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A Short History Of Reproductive Politics In America

2526 words - 10 pages

Abortion refers to a medical procedure which at times is surgical, that is used to terminate an ongoing pregnancy by expulsion of the placenta and the fetus before it is mature or viable. There are several reasons why abortion may be procured. Some reasons could be personal in the case of a pregnancy that was not planned for, others could be medical. Medical reasons could be a wide range but focusing on the health of the mother or the baby. If carrying a pregnancy to term would affect the health of the mother either physically or mentally an abortion would be recommended (Solinger 2005).cited with MLA styles When abortion is done in consideration to the health of the unborn child it is when it’s determined that the child could have dire mental or physical disabilities. The mode and means undertaken to perform the process depend on how advanced the pregnancy is, the safety and also in some cases the legality.
Abortion has been performed for long periods of time and has been passed over the generations. The methods used have evolved over these generations with some proving fatal and others working like they had been expected to. In recent times, abortion can be performed safely due to numerous advances in technology and in medicine. Before 1973 abortion was not legal in the U.S and various methods were used in procuring abortions. Some of these were crude in every sense and were performed in back-alleys either, by medical professionals or by crooks (Solinger 2005). Many a time, they proved fatal to the young women who sought them and resulted in death. Some died of the abortion procedure itself while many more died of infections after the procedure. As a result, many women struggled to keep abortions a secret due to its illegality and fear of damaging their reputations and tarnishing their names, thus opting to suffer in silence.
In the period around 1960 the number of women procuring abortions had reduced as compared to the period around 1930. The great depression of the economy had forced women to take up birth control as people tightened their belts to survive the harsh economic times. Due to this any unwanted pregnancy had high chances of being terminated. As much as abortions were many they were considered relatively safe during this period even after taking into account that several medical breakthroughs like the discovery of penicillin had not taken place as of yet (Reagan 1997). In 1939 majority of medical students in institutions in the U.S admitted that if abortion were to be legalized they would willingly perform it. A large number of them set up clinics as Leslie expresses in her book ‘When Abortion Was a Crime’ which were equipped with qualified doctors and other medical staff like trained nurses as well as midwives. These clinics operated in contradiction with the present laws of the time.
After the Second World War women’s rights suffered a major blow and independent women who had jobs away from the...

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