Abortion a Basic Health Care Right

Abortion a Basic Health Care Right
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Abortion has been a topic of debate in American politics and culture long before U.S. Supreme
Court declared abortion as a fundamental right on January 22, 1973. This debate is still ongoing
between pro-choice that supports legalized abortion and pro-life that supports anti-abortion. Even
though abortion is legal, 43 states still have restrictions on abortion based on gestational age with
exception to save life or physical health of the women (Guttmacher Institute. 2017). According
to Center for Disease Control and Prevention 664,435 legal abortions were reported from 49
reporting areas in 2013 (Jatlaoui, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to support my stance on
women’s choice for abortion as a basic health care right.
Abortion a Basic Health Care Right
Topic of abortion would surely date back to the beginning of civilization with debates on
abortion as taking life, which would go against the religious belief, and women having abortion
for personal reasons such as health and economy. From religious and social point abortion is
frowned upon, subjecting the act with shame and fear. Women give birth to rape pregnancy as it
is believed that to take a child’s life as a response to the crimes of her father is, in the Catholic
understanding, not an option similarly abortion for medical condition or life-saving treatment is
also not an option and viewed as deliberate killing (Stephens, Jordens, Kerridge, & Ankeny
2010). At the same time women are made to suffer with choices made by the government or the
community. In 1791 Philadelphia newspaper reported that Sarah Pewell a domestic servant of
William Birth died after taking powder for abortion given by William. (Philadelphi, 1791 as
cited in Frasca, 2016).
Griswold v. Connecticut was the first case where Supreme Court declared that a state law
which prohibited the use and distribution of contraceptives was unconstitutional. Abortion was
made legal in United States by Supreme Court when it handed down the landmark Roe v. Wade
decision on January 22, 1973. The ruling supported women’s right of freedom and privacy to
make personal medical decision, which meant women could chose to have abortion or not
without government interference. But at the same time court announced a trimester approach
where government could prohibit abortion at the stage subsequent to viability, which ment
during the third trimester state can deny abortion unless it is necessary to save the life or health
of the mother (Chemerinsky, & Goodwin, 2017).
Position on this issue
Since abortion was made legal it has gained attention of policy makers nationwide, from
both pro-choice and pro-life supporters. President Trump and vice President Pence have made it
very clear that they are against abortion. President Trump on January 23, 2017 signed an
executive order to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which blocked the funding for international
NGOs that offered abortion services and related information for family planning (Collins, E.
2016). In a letter to pro-life leaders, he expressed his view of nomination pro-life justice to the
U.S Supreme Court, signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, defund
planned parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortion and make Hyde Amendment
permeant law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions (personal communication,
Mike Pence voted for S3- Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which amends the
Federal criminal code to prohibit any physician or other individual from knowingly performing a
partial-birth abortion, except when necessary to save life of a mother whose life is endangered by
a physical disorder, illness or injury (CRS. 2003). He also voted in the senate supporting anti-
planned parenthood bill that would support state to withhold federal funds from planned
parenthood and healthcare providers that perform abortion (Gaudiano, 2017). Representative
Duncan Hunter and Tom Price who is the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Service have
sponsored H.R.618-Right to Life Act and H.R.552-Right to Life Act that defines “human being
and human person to encompass all stages of life including but not limited to fertilization or
conning(CSR. 2005, 2007). Other than individuals there are groups like The Pro-Life Caucus,
National Right to Life, National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus that support and fight against
abortion laws.
At the same time, we have organizations like National Abortion Federation, Planned
Parenthood, NARAL and Emily’s List that support women’s freedom and abortion. With recent
win on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, court ruled out against two provisions of a Texas
TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) that imposed restrictions on delivery of
abortion services and on women seeking abortion (Claxton, 2017).
Senators like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Shelley Moore Capito and house
representative Charlie Dent, Rodney Feelinghuysen, Lyn Jenkins and Greg Walden are few from
republican party that supports pro-choice. They represent groups like Republican Majority for
Choice and Republican for choice. Advocates like Janet Robert who is the president of
Democrats for life of America have helped in introducing Pregnant Women Support Act which
was sponsored by representative Davis Lincoln. This help to provide support and options for
women facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies (CRS, 2009).
