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Posted on March 9th, 2013, by

Throughout the history induced abortion was the controversial point. In different times and countries abortion was restricted by laws, cultural and religious traditions and the scarcity of medical resources. The history of abortion criminalization in the USA began in 1820th. At the time of American Civil War the criminalization movement accelerated, and at the beginning of 20th century abortion became largely illegal in every state. Nevertheless, the back-alley and self-induced abortion were widely spread and abortion-related deaths continued to happen. The turning point in the history of abortion was decision of the Supreme Court on «Roe v. Wade» (1973). The Supreme Court ruled that abortion prohibition was unconstitutional. According to Supreme Court decision, state criminal abortion law violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Fourteenth Amendment protects citizens against state action the right to privacy. Supreme Court agreed that woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy is also protected by the Fourteenth Amendment until viability. Viability means possibility to live outside mother’s womb, or the state when «potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid». Explaining the viability, Roe v. Wade states that it is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. (Roe v. Wade, 1973).

Roe v. Wade divided people of America on two groups: pro-life and pro-choice, opponents of legal abortion and advocates, correspondently. National debates on this issue continue for today; within the recent decades some abortion laws were passed in different states. It can be said that for now abortion laws in the most of the states are stricter than it was in 1973.
My comment and personal position

Individual position on this issue depends on moral and religious beliefs. The religion freedom in the USA is one of the key reasons of abortion debates. The First Amendment protects freedom of religion, press and expression. The problem is that dogma of some religions, for example, some Christian confession, considers abortion to be a murder independently on viability. Thus, religion laws contradict to social laws, and this creates inner contradiction between the first and the fourteenth amendments.

Generally the abortion debate is not about the certain surgical operation. It is about more global issues: the value of human life, the definition of human life, the belief in the existence of the soul in humans, an at last, about the value of women in society. Most of these issues are regulated with Constitution. However, as it was stated above, there is an inner contradiction.

In this contradiction I choose the pro-choice position. In such contradictory ethical issues as a right for legal abortion, legal euthanasia, and some other issues, I believe that the citizenship rights, regulated by Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment, should dominate in these contradictions. Besides, I studied the statistical data related to this issue, and statistics proves that abortion restrictions don’t achieve its aim: to prevent or to decline abortion. The group of researchers in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studied 23 different abortion laws, both passed and actually enforced. They concluded that none of the restrictive law has had a significant impact on the abortion rate from 1982 to 1992. Mainly the abortion rate reflects urbanism, state funding of abortions and racial composition of the population (Meier et al, 1996).
Thus, the impact of the restrictive laws on the abortion rates is insufficient.

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