For every three pregnant women in America, one of them will choose to have an abortion (Dudley). Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy before birth. There two types of abortionist groups; one of the groups is Pro-Choice, meaning; they believe women should have the freedom and right to determine whether or not to have an abortion. The other group is Pro-Life, a group that includes many members that has religious roots and considers abortion an unjustifiable sin. The Pro-Life group believes abortion is immoral and considers it to be murder. The Pro-Life group was founded in June 1973 (Terkel 96, 97). Birth control, abortion procedures and emotional factors are important when deciding to have an abortion.

There are many types of birth control, although some methods of birth control help to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. D.E.S., known as the morning after pill, is one type of birth control that forces the fertilized egg to be expelled from the body before the egg is implanted in the uterus; this form of birth control is usually chosen by rape victims (Terkel 44). I.U.D., also known as intrauterine device, is a device that prevents the egg from implanting in the uterus, although this method is not used very often in abortions (“Abortion” 14). The most popular form would most likely be RU-486. This type of birth control was founded by a French biochemist, Dr. Etienne-Emile Beaulieu. RU-486 works by blocking the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. Therefore, the lining breaks off as in a normal menstrual cycle and expels the egg (“Abortion” 14).

Induced abortion occurs when the fetus has attached to the uterus and has already developed a placenta. The placenta is the protective sac from which all nourishment is received. This form of abortion takes place when the fetus is forced out of the womb. Using a variety of chemical, herbal, mechanical, or surgical methods can cause induced abortions and these methods can often be fatal (“Abortion” 13). In the past, women would drink toxic potions that would bring on nausea and diarrhea, in an attempt to cause an abortion. Women would also endure physical abortion attempts, such as having someone stomp on their abdomen to induce abortion (Ross 62).

Currently abortions are performed in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. When a pregnancy progresses into the second trimester, the abortion is done by inducing premature labor and causes the women to deliver the fetus and placenta; this procedure is called medical induction or instillation. During the instillation, a chemical such as saline solution is injected into a woman’s womb, causing her to go into premature labor. This labor can last for hours, even days, and is often a very stressful and excruciating process. One of the most distressing drawbacks of performing an instillation is the possibility of having the fetus born alive. When a fetus is born alive, all measures are taken to save its life. The Supreme Court has ruled that a state may legally require another physician, typically a pediatrician, to be present during late abortions in case of a live birth (Terkel 52, 53). About 80 percent of late abortions are performed by inducing premature labor (“Abortion” 14). Another method after the second trimester is done by having the fetus and placenta surgically removed.

Instrumental evacuation is used for more than 90% of abortions. Instrumental evacuation is known as vacuum aspiration, a procedure that was developed in recent decades. These procedures start out by having the cervix numbered, and then gently stretched or dilated, using dilators, special rods that are formed from seaweed. After the cervix has been dilated, a small tube with an opening is placed into the uterus. The vacuum machine creates suction to empty the uterus and complete the abortion. Some women experience intense pain and cramping (Terkel 50, 51). Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is similar to vacuum aspiration. After the first trimester, the fetus is too large to pass through the tube of the vacuum and must be dismembered by using instruments. This process can be so stressful that many professionals express hesitation towards these types’ of abortions. This procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and can be done in a span of half an hour or