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The Declaration of Independence begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, often times, social issues highlight the difference in belief amongst the general public. One of these major issues is abortion. Abortion is is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy and often regarded by the biological parent(s) as unpleasant or badly made or carried out.” On the other hand, Planned Parenthood defines an abortion as, “safe and very common ways of ending a pregnancy.” These two definition highlight the stark difference of beliefs when it comes to pregnancy. Following the 1973 court case of Roe v. Wade, The Supreme Court ruled in favor of an unmarried Texan woman named Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) who filed her case stating the Texas law was unconstitutional. The court decided that McCorvey was right, because not allowing her an abortion the state violated her right to privacy. In addition, “states do have an interest in ensuring the safety and well-being of pregnant women, as well as the potential of human life.”  (Supreme Court of United States of America, 1973) Due to this, the court outlined the rights of each party by dividing a pregnancy into three 12-week trimesters.During the first trimester, “a state cannot regulate abortion beyond requiring that the procedure be performed by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions.” Throughout the second trimester, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the health of the pregnant woman.” In the last trimester, the state’s interest in protecting the potential human life outweighs the woman’s right to privacy, and the state may prohibit abortions unless abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother. Finally, the Court further held that a fetus is not a person protected by the constitution. However. The laws surrounding abortion, ranging from methods, to funding, to parental consent and more, continue to be debated and shaped to this day. Most states no longer try to ban abortions. Instead, legislatures tend to limit the time period during which a woman can have an abortion, as well as the procedures used to perform abortions. One common restriction is a limitation on a procedure known as a “partial birth” or late term abortion. Texas, for example, continues the legal debate by presenting new restrictions on the most common second trimester abortion. Texas legislature recently passed Senate Bill 8 “one section of which bans dilation and evacuation abortions — a procedure medical professionals have dubbed as the safest way to perform a second-trimester abortion — unless the fetus is deceased.” This method of abortion The debate of abortion, in Texas, is centered around when the commonly known as D&E where a forceps is used to dismember the fetus with the uterus and then the fetal remains are withdrawn through the cervix.Most of the debate regarding abortion focuses on when the fetus is granted rights. According to, Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy, there are two main views. The first, commonly known as the “conservative view” believes that abortion is is never ethical, or at most it is only acceptable when it is necessary to save the woman’s life. On the other hand, the opposing, or “liberal view” claims that it is always ethically acceptable to abort a pregnancy at any time during fetal developmentThose who support abortion, or pro-choicers, believe that there are various reason for abortion. Some of the main reasons include: if the fetus were to develop normally and come to term the woman herself will die, sometimes the woman’s health (physical or mental) will be severely endangered, the pregnancy will result in an impaired child, the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, the woman is unmarried thus there will be social stigma of illegitimacy, the child may place an unbearable financial burden on the family, or having a child may interfere with the happiness of the woman. Before discussing either side of each standard reason, the major difference is that, in order to distinguish between and human and a non-human we must draw a line. Pro-lifers draw the line at the point of conception. They argue that this is the only place in which a limit can nonarbitatrily be distinguished, because attempting to draw the line at implantation (the stage of pregnancy at which the already fertilized egg adheres to the wall of the uterus), quickening (the moment in pregnancy when the pregnant woman starts to feel or perceive fetal movements in the uterus), viability (usually used to describe a pregnancy that is “alive” a viable pregnancy before there is a fetal heartbeat), or birth would result in ambiguity; thus, the line would slip back to the point of conception. However, as mentioned earlier, there are many claimed reasons for abortion; likewise, there is a counter argument for each reason. First, if the fetus were to develop normally and come to term the woman herself will die. This is the only reason that both parties seem to find agreement on. However, some pro-lifers still hold the reservation that the woman herself has lived a healthy life and each child that is aborted is potential lost. They claim that the fetus had the possibility of growing up and making a difference or changing the nation for the better, and, if not that, then the child would have at least got the opportunity to life just has the mother had. On the other hand, pro-choicers stand firm is believing that it is both ethical and legal to abort a fetus if it is posing a threat to the mother’s life. They justify this claim through the Constitution also using the mother’s right to life- stating that it is unjust for the mother to have to give up her life for the sake of an unborn entity (not a person yet). Pro-lifers argue that personhood begins after the fetus becomes viable or after birth as opposed to the point of conception. They claim that Embryos and fetuses are not independent, self-determining beings, and abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, not a baby. A person’s age is calculated from birth date, not conception, and fetuses are not counted in the US Census. In addition, “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn (or the dead). On the other hand, pro-lifers see abortion as murder. According to the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was enacted “to protect unborn children from assault and murder,” states that under federal law, anybody intentionally killing or attempting to kill an unborn child should “be punished… for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.” The act also states that an unborn child is a “member of the species homo sapiens.” By calling abortion murder, there rose more controversy regarding whether or not the fetus could feel pain during the abortion process. According to a 2010 review by Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, “most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception.” The cortex does not become functional until at least the 26th week of a fetus’ development, long after most abortions are performed.  However, Maureen Condic, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, explains that the “most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex,” is developed by eight weeks gestation. On the other hand, the “flinching” and other reactions seen in fetuses when they detect pain stimuli are mere reflexes, not an indication that the fetus is perceiving or “feeling” anything.

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