Essay Harvard Abortion in USA

The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 1
Abortion refers to the voluntary termination of a pregnancy, resulting in the death of
the fetus or embryo. According to Grabber (1996) abortions performed prior to the third
trimester are legal in the United States. This has created a lot of controversially over the years
in the United States. Ideally the issue has polarized mainstream political parties. Almost all
state Democratic Party policies support abortion while almost all state Republican Party
policies oppose it. The Democratic Party is for pro-choice while the republicans are for prolife.
The pro-choice ideology believes that women have the right to access any health care
that they need and should have the control over their bodies. On the other hand, the
republicans (pro-life) believe that the fetus or the embryo is ‘alive’ hence aborting equates to
murder (Grabber, 1996). This raise the question, to what degree should the government have
a say on pregnancy. According to the national abortion rights action league (NARAL), the
woman reproductive rights are more controlled today than in the times of Roe (1973). This
debate has raised two questions that need to be answered: should intact dilation and
extraction be legal and should first trimester remain legal in United States. Mcbride (2007
asserts that these two issues have made abortion to remain one of the most controversial
issues in United States culture and politics, with the main protagonists most often labelled
either as ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’, though shades of opinion exist. Studies puts United States
abortion rate at about 1.37 million abortions per year, and this is about 3700 a day. The
magnitude of the debate have forces Politicians to make it clear whether they are for or
against abortion. Even though it is legal to have abortion federally, it can be turned over by
making state laws against abortion (Mcbride, 2007).
History the abortion issue
The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 2
In view of Mckay (2005) abortion in America became legal in 1973 by a Roe versus
Wade which is a US Supreme Court case. After this judgment, abortion became one of the
most controversial issues in America. It divided the country into two sides: pro-choice and
pro-life (Mckay, 2005). To understand this issue more clearly one has to understand the root
cause of the problem which leads to looking unto the history of the topic.
Before 19th century, Americans adopted English Common Laws for judging sins.
According to the common law, abortion before quickening was legal. And although abortion
after quickening was illegal, only women could know whether they had a quickening.
However, in early 19th century, written laws restricting abortion were made in about 10
states. And, through mid to late 19th century, Doctors hold out a campaign to ban abortion.
The reason why doctors tried to forbid abortion was mainly because they wanted to build up
their status as regular doctors (Mckay, 2005). Doctors in this time were not as high ranked as
today. They wanted to abolish midwives, Indian doctors, and unlicensed doctors from
medical field. Their goal was achieved when laws banning abortion were settled in every
However, this situation changed in 1960s. Mckay (2005) says specialists such as
doctors, lawyers, and Planned Parenthood, mobilized a movement for deregulation of
abortion laws. They felt America needed reforms to ensure the number large of women who
died as a result of illegal abortion was eliminated. Other associations joined in to push for the
aimed agenda. These movements paid off in 1973 when Roe versus Wade case took place
and abortion became legal (Mckay, 2005).
Why is abortion topic then so critical?
The issue of abortion is critical because of many elements. As I mentioned in the
beginning, politicians are required to give their stand on abortion and secondly according to
The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 3
Seger (1995) most of the politicians in Democratic Party are pro-choice, while on the other
hand, most of the politicians in Republican Party are pro-life; all this contributes to its
intensity (Seger, 1995). The other factor according to Leege (1993) contributing toward this
debate is religious issues attached to abortion. Many pro-life believe birth begins when the
fertilization occurs, and so that abortion at any stage is murder. For them abortion is not only
ethically wrong but a sin which is highly disregarded in the bible, Murder is forbidden in the
Mosaic Law. It also goes against Gods words unto his people, “be fruitful and multiply.” The
pro-choice belief women should be given the full will to decide for themselves what is best
for them (Leege, 1993). Women should be given the right to decide to abort or to keep the
pregnancy; the life of the unborn rests on the hands of the mother. This kind differences are
very difficult to solve, hence gives the discrepancy in the two apposing sides of the topic,
The stand of the American population on abortion
A quick analysis of the polls which have been done on abortion according to
Tatalovich (1998) signifies the great division among the American people, making the
country at stalemate. Tatalovich notes that a research which was conducted by Pew research
centre in 2009 showed 45% of the American people in favour of illegalizing abortion while
47% was for abortion to be legal. The researcher was to the view that Americans seemed to
say that abortion was immoral while still supporting the Roe verses Wade (Tatalovich, 1998).
