Topical Controversy Abortion Issues Part 3

About the major controversy surrounding abortion, a look at the issues of mental and physical dangers of abortion and more.




Issue: Is legal abortion physically or mentally dangerous?

Anti Abortion: Particularly in the last stages, abortion is more dangerous than childbirth. Women who have aborted a child sometimes have difficulty with future pregnancies. If a woman has two or more induced abortions, she is two to three times more likely to miscarry in the first trimester of later pregnancies. Having an abortion causes terrible mental anguish.

Pro Abortion: According to the Center for Disease Control, one death occurs in every 100,000 early abortions, while nearly 20 deaths occur in every 100,000 live deliveries. The suction-curettage abortion, used in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, is very safe. Only when the cervix is dilated too much, usually in a late abortion, does the woman run some risk of miscarrying in later pregnancies.

Pro-abortion Witness--Study from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science: "The feelings of guilt, regret, or loss elicited by a legal abortion in some women are generally temporary and appear to be outweighed by positive life changes and feelings of relief."

Issue: Is abortion really necessary with improved contraceptive measures?

Anti Abortion: Contraceptives are now so effective that a woman who becomes pregnant without wanting to is guilty of carelessness. To allow abortion is to open the door to its use as a contraceptive.

Pro Abortion: Birth-control methods do fail. The condom and diaphragm have failure rates of up to 15%, and while the birth-control pill offers greater success rates, it has dangerous side effects for many women. Women do not take abortion lightly. It is humiliating, expensive, and often painful, as anyone who has had one--legal or illegal--can tell you.

Anti Abortion: A study by Dr. Robin Badgley found that twice as many women were having repeat abortions in 1976 as in 1974, the year after the landmark Supreme Court decision. Almost half were not practicing contraception when they became pregnant the second time.

Pro-abortion Witness Dr. Christopher Tietze, Population Council: "There has been a marked increase in the use of contraceptives by both married and unmarried women since legal abortions became available."

Issue: Are abortion laws enforceable?

Pro Abortion: Before the 1973 Supreme Court decision, a million or more American women a year subjected themselves to criminal abortions, many by back-alley butchers. Some tried to abort themselves by forcing a coat hanger or a knitting needle into the uterus. From 5,000 to 10,000 women a year died from illegal abortions, and many developed terrible complications, such as peritonitis. Despite expense, pain, and risk, those women chose criminal abortion over childbirth. Abortion laws are not enforceable.

Anti Abortion: Our statistics show only 500 to 1,000 deaths a year from criminal abortions prior to 1973. Moreover, our concern is for the million innocent fetuses doomed to die. Cynically speaking, if abortion is again made illegal, criminal abortion will be much safer. The suction-curettage method is safe even in the hands of a person without medical training.

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