Social Analysis of Abortion in the USA - Essay Example

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Abortion is among the most debatable topics not only in the U.S. but also in other parts of the world. The discussions by the general public in the U.S. on the issue have put the focus on the women who should be considered in carrying out abortions in addition to the associated circumstances (Medoff, 2009). It is perceived that women who involve in abortion obtain less attention in addition to their reasons for taking part in the act. It is perceived that the largest percentage of women who carry out abortions do it because of intended pregnancies while a few abort because of health reasons or abnormalities in the fetus. It is important to note that apart from the unintended pregnancies, there are various explanations and life situations that prompt women to take part in the act (Finer, 2005). The focus of the analysis is to analyze what abortion entails including the economic, governmental, and other factors that led to the current policy, the demographic characteristics of the associated population and the impact of the policy on various groups, the policies, services, and programs that are targeted to assisting the impacted groups.

What abortion entails including the economic, governmental, and other factors that led to the current policy

Abortion simply entails the termination of pregnancy. The debate on the issue entails questioning if it is morally acceptable to do away with a pregnancy before the actual childbirth. Some individuals support it with the view that there are particular circumstances that justify the moral construct of the action while others deem it acceptable if the health of the mother is at risk. However, others perceive it to be immoral and abuse to the right to life. The issue of abortion has long since been a nag when it comes to government policies and the affected population. Araujo (1993) highlights the presence of demonstrations and protests for the government to change its opinion on the issue. He explains that the women have retained their liberties when it comes to abortion, but the argument between pro-life and pro-choice keeps on prevailing (Araujo, 1993).

Skahn (1980) explains that the constitutional debates regarding the legislation on abortion put into perspective the religious clauses found in the first amendment. He explains that the challenged legislation that entails whether the Medicaid funding on abortion should be restricted or the performance of the act should be regulated makes part of the anti-abortion views. He states, Arguments have been advanced that religious beliefs and values have played a predominant role in the enactment of such legislation and that the legislation, therefore, violates the Establishment Clause, (Skahn, 1980). He asserts that the challenger presents the argument that the presence of such a law is against the Free Exercise Clause' whereby, it puts a burden on women in regards to the religious choices they make for them to carry out abortions.

Daniel (2016) explain that the U.S. has experienced an immense expansion of abortion restrictions in various states from the year 2010. The scholars explain that informed consent statutes are among the most popular restrictions whereby women are expected to obtain an informational packet that is authorized by the state for them to receive an abortion. The laws also expect the presentation of information regarding possible alternatives and the risks associated with abortion in addition to the development of the fetus. According to the scholars, In Casey (505 U.S. at 916), the US Supreme Court affirmed three principles central to the constitutionality of informed consent laws: that the state has an interest in fetal life from the moment of conception, that the state could prefer childbirth over abortion, and that the state could enact regulations to ensure that a womans choice was thoughtful and informed (Daniel, 2016). The court viewed the principles to be in line with the right of a woman in regards to reproduction and privacy in regards to doctor-patient confidentiality. The feminist's groups have also been quite aggressive in promoting pro-life in the U.S. In the mid elections that took place in 2014, the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that focuses on advocating for pro-life, drew the attention of the media due to their anti-abortion candidates and improving the images regarding pro-life. The organization is among the feminist's groups that purpose to abolish abortion (Leinwand, 2015).