Nursing involvement
Nurses like any other member of the society is influenced by the topic of abortion, but
with years of education and working in the field of providing health care I believe we are open to
the concept of patient making personal choice. Situation may be about abortion, or patient
choosing to sign out against medical advice, or health care proxy choosing to have everything
done for a 100 year old family member, we are taught to provide accurate knowledge that would
help them make the right decision and to be empathetic. And if situation does arise where
personal belief conflict with work, we are instructed to escalate the issue to our leaders. With
advancement in abortion procedures, nurses have started to give medication such as cytotech that
would chemically induce abortion (Bugalho, Bique, Almeida, & Faundes, 1993). Since this
brings the nurse away from bedside care and involve in actual process of abortion act it can
conflict with personal beliefs, leading to a conscientious objection (Lachman, 2014). Nurses are
also at a prominent position to care and guide patient by educating on topics of abortion care and
preventive measures that can be used for future. Nurses can educate about community resources
such as planned parenthood that provides counseling and education, and city programs that
provide free contraceptives.
Ethical concerns.
The abortion debate on ethical concerns asks whether it is right to abort a child or is it
morally wrong to take a life. Despite the US Supreme Court declaring abortion to be a
fundamental right to a personhood, it remains an ethically contentious subject. The two groups
that have valid arguments on the debate are pro-life and pro-choice. My choice would be the
latter because I believe that it is a fundamental right of a woman to have 100% control over her
own body. Reproductive choice empowers a woman’s independence and determines her future
by giving her the choice to when and whether to have a child. It gives her the ability to
participate equally in the economic and social life in a family, community and country. Pro-life
believes that abortion is a murder, which defies the word of god. They believe life begins at
conception and fetuses feel pain during abortion (Kolb, 1981). As a pro-choice believer
personhood begins after a fetus is born and not at conception. According to a study fetuses can’t
feel pain until the 29th or 30th week of gestation (Lee, Ralston, Drey, Partridge, & Rosen (2005).
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated that the right to privacy defended in Roe v. Wade as
“utterly idiotic”.
Pro-life argues that abortion causes psychological damage (Pedersen, W. 2008), but
according a peer-reviewed study the mental health of a woman who denied abortion felt more
regret and anger and less relief and happiness when compared to a woman who received abortion
(Rocca, Kimport, Gould, & Foster 2013). Studies also show that women induce abortion through
unsafe measures particularly in restrictive states like Texas where more than 100,000 women in
that state attempt abortion outside clinical settings (Jerman, Jones, & Onda, (2016). According to
the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008, 21.6 million women experience an unsafe
abortion worldwide with 47,000 maternal deaths from complications of unsafe abortion each
year. By taking away the reproductive choice of a woman it keeps her at a financial advantage
and takes away the freedom of choice. According to Sep. 2005 survey in the peer-reviewed
Perspectives on Sexual and reproductive Health 42% of women having abortion were below the
federal poverty line, 73% could not afford having baby and 38% thought giving birth would
interfere with their education and career goals (Guttmacher Institute, July 2014. Finer, Frohwirth,
Dauphinee, Singh & Moore, 2005). Therefore, I believe a baby should not come into the world
unwanted since it is an important decision that requires a lot of consideration, preparation and
Options for resolving the issue.
Politicians play a critical role in resolving this issue. By supporting programs like
Planned Parenthood, and by providing free birth control, sex education and emergency
contraceptives we could decrease the abortion rate without taking away the freedom of privacy.
Abortion is an issue that results from lack of planning, lack of education, non-use of
contraceptives and unaffordable contraceptive /birth control services. According to a study
substantial number of women wanted to stop or delay childbearing but didn’t have access to the
contraceptive supplies and services, his was due to the lack of knowledge, fear of side effects and
social and familial disapproval (Bongaarts & Bruce 1995). However, due to education, which
brings awareness, contraceptives are no longer considered unsafe that causes health issues.
