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Biology 103
2003 Third Paper
On Serendip


Alice Goldsberry

Possibly one of the most controversial court cases in our country's history was settled in January 1973. In a decision known as Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States (1). Now, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, abortion practices have become the most frequent surgical operation in the United States. But at what point is abortion just wrong? Only under certain circumstances should abortion practices be legal.

Many would argue that abortion is wrong because as soon as the baby is conceived, it becomes a living, breathing organism. Therefore, aborting the small organism is simply murder. However, when Roe vs. Wade was decided, organizations like Planned Parenthood publicly supported this ruling, arguing that during the first three months of pregnancy, the fetus is nothing more than a mass of tissue (1). In addition to Planned Parenthood, there are also many religious organizations in agreement with the legalization of abortion. These organizations include American Baptist Churches USA, the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church, and the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism (2). But under what circumstances should abortion practices be accepted?

As time passes, it seems as if more and more women are having abortions as a way of shunning responsibility. According to the AG Institution, fifty percent of women who have abortions use it as their sole means of birth control (3). This is one example of how abortion practice is being taken advantage of and used for the wrong reasons. In addition, approximately 45% of all abortions in the United States are done by women ages 19 and under. Why is this? Based on a survey of 1900 women in this country, the two most common reasons for abortion are: 1) the woman can not afford to keep the baby, and 2) the woman is not ready for the responsibility. These responses accounted for nearly 42% of all answers (3). However, these reasons are far from legitimate because these issues can be easily fixed. There are too many contraceptives and other forms of birth control to allow these excuses to be justifiable.

So what are acceptable reasons to abort an unborn baby? For one, a mother's health should never be in jeopardy. Another understandable reason to have an abortion is when there could be possible health problems for the unborn child. This excuse is legitimate because there is no way that a mother could be able to live a peaceful life knowing that her child is suffering, or being deprived of a normal lifestyle in any way. Sadly, these two reasons combined only accounted for six percent of the 1900 responses. One final justifiable reason for having an abortion, and perhaps the most important, is conceiving due to rape or incest, which according to this survey, only accounts for one percent of the women's opinion (3). Getting an abortion under this circumstance will always be justifiable because the situation is clearly out of the woman's hands. There is no woman in this world that will ever be able to tell her child that he or she was conceived not out of love, but as a result of rape.

Abortion procedures are not a bad thing; they are just too commonly used, and therefore promote irresponsibility. But is there really a way to reduce the number of abortion per year, without making it illegal; most likely not. Abortion was not legalized to be used as a sole form of birth control, so why do 50% of the women in the United States abuse it in this manner? Legalized abortion is a prime example of how people are given an inch and in turn, they take a yard.


1)Get the Facts, a website i found very interesting
2)Talking about Freedom of Choice: 10 Important Facts about Abortion, another interesting site
1)Who Does Abortion Affect?, yet another site

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