The abortion controversy was initiated by Roe v. Wade' in regards to the first amendment that expected all states not to forbid women from carrying out abortions during their first trimesters or putting up laws that do not associate with the maternal health from the first trimester to the viability. The decision in Roe v. Wade took into consideration the right of privacy for the woman whereby the Supreme Court viewed that the right was justified by the fourteenth amendment in regards to individual liberty. Therefore, there was a need for justifying the presence of a limitation in regards to the right as it was fundamental. Since no justification was present with respect to the first trimester, the court perceived a criminal policy that prevented abortions unless the life of the mother was compromised, to be unconstitutional. The courts decision prompted the argument on whether it was acceptable for abortion to be included in Medicaid funding. Between 1977 and 1979, the funding of abortion by Medicaid was limited as per the Hyde Amendment unless the life of the mother was in danger. By 1980, elective abortions were limited when it came to the Medicaid funding. The Mexico City policy which is also identified as the global gag rule developed in 1984 through Ronald Reagans administration whereby it employed harsh rules regarding anti-abortion on programs on family planning that were present abroad. Funds for family planning that were initially provided to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that were abroad by the U.S. were banned by the policy regardless of whether the organizations used funds that did not come from the government. The organizations facilitated counseling, referrals, abortion services in addition to advocating for more power on the laws on abortions in the respective countries. The gag rule has always excused foreign governments and the NGOS in the use when it is employed in regards to diplomatic reasons and constitutional basis respectively.


The affected population, in this case, are women who involve in abortion because of various reasons. According to a study done by Sedgh (2014), on the rates of pregnancy and the outcomes in terms of abortions and births on women between 15 and 19 years and 10 and 14 years in 21 countries, the rate of pregnancy for women between 15 and 19 years in the United States was the highest while the lowest rate was in Switzerland. The rates were also high in countries that were once part of the Soviet Union and also in Mexico and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The pregnancies that ended with abortion lay between 17% and 69% from Slovakia to Sweden. Countries with high teenage pregnancies such as the United States reported high rates of live births. It is perceived that the rates of pregnancy have declined from the 90s at least sixteen countries that were involved in the analysis. Daniel (2016) put into perspective the restriction laws whereby the laws are perceived to have a huge impact by which 66% of the women requiring abortion services are found in states with informed consent.

The Impact of the Policy

Currently, the gag rule is active in the U.S. after being imposed by Trump after four days on the seat as the U.S. president (Starrs, 2017). The policy has brought about serious disruptions to the foreign family planning effort of the U.S. The rule includes the bilateral family planning support by the U.S. and the international health support that is structured by all departments (Starrs, 2017). The NGOs that receive support from the U.S. which are present in both middle and low-income countries that focus on nutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria, Zika virus, the health of infants, maternal care and so forth, are perceived to experience the same restrictions employed on abortion. Starrs explains that various research indicates that the gag rule has not reduced abortion rates but instead increased the rates (2017). She states, NGOs in low-income settings often provide integrated health services; for instance, they offer patients contraceptive care, HIV prevention or treatment, maternal health screenings, immunizations, and information on safe abortion care all under one roof. By expanding the gag rule to the full scope of US global health aid, hundreds more national and local NGOs will be forced to choose between drastic funding cuts (if they decline to sign the gag rule) or denying their patients the information and services that are their right (if they sign, and can no longer provide or discuss abortion) (Starrs, 2017). She explains that most women who live in low-income areas may be limited when it comes to accessing adequate care in addition to the time that the care is required. In synopsis, the implications of the gag rule are yet to be felt with its current implications.



Araujo, R.J., (1993). Abortion, Ethics and the Common Good: Who are we? What do we want? How do we get there?. Marq. L. Rev., 76, 702-756

Daniels, C., (2016). Informed or Misinformed Consent? Abortion Policy in the United States. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 41(2), 1-30.

Finer, L., (2005). Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005, 37(3), 110118.

Leinwand, T.L., (2015). Strange Bedfellows: The Destigmatization of Anti-Abortion Reform. Columbia Journal of Gender Law, 529-550.

Medoff, M. H. (2009). The relationship between state abortion policies and abortion providers. Gender Issues, 26(3-4), 224.

Sedgh, G., (2015). Adolescent Pregnancy, Birth, and Abortion Rates across Countries: Levels and Recent Trends. Journal of Adolescent Health 56, 223-230.

Skahn, S.L., (1980). Abortion Laws, Religious Beliefs and the First Amendment. Valparaiso, 14(3), 487-526.

Starrs, A.M., (2017). The Trump global gag rule: an attack on US family planning and global health aid. New York: Guttmacher Institute.


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