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Abortion: Pro Choice

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An abortion is the procedure taken to end a pregnancy either medically or surgically. Like many topics of great controversy, abortion has its positive and negative sides. There are those that claim they have the right to do as they choose to their bodies; and those who say it is wrong to take lives of the unborn. I happen to believe in pro-choice, not that I don't think taking lives is wrong, but in many cases abortion is either necessary or in the best interest of both the mother and child.

Abortions are performed by using one of two methods, the medical method or the surgical method. The medical method, which can only be performed in the first nine weeks of pregnancy, involves taking two different types of medications. At first, depending on how advanced the pregnancy is, there are two different kinds of medications offered. Mifepristone, which is commonly referred to as RU 486, is the more popular drug. RU 486 originated in France in the late 1980's. Mifepristone is a pill that prevents the production of a hormone called progesterone. Progesterone keeps the uterus lining nourished and healthy. This is where the baby gets it nutrients, and by blocking it off the unborn child dies. Before RU 486 can be administered the patient must have a physical examination completed. If certain problems such as smoking, asthma, high blood pressure, or obesity are found, then giving the medication to the patient could be fatal. Methotrexate, which has been used in the US since the early 50's to treat various types of cancer, is the second drug offered to induce an abortion.

One of the previously mentioned drugs is taken first, and then the woman is scheduled for a return visit to the abortion facility. Upon her return she is given the drug called Misoprostol. This drug causes the uterus to contract, forcing the lifeless child out.

The surgical method is very safe and low-risk. There are three common procedures that can be performed, depending on how developed the child is. The pregnancy is broken up into three trimesters. The first and second are the two times when it is safe to perform an abortion. The third trimester is a point at which the baby is almost fully developed and abortions are generally not performed at this period. In the first trimester the method used is called suction aspiration. The doctor first dilates the cervix, and then with a metal hose that is attached to a vacuum, sucks the tissue and other fetal parts into a collection bottle.

The other two methods of abortion are performed only in the second trimester of pregnancy. With the dilation and evacuation procedure, the cervix is dilated but instead of using a suction machine, forceps are used to remove the child from the womb. Afterwards, a suction machine is used to withdraw the placenta and other remaining tissue. The second approach for a second trimester abortion is known as the salt poisoning method. A needle is put through the woman's belly and as much as a cup of amniotic fluid is drained from her and replaced with an extremely concentrated salt solution. When the baby attempts to breath in what should be the normal amniotic fluid, salt water is breathed in instead. This poisons the baby killing it within an hour. Usually about 35 hours after this procedure has been performed the mother will began to go into labor. This procedure involves more risk, but in cases where the patient had been pregnant for 20-24 weeks it's one of the only remaining options.

There are many reasons as to why a woman would choose to have an abortion. Women may abort a child because it suffers from a fetal abnormality or because they are not able to take care of it. Fetal abnormalities aren't generally diagnosed until around the 16th week of pregnancy and by this time it is usually too late to take a medicinal approach. Unexpected events, such as a car accident, having to undergo chemotherapy or sustaining some other kind of injury, may force a woman to abort her child. The risk involved with having an abortion performed is minimal. "About 95-98% of women will have a successful medical abortion" (Dudley/Mueller).

Although some of the methods involved with abortion have been questioned over the years, the truth is that there aren't always other options. If an unborn child is diagnosed with a disease that will inevitably end or severely impair its life, the mother may choose to have an abortion instead of forcing it to suffer. In some cases the mother may have to undergo medical treatments that may weaken her to the point that she



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