Since 1973, one of the most polarized issues in American Politics and around the world remains to be induced abortions. The concept of aborting a pregnancy is nothing new to Americans; some pregnancies are aborted naturally, but not since the landmark trial Roe v. Wade has the debate become so personal. This paper discusses the legal history of abortion in America, the medical procedures involved in an abortion, sociological ramifications of the trial Roe v. Wade, and my perspective on abortions, relating to the philosophy of it, comments on the media, and comments on both the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice movements in America.

Legal History of Abortion

For centuries, abortions have been a method of birth control used by women to terminate a pregnancy, yet not until 1803, in England, were all abortions were made illegal. This was not due to a moral outcry nor did it have much to do with modern anti-abortion sentiments, it was an issue of a population overextending itself, which creates a need for people. England did not limit population boosting merely to abortion control; she dabbled in other population boosting activities such as impressment. After England, abortions were controlled in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, largely due to the fact that England had large claims in all of these regions. Then, in the middle and late 1800's American states started to adopt similar policies. Later, in the 20th century the USSR lifted its abortion restrictions followed by Japan, much of Europe, parts of Asia, Canada, and later the United States followed her lead.
In the United States, the legalization of abortions began in Mississippi, using it as a way to assist rape victims in 1966. The rape exception was broadened to encompass pregnancies that affect a woman's health, fetal abnormalities, or incest in the following months. It was under ten years after Mississippi when legalized abortions were legalized on the national level. Of course abortions were not encouraged, rather states provided their own restrictions; Roe v. Wade simply stated that all women, before the third trimester, could legally have an abortion.
Eventually, the law eventually allowed "mature minors", women below the age of eighteen, to have abortions with the consent of one parent, although the consent issue has been challenged numerous times. Eventually, states gave literature on the process, the risks, and other information on abortion. In 1983, the court determined it was unconstitutional to force a woman to receive literature about the consequence of an abortion. After scores of decisions on abortions, the spirit of Roe v. Wade diminished from the abortion movement.
The reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade came in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. This case reiterated the central ruling in Roe v. Wade, that no undue burden should be placed on a woman over eighteen trying to receive an abortion prior to fetal viability. This case also turned over prior rulings such as the previously mentioned forbiddance for states to provide literature to women considering abortions. In many ways, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey was a revitalization of the spirit of Roe v. Wade.
Recently in 1996, Congress passed a bill banning partial-birth abortions which was subsequently vetoed by president Bill Clinton due to its failure to permit the process in cases of fetal abnormalities or in cases were the mother's health and life are threatened. Congress is set to launch a similar bill; weather or not it contains any of the latter is yet to be seen.

Medical Statistics and Procedures Involved in Abortions

The time that an abortion takes place is vital to the safety of the mother; the recommended time is within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, or the first trimester. In America, the death rate in first trimester abortions is 1% out of 100,000 women. The risk jumps 30% between the 14th and the 24th weeks of pregnancy.
There are a variety of techniques involved in first trimester abortions, most involve a combination of the drugs mifepristone, known as RU-489, misoprostol, and methotrexate. What the combination of these drugs does is deplete the body of the hormone progesterone and cause contractions of the uterus to expel the zygote from the body. Side effects of these drugs are cramping, nausea, and bleeding, although some women