People are aware that is a safe and an effective measure to avoid unintended pregnancy. Thus,
rising contraceptive use especially in countries like Singapore, Republic of Korea and the United
States resulted in decrement of unintended pregnancy (Wilkie, 1981; Marston & Cleland 2003).
Study showed that in the United States rise in contraceptive use was responsible for 13%
decrement in unintended pregnancy between 2008 and 2011 (Jones & Jerman 2017). There was
also a significant decline of 77% in the adolescent pregnancy for women age 15-17 years
because of improvements in contraceptives, usage of condoms and birth control pills (Santelli,
Lindberg, Finer, & Singh 2007).
Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides care to everyone regardless of their
age, status and ability to pay. The goal of this organization is to provide, promote and defend
access to care to patients around the world. It provides sexual and reproductive health education
to millions of women, men and young adults, provides contraceptives, increase access to
treatment for complications from unsafe abortion, increase access to safe abortion care, provides
counseling and advocate for laws and policies promoting women’s health (Planned parenthood,
2017.). It is a measure to ensure all women, men and young people in the world’s most rural
places to get access to health care they need to take control for their body and future.
Awareness and education is important for women to know that they have options and a
choice but at the same time counseling also plays a significant role to avoid the risk of
psychological damage like depression. Counseling is also a vital part of the service to ensure that
all women are well informed and comfortable so that they take nonjudgmental decisions for their
future. More than half of all U.S. abortion patients in 2014 were in their 20s. Patients aged 20-24
obtained 34% of all abortions. The main reason behind their choice were because of their
concern for or responsibility of parenthood, low-income and inability to afford to raise a child
and the belief that having a child at that age would be a burden and would interfere with their
school and work (Jerman, Jones, & Onda, 2016). According to a patient, who visited the Planned
Parenthood county hospital in San Francisco, she expressed how the counselor made sure to talk
with her regarding all the procedures and made her feel that it is normal to be afraid and sad. She
could have been completely bewildered in the mental pain she was going through, but because of
counseling the choice of abortion was less stressful. Similarly, there were others who had such
experience and due to counselling now the feel comfortable using contraceptive measures. They
expected a crowded setting in the hospital but were shocked to see how patients were assisted
with individual care. They learned that not being able to afford private medical care didn’t mean
they cannot afford counseling from the Planned Parenthood organization (House &
Goldsmith,1972). Therefore, I believe Planned Parenthood is necessary since it gives patients the
right to information access, safety, privacy, comfort, dignity and most importantly a freedom of
preferred Solution
The solution I prefer to resolve the issue of unintended pregnancy is Planned Parenthood
because it makes people aware of using improved contraceptives like condoms, birth pills and
emergency contraceptives – plan b. It is a safe and an effective measure to avoid unintended
pregnancy and childbirth. According a study, since the 1960s in many developing countries there
has been a substantial portion of women who wanted to delay childbirth. The results from the
study indicated that due to unmet needs for contraceptives and lack of information being the
main reason behind expanding family planning. There were 120 million women in developing
countries that were unaware and not taking birth control or contraceptives practices due to lack
of knowledge and information. Women did not use contraceptives not simply because they were
not aware of it but because they didn’t use it as a remedy since they feared side effects such as
psychological damage of health and peer pressure of social and familial disapproval. This lead to
a program that provided a service to the community which is to reach the homes or places of
families and influence them to change their cultural and familial factors that was a barrier to a
safe measure to avoid unintended pregnancy. These programs were most successful when it
reached the home environments of women who lived in rural areas or environment beyond the
conventional boundaries where there were poor services to provide information and awareness
about improved contraceptives (Bongaarts, & Bruce, 1995). In Mexico City where oral
contraceptives and several emergency contraceptives are easily accessible, patients believe in
emergency contraceptives and express how it should be even more widely available such as in
schools and vending machines. They believe that the knowledge and information of improved
contraceptives should reach the entire city by the mass media and elsewhere. Moreover, they
promise to reduce the unintended pregnancy and abortion rate by taking part in campaigns that
promotes emergency contraceptives that would provide knowledge, attitudes and practices
regarding the methods of modern contraceptives. They had a cautious support for emergency
contraceptive which was an effective measure to reduce the unintended pregnancy rate of the city
(Langer, Harper, Garcia-Barrios,Schiavon, Heimburger, Elul & Ellertson 1999). According to a
study improved contraceptive use did prove to decline adolescent pregnancy rate in the United
States. The data showed women from 15 to 17 years of age who used improved contraceptive,
which included increasing use of condoms, and birth control pills brought 77% decline in
pregnancy risk (Santelli, Lindberg, Finer & Singh 2007). Unintended pregnancy rate has also
reduced in countries like Bulgaria, Turkey, Tunisia and Switzerland as the prevalence of modern
contraceptives use rose (Marston & Cleland 2003) 40-50% of abortion rate has also declined due
to improved contraceptives and nonrestrictive laws for abortion in countries like Denmark,
Finland, Japan and Italy (Henshaw, Singh & Haas 1999).