He goes further to say another research done by American national Elections Studies
in 2008 suggested that 15% of the population regretted the legalization of abortion in 1972
case. 11% supported the verdict of the case. However, support for legal abortion in a case of
“clear need” beyond rape, incest or health was at 19 percent. And legal abortion “always as a
personal choice” captured between 35 percent and 40 percent of the support (Tatalovich,
The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 4
1998). This two researches show a great division among the American people.
Republican Party Position on Abortion
The republicans are for pro-life Gushee (2008) explains. They strongly believe that
the unborn child has fundamental right of life which can not be infringed. They support a
human life amendment to the constitution which covers the unborn child in the fourteenth
amendment protection. They highly support the traditional family values and the sanctity of
innocent human life. They highly oppose the promotion of entities that promote, perform, or
fund organizations which perform abortion and more important they disagree with the
subsidizing health care that includes abortion coverage (Gushee, 2008).
Secondly, Gushee admits that the Republicans promote adoption and abstinence as
opposed to abortion clinic referrals. Their view is that teens should be encouraged and
educated on the importance of abstinence. It is true that American teenagers have contracted
sexually transmitted diseases which have caused them emotional harm, serious heath
consequences and even death. They believe in the responsibility of parents in educating their
teenagers on the disadvantages and advantages of abstinence and if they can not then the use
preferred tools like contraception is necessary (Gushee, 2008). It is true that abstinence is the
only method that gives 100% protection against unwanted pregnancies and more importantly
the HIV and AIDS.
Third, the republicans believe one way of eliminating abortion is to have a ban on
abortion with constitutional amendment. It is very vital to have the rights of the unborn child
protected up to the letter just like the other human beings. This can only happen if the 14th
amendment of the constitution is amended to cover the unborn child. Their agenda is to push
for this without necessary punishing those that do the act.
In addition, Republicans are of the view that other methods of solving unwanted
The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 5
pregnancies like adoption instead of abortion should be encouraged to evade child
“murdering”. They belief in ensuring that women with pregnancy issues should be given the
required support, material and encouragement to ensure both lives are taken care of. They
salute those entities that do offer and encourage people to go for the other alternatives to
abortion (Gushee, 2008).
Democratic Party Position on Abortion
On the other hand, Mckay (2005) notes that the Democratic side purely stands behind
the idea of giving right to every woman to choose in relation to the precedent of Roe verses
wade case judgement. To them, the ability to take care of the bill of the procedure is not an
issue; the root of the issue is deciding what the woman ones. This was made clear by the
former president Bill Clinton who took a higher step of ensuring this fundamental right of
women is ensured in America. The belief is based on the fundamental constitutional liberty
that each individual American not the government can best take responsibility for making this
fundamental difficult and intensely personal decision on reproduction (Mckay, 2005). They
actually believe in inclusion where each individual’s conscience is respected.
The pro-choice side believes in ensuring that abortion is made less necessary and rare
as opposed to making it difficult and dangerous. People should not be endangered by seeking
abortion services in the “back door” clinics. Seeking these services in the right places will
reduce the number of deaths that occurs as a result of abortion. Thus, they strongly and
unequivocally support Roe v. Wade, investing in stem cell and other medical researches,
pursuing embryonic stem cell research, the right to choose even if mother cannot pay and
finally respecting the fundamental and constitutional right to choice for each American
citizen (Mckay, 2005).
