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Ethics of Abortion

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The debate over abortion has been the cause of many a heated discussion among conservatives and liberals for many decades. With the advent of the American feminist movement in the 1920s, women have been engaged in the effort of having and maintaining control over their sexual and reproductive rights. Abortion itself was banned in the U.S. from the beginning of the 20th century until the early 1970s, which meant many women resorted to the dangerous option of having an abortion performed out of sight of the law. In 1973, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade overturned laws prohibiting abortion performed during the first trimester. Despite this court ruling, abortion still remains a contentious subject to this day.
In recent years, there have been several underhanded attempts to all but reverse the rights for which the Roe v. Wade decision paved the way. We have seen a dramatic rise in state provisions enacted to restrict women’s access to abortion: In 2012, 43 provisions in 19 states were enacted, the second highest number of new abortion restrictions in one year, next to the whopping 92 provisions that were enacted in 2011. On July 18th, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) signed House Bill 2, which could mean the closure of all but five abortion clinics in the state. One of the provisions of the law requires that all clinics must become ambulatory surgical centers, even if they do not provide surgical abortions; it also requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the facility. The proponents of the bill claim it is a victory for those wanting to protect women’s health, but it could also mean one clinic would have to provide care for a 350-mile radius, therefore ultimately restricting care for women.
One crucial part of the abortion debate hinges on a question that highlights the rift between theology and medical…...

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