Abortion has been a key issue in United States politics since the time of Roe v Wade (the case that decided abortion was legal in the first trimester), but Abortion has a much longer history than that. Abortion has been used in a variety of forms since ancient times. Abortifacients (tools used for abortion) have included herbal medicines and sharp objects. Laws prohibiting abortion have been enacted since Ancient times as well. The controversy has spanned many centuries and has recently become an issue in developed countries such as the United States and the UK.
Most Christian religions are opposed to abortion. In 1974 the Catholic Church issued this statement about abortion, "The first right of the human person is his life . . . It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognize this right for some and not for others; all discrimination is evil. . . Any discrimination based on the various stages of life is no more justified any other discrimination. . . . In reality, respect for human life is called for from the time that the process of generation begins. From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth."
Declaration on Procured Abortion, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1974), paragraphs 11-12.
Some Facts about abortion:
- The heart starts beating between 18 and 25 days
- The brain and all body systems are present by 8 week and functioning a month later
- At 11-12 weeks, the baby is sensitive to heat, touch, light and noise
- Brain waves can be detected after 40 days
- The youngest baby to be born prematurely and survive was 22 weeks old and weighed 284 grams
- A Partial Birth Abortion can be obtained from 20 week until six months
Abortion can be defined as
"The termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus" and can be done using either surgical or medical techniques. Medical includes the use of drugs to terminate pregnancy, surgical is the use suction, manual or electric tools. A Partial Birth Abortion is "an abortion during with the person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery."
Supporters of abortion rights state that women who are forced to use illegal methods to abort their child sometimes end up maiming themselves or even killing themselves. They also state that a woman who is raped should not be forced to bear her rapist's child. Supporters state that a woman should have to right to decide what to do with her body and her fetus.