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Abortion access: All sides of the issue

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abortion definition About abortion:

Abortion access is a very active topic on the Internet! Google found over 8.6 billion hits for "pro-life" on 2020-OCT-12. That is more than 1 reference for every person on Earth! They also found over 3.2 billion hits for "pro-choice."

During 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion access if it is performed before the fetus is viable. Their ruling was in the case Roe v. Wade.

During late 2020, a national poll of registered voters was conducted by the Washington Post and ABC. It found that about 62% of the U.S. adult population favors abortion access, 24% would like Roe v. Wade overturned, and 14% have no opinion. The poll's margin of error was +/- 3.5 percentage points. 1

There are three main types of Internet web sites that discuss abortion:

  1. An enormous number of pro-life sites that are dedicated to the elimination of women's access to most or all abortions.

  2. A smaller number of pro-choice sites are dedicated to maintaining access to abortions under most or all situations. This is often called "abortion on demand.;" however, "abortion on request" might be a more accurate term.

  3. A handful of neutral educational sites are dedicated to supplying information and helping people reach personal conclusions about abortion.

This web site, ReligiousTolerance.org, is in the third category. It discusses all points of views on abortion-related topics. We explain the full spectrum of pro-life beliefs and the full diversity of pro-choice beliefs. Because of this, you will probably find some parts of our essays infuriating even as you will affirm the accuracy of other parts.

Still, in order for you to be most effective advocate for your position:

  • If you take a pro-life position, you will need to know what "pro-choicers" believe and why they believe it.

  • If you take a pro-choice position, you will need to know what "pro-lifers" believe and why they believe it.

  • If you haven't decided on a position, you will need of the full range of arguments from all sides in order to settle on a personal position.

This web site discusses many topics:

  • 1: Abortion decisions: This involves a pregnant woman -- perhaps after having consulted with:
    • her physician;
    • her spiritual counselor;
    • the male who provided the spermatozoon that caused the conception and the subsequent pregnancy; and
    • any friends, family, or agencies who might help or influence her --

deciding whether she would like to carry the embryo or fetus to term, or end the pregnancy by obtaining an abortion.

  • 2: Core agreements and disagreements:
    • There should be little disagreement about when human life begins. According to the scientific definition of "life," something must have five properties before it is considered alive. An ovum lacks one of these; it cannot reproduce and create two ova. A spermatozoon lacks the same property because it cannot divide and produce two spermatozoa. However, when the process of conception is completed, the resultant zygote satisfies all five properties. Sometimes a zygote will divide and start a pregnancy that leads to identical twins being born. Thus, life begins at the zygote stage, after conception. Also, since she or he contains human DNA, the zygote is a form of human life.

    • A few cultures teach that a newborn only becomes a human person after a naming ritual. However, for the vast majority of cultures, there is little disagreement that newborn baby is both a form of human life, and is also a human person.

    • There a great deal of disagreement about when a human life develops human person-hood.
      • Many, perhaps most, pro-lifers believe it happens at conception.

      • Most pro-choicers believe it happens later in the pregnancy process, perhaps when:
        • the embryo's heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound, or
        • when it loses its gill slits and tail, and looks vaguely human, or
        • at quickening when the mother first feels the fetus move, or
        • when the fetus' higher brain functions first turn on so that she or he can sense the environment to some degree, or
        • when the fetus is half-emerged from its mother's body, or
        • at birth, or
        • when the newborn takes her or his first breath, or
        • when the umbilical cord is severed and the newborn becomes separated from her or his mother.

    It is very important to resolve this disagreement over when human person-hood begins. This is because many people believe that when a human life becomes a human person, an abortion should be banned or at least highly restricted to cases where the mother's health or life is threatened, or perhaps when the fetus is so malformed that there is no possibility that she or he can survive outside the womb.

    • Dialog is the most effective method of resolving this. Unfortunately is very rarely seen.

