepts abortion but still considers it to be immoral. There are several intervening factors in this condition, as people in poor countries have lesser chances of receiving proper sexual education and also have limited access to contraceptives.

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The first records of people performing abortion have been traced to the early ages, when pregnancies were ended with the help of plants inducing abortion, with putting pressure on the abdomen, with the help of sharp tools and through various other customs. Women in Ancient Greece were apparently subjecting themselves to intense physical exercise in order to rid themselves of pregnancies. Because of the level of civilization developed in the ancient world, people had become aware of the fact that sharp devices could perforate organs and were thus unacceptable in abortion procedures. Traditional remedies generally related to poisonous plants that would kill the fetus, but that would also have severe side effects.

Term Paper on Abortion Throughout History, Abortion Has Been the Assignment

Abortion procedures went on all across history and women became the method's main practitioners and instructors. Legality had nothing to do with the matter and law men preferred to keep their eyes closed whenever they heard news concerning it. No one seemed interested in condemning the act until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the Church and a number of state leaders started to press their cases against it.

Britain was the first country to pass the first strict anti-abortion laws in 1803, and, the laws had gotten more severe during the nineteenth century. States from the U.S. followed, making abortion illegal, with the only reason strong enough to motivate the procedure being that of saving a woman's life. Even with that, abortion supporters did not feel intimidated and continued to practice the act, knowing that law men would not press charges against them. The part of society that could not accept the practice of abortion brought forward strong arguments. They claimed that an educated society could not recognize a process that involved rough methods and tools that had not been sterile. Also, they succeeded in pressing their case due to the high mortality rate that resulted from abortions. There had been little doubts relating to the course of action, as people acknowledged abortion as being a crime.

Some of the reasons for which people categorized abortion as being a crime had been absurd. Most of the medical procedures from the nineteenth century lacked sterilized tools and the so-called tenderness that was absent from abortion. Moreover, these medical procedures existed because of people considering it absolutely necessary for them to become healthy. Most individuals oppressing abortion are believed to have acted because of their desire to condemn women enlarging their sphere of influence. They considered that it had been vital for them to have control over women, through any means possible. Thus, the problem had not necessarily been that abortion was not healthy and that it had been against the church, but that society had been dominated by men, and that they considered it immoral for women to go beyond their conventional child-bearing role.

Not only did men believe that their social position had been threatened by women wanting to decide when they want to give birth, but also that doctors would have their professions under pressure as a result of the growing number of midwives. The anti-abortion struggle materialized into antifeminist groups and medical institutions getting actively involved in the fight against the deed. While it is normally believed that feminist groups are promoting the concept of abortion, matters are actually different, as throughout history there has been a great number of influential feminists opposing the act.

Racists went as far as referring to women wanting to perform abortion as being guilty of race suicide. This has most probably been because birth rates among whites fell dramatically at the start of the nineteenth century. The industrial era had been yet another factor preventing women from expressing their desires, since they did not have the physical power required for them to work similar to men and their main role had returned to that of household workers.

The illegalizing of abortion did not have the effect that anti-abortionists expected. This happened because women did not need approval from the government in order to abort a pregnancy. With abortion having been made illegal, women had to resort to all sorts of life-threatening methods to terminate a pregnancy. This proves how people cannot be controlled by the justice system, as they are ready to risk death in order to complete their mission.

The world of abortions has been cruel during the time when the procedure was illegal. If a certain woman wanted to end her pregnancy in a medical environment, she would have to dispose of an enormous amount of money. Poor people were thus unprivileged, and had to subject themselves to risky medical procedures. There have even been reports of doctors performing abortions in exchange of sexual activities. Even when abortions took place under medical care, doctors were less caring, with the stress that they had been under making them predisposed to committing great errors.

The first half of the twentieth century has been a living hell when concerning illegal abortions and the victims that they left behind. Social statute and race were influential factors in these situations, with rich white women being among those who were fortunate enough to undergo a successful abortion.

Those lobbying against abortion refer to themselves as being pro-life, supporting the concept that it is depraved and illegal for people to perform abortions. In their opinion, fetuses are perfectly normal human beings that are entitled to practically all human rights available to those having experienced birth. Even though pro-life individuals agree to the fact that abortion is necessary in certain cases, they are reluctant to accept the theory that women voluntarily want to undergo abortion.

Ever since the seventies, abortion is no longer a taboo subject, with the general public starting to express its understanding towards unwanted pregnancies. People have reached the conclusion that the law system should not keep women from deciding whether or not they want to keep a pregnancy. Those that believe that people's preferences should not be influenced by their governments call themselves pro-choice. New York is one of the first states that allowed the practice, this leading to a large number of women from the surrounding states rushing in the state with the purpose of ending their unwelcomed pregnancies.

Abortion being legal does not actually mean that all women experiencing such an act walk away from it unharmed. Even to this day, the medical world has not reached a level when it can guarantee the safety of the person being subjected to the procedure.

Approximately twenty million abortions take place every year and as much as two hundred thousand women die because of the complications they encounter during the process. Apparently, most of the maternal deaths occurring as a result of abortion happen because of human errors, therefore that they could have been avoided.

When linked to religion, abortion is presumably inacceptable and stands as an atrocious crime. However, a large number of religions have been reported to display a less criticizing approach to abortion when it is motivated by certain circumstances. For example, Christianity and Islam acknowledge women who resort to the practice so as to avoid dying. Also, because Judaism does not consider the fetus to have a soul during the first forty days of the pregnancy, it is believed that it would not be immoral for it to be killed. In spite of the fact that women are generally known to stop at nothing when they desperately want an abortion, the procedure takes place at a smaller rate in religious societies. This is most probably due to religious communities expressing their dissatisfaction concerning the matter.

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