Studies have proven that there is strong relation between demographic factors and less
effective use of contraceptives. Minority and low-income women are less likely to use
contraceptive than women who has a steady high income due to differences in knowledge and
attitudes toward contraceptives and pregnancy. Minority or low-income women are at more risk
of experiencing unintended pregnancy as well as teen pregnancy than higher income women.
According to a survey 9% of Whites, 12% Hispanics and 15% of Blacks do not use
contraceptives. This is due to lower levels of education, cultural based myths and differences in
familial communication about reproductive health (Dehlendorf, Rodriguez, Levy, Borrero &
Steinauer 2010).
Therefore, I strongly believe that both knowledge of Planned Parenthood and free access
to improved contraceptives could be one of the best ways to resolve the issue of unintended
Bongaarts, J., & Bruce, J. (1995). The causes of unmet need for contraception and the social
content of services. Studies in family planning, 57-75.
Bugalho, A., Bique, C., Almeida, L., & Faundes, A. (1993). The effectiveness of intravaginal
misoprostol (Cytotec) in inducing abortion after eleven weeks of pregnancy. Studies in
family planning, 319-323.
Chemerinsky, E., & Goodwin, M. (2017). Abortion: A Woman’s Private Choice. Texas Law
Review, 95(6), 1189-1247.
Collins, E. (2016, September 16). Trump announces 'pro-life coalition,' supports making Hyde
Amendment permanent. Retrieved from
Claxton, K. L. (2017). Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt. Ohio NUL Rev., 43, 257.
CRS. (2003). S.3 - Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Retrieved from
https://www.congress.gov/bill/108th-congress/senate-bill/3?q=%7B%22search %22%
3A% 5B%22S+3%22%5D%7D
CRS. (2005). H.R.552 - Right to Life Act. Retrieved from
https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th- congress/house-bill/552
CRS. (2007). H.R.618 - Right to Life Act. Retrieved from
CRS. (2009). H.R.2035 - Pregnant Women Support Act
. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/2035
Dehlendorf, C., Rodriguez, M. I., Levy, K., Borrero, S., & Steinauer, J. (2010). Disparities in
Family Planning. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 202(3), 214–220.
Frasca, R. (2016). Abortion in the Early American Press: Secular and Catholic Approaches to the
Pre-Born Child. U.S. Catholic Historian, 34(1), 27-51.
Gudiano, N. (March 30, 2017). With Vice President Pence breaking tie, Senate passes anti-
Planned Parenthood bill. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news
Guttmacher Institute. (2017). An Overview of Abortion Law. Accessed from: http://
Guttmacher Institute. (2014). "Induced Abortion in the United States," Retrieved from
Henshaw, S. K., Singh, S., & Haas, T. (1999). Recent trends in abortion rates worldwide.
International family planning perspectives, 44-48.
House, E. A., & Goldsmith, S. (1972). Planned parenthood services for the young teenager.
Family Planning Perspectives, 4(2), 27-31.
Last Name, F. M. (Year). Article Title. Journal Title, Pages From - To.
Last Name, F. M. (Year). Book Title. City Name: Publisher Name.

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