This web site is one of the very few locations on the Internet where both sides of the abortion dilemma are discussed fully and, we believe, with a minimum of bias.

  • 3: Abortion access: whether the government should limit access to abortion and, in some cases, veto the woman's decision to seek an abortion.

  • 4: Methods of reducing the abortion rate by:
    • Pregnancy prevention: providing education, motivation, information, and free or low cost contraceptives in order to prevent unwanted/unexpected pregnancies, and

    • Introducing support programs for mothers who are single, poor, and/or a student, so that more pregnant women will be able to afford to give birth to and be able to raise the child.

There is one point over which we dig in our heels and take a strong stand: We feel that all women considering an abortion should be fully informed, and be as free as possible -- within the constraints of laws, -- from outside manipulation from friends and family members, and allowed to decide freely what she wants.

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Webmaster's advocacy:

I advocate the following programs to minimize unwanted pregnancies and abortions:

  • Comprehensive sex education in all schools: religious and secular.

  • Free distribution of contraceptive supplies.

  • A program that is well funded by governments to develop artificial wombs -- a.k.a. biobags -- so that instead of killing a human life or murdering a human person before birth, an embryo or fetus could be transferred to a medical device and nurtured until they are able to survive on their own, and later be adopted. The first biobag for lamb fetuses was developed by researchers in Philadelphia and successfully took lamb fetuses from the equivalent to a 24-week human fetus to birth. 2 Such devices should be developed for humans, be mass produced, and widely distributed. Unfortunately, this option does not seem to have a high priority. To our knowledge, no artificial wombs are available at this time for human embryos or fetuses.

  • Free pre-natal care for all pregnant women. Too many pregnant women living in countries like the U.S. which lack universal health care, receive their first medical attention for their pregnancy when they are already in labor. As a result, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) -- the number of women dying while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of their pregnancy per 100,000 live births -- is high. Examples during 2015 ran from 3 in Finland, Greece, Iceland and Poland, to 14 in the U.S., to 1,360 in Sierra Leone! 3

    Also, without high quality medical facilities, the infant mortality rate is high. It is expressed as the number of deaths of infants under one year of age occurring among 1,000 live births. Examples are: Afghanistan 110.6; Pakistan: 52.1; Brazil: 17.5; U.S.: 5.8; Canada: 4.5; Cuba: 4.4; Bermuda: 2.5; Monaco: 1.8. 4

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pregnancy image Topics covered in this section:

bullet

star The root causes and resolutions of three major, current religious/secular conflicts, including abortion access (duplicated elsewhere):

bullet

star symbol Basic terms:

  • The Morality of Abortion.
  • Women's Access to Abortion.
  • Terminology. Definitions.
  • Why This Website is Different. <<< We recommend that you read this essay first.

bullet

Abortion. An apparently unsolvable dilemma?:

We recommend that you read these essays next.

  • Part 1: Definition of terms. The main questions about abortion. How often are abortions performed in the U.S.?

  • Part 2: Various beliefs about when human person-hood starts. Conflicting beliefs about abortion access

  • Part 3: Conflicting beliefs (Cont'd). Status of the pro-life and pro-choice groups. Abortion access. Both the number and the rate of abortions are dropping in the U.S. Special case: fetus born alive during a failed abortion.
     
bullet

Full disclosure: the personal beliefs about abortion access by the main author of this web site.


bulletA detailed discussion of human "Person-hood" and when it begins during pregnancy  <<< The new battleground

bulletAre our essays credible?

bulletQuotations and books about abortion access

bulletconception Basic facts about pregnancy and abortion; public opinion:
bullet Definitions
bullet The processes of pregnancy : What a developing pre-embryo, embryo, and fetus look like
bullet Basic facts.
bullet Stages in the process from before conception to childbirth
bullet Definition of terms related to abortion and pregnancy
bullet Views on the morality of abortion: pro-life, pro-choice, & 2 other POVs
bullet Why do women have abortions?
bullet Abortion data. <<< Important
bullet Why are some abortions performed late in pregnancy?
bullet Abortion methods: D&X (a.k.a. PBA); RU-486 (a big section); surgical abortions....)
bullet Public opinion polls. <<< Important
bullet Ectogenesis: the development of artificial wombs
bullet Womb transplants.
 