Supporting the Roe verses Wade assumes the idea that women have the right to make
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their decisions regarding their pregnancies which includes a safe and legal abortion,
regardless of their economic ability to pay for the service offered. To the Democrats, abortion
is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy;
there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. The government is there to
provide proper health care and education to help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies
hence reducing the need for abortion and also ensure that woman’s decision to have a child is
guaranteed by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to
programs that help them during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring
adoption programs (Mckay, 2005).
Investing in stem cell and other medical research is very fundamental to the
democrats. To them investing in stem cell and other medical programs gives hope to the
hopeless American women who have no children. And gain, ensures that every American
receives the desired cure and treatment of the disease that are relevant to reproductive health.
Concerning further research they are on record saying that they were disappointed by the act
of the then president, George Bush, to reject the request by the American people to have
assistance with embryonic stem cell research. It is their view that this technology gives hope
to the hopeless American people who have serious illnesses-from Alzheimer’s to heart
disease to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson’s. above all, there is no wrong in pursuing research
under strictest ethical guidelines aimed at saving lives and reduce human suffering (Mckay,
The future of the abortion debate
The future of the abortion debate is not actually clear but Wolfe and Katzneton (2010)
agrees that the debate issue is not going anyway soon. This is supported by the proposition
26’s failure in Mississippi notwithstanding. The group which was behind the move,
The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 7
Personhood USA, is still trying in other States. According to some of the recent polls
conducted on abortion, shows that the American people do not want a big move in either
direction of the debate even though the American demography have change a lot since the
time of the case of Roe verse Wade. But the truth of the matter is that, it is very unlikely that
there will be America without an abortion debate anytime soon. Taking the consideration the
importance of the intense pro-life areas such as South Carolina and Iowa to the presidential
primaries, the debate will be here to stay (Wolfe & Katzneton, 2010). More importantly,
Leege (1993) is of the view that America’s religiosity and American’s stalemate on the rights
of the fetus versus the rights of the mother has made America different from other countries
that have managed to put the abortion issue to bed (Leege, 1993). This is because both sides
of the abortion debate seem to be able to cast themselves in terms of rights; and we all know
Americans like rights.
The force of the active activists who equates abortion with mass murder and genocide
are not many but can not be underestimated in anyway. For instance, anti-abortion activists
have sharpened their message, perhaps winning over non-religious people and others who
would not normally oppose abortion. The “partial-birth” abortion debates of the 1990s, for
example, focused on a rare procedure, banned in 2003, called intact dilation and extraction in
which a fetus is partially removed from the uterus and its skull collapsed to complete the
abortion. A small downtick in abortion support during the 1990s may be because of the
partial-birth abortion debate (Wolfe & Katzneton, 2010). Finally, Leege (1993) said,
abortion has become a magnet for political polarization, meaning that strict abortion rights
proponents and strict opponents are the ones who make it to office.
The way forward on abortion issue
This issue has always been a thorny issue in America, everyone can testify. Gushee,
The Democrats and the Republican on Abortion 8
(2008) equates it to an open wound on the body of America, but one that was mostly hidden
from view. Roe v. Wade shined a bright light on that wound, but instead of coming together
to do our best to fix the wound, we have spent the past 40 years scratching it raw, rubbing salt
in it, and doing whatever we can to turn that wound into a festering, infected, smelly mess.
This is because we have focused on what we cannot agree on, the question of when life
begins, instead of what is common to us all, compassion for women and compassion for
children (Gushee, 2008). Yes, we can legislate, adjudicate, advocate and protest the issue but
does it really help? Not really, Americans should focus their efforts in supporting women and
giving them the required compassion as opposed to tearing each other. Understanding we are
all interested in other important issues like improving prenatal health, reducing domestic
violence, and providing support to the poor children for a start. Every American needs to start
building bridges with each other regardless of their different views in order to heal this
wound and help strengthen the nation.