bullet  Reducing the abortion rate <<< A future trend?
bullet Via minimizing unwanted pregnancies -- a new trend
bullet Via social programs and technology
bullet Contraceptives
bullet Emergency contraception (a.k.a. morning-after pill)
 
bulletReligious/ethical aspects
bullet When is an abortion OK?
bullet Pro-life, pro-choice and other positions.
bullet What the Bible says.
bullet Beliefs of religious groups.
bullet Clinic violence.
bullet Embryos in fertility clinics.
bullet Use of fetal tissue to treat very serious burns.
 
bulletstarLaws, constitution amendments, party platforms and court rulings:
bulletNorth American:
bullet Roe v. Wade
bullet Democratic Party platform 2004 & 2008; Republican Party platform 2012
bullet Will Roe v. Wade be overturned and abortion re-criminalized?
bullet star State laws criminalizing or restricting abortion (South Dakota, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Utah, etc)
bullet

star 2017-JAN until now:

  • The U.S. Federal "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act"
  • Trump Administration promises an end to all U.S. abortions and physician assisted suicide (PAS)

bullet FACE,
bullet Human Life Amendment (Colorado)
bullet RICO,
bullet Parental consent & notification laws,
bullet "Choose life" license plates....
bullet State bills banning all abortions 
bullet "Personhood" "Heartbeat" and "Fetal Pain" bills, laws and amendments
bullet Abortion laws in Canada
 
bulletAbortion access outside of North America:
bullet The "Mexico City" policy. Also, abortion in
bullet Mexico City
bullet Ireland
bullet Northern Ireland
bullet Uruguay
bullet Portugal

bulletDo abortions lead to medical problems later in life?
bullet Cancer,
bullet Infertility,
bullet Miscarriage,
bullet Post abortion syndrome....
 
bulletMisc. Items
bullet Genetic items.
bullet Personal E-mails & essays.
bullet starItems in the news
bullet Information sources
bullet Books
bullet star Getting help...

bulletCurrent news feeds:
bullet Secular news feed.
bullet Pro-life news feed.
bullet Pro-choice news feed,

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Disclaimer:

This, and similar medical and legal information essays on our website, are intended as a general educational aid to the public. If the topics covered are of direct concern to you, we strongly recommend that you consult a qualified healthcare professional who can review your unique situation before you reach a decision or take any action.

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Do you have a personal  story related to abortion that you would like to share with other readers to this website?  Please consider writing it down and E-mailing it to us. We will consider publishing it in this section. We will keep your name and identity absolutely confidential if you wish.

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Notes:

  • We use the popular meaning of "life" here to include ova and spermatozoa. Some scientists use a very strict definition of the word "life" which does not include ova and spermatozoa because they cannot, by themselves, reproduce. That is, one ovum cannot split and generate two ova. Also, one spermatozoon cannot split and produce two spermatozoon.

  • An interesting and unbiased article titled "The Abortion Debate" is available on QuickOverview at: http://www.quickoverview.com/

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Links to other web sites:

The following hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Scott Clement & Emily Guskin, "A slim majority of voters oppose Barrett hearings, though a consistent majority support high court upholding Roe v. Wade, Post-ABC poll finds," 2020-OCT-12, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  2. Olga Adereyko, "Artificial Womb for Humans: A Step Forward in Survival for Premature Babies," Health Insights, at: https://flo.health/
  3. "List of countries by maternity mortality ratio," Wikipedia, as on 2019-SEP-18, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  4. "Infant Mortality Rate by Country," World Atlas," at: https://www.worldatlas.com/

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Copyright 1996 to 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 1996-OCT-12
Author: Bruce A Robinson

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