Partial-birth abortion should be reconsidered

Since Roe v. Wade passed in 1973 there have been over 45 million abortions in this country - that is, 45 million accounted for, and estimates of up to another eight million illegal and unreported abortions. To get it out in the open right away, I oppose abortion. I think it is a terrible practice used too often as a fail-safe and is a danger to women receiving abortions, a danger they are often not aware of. I myself was about 10 minutes away from being aborted, but my mother decided against it in the 11th hour.

However, I am a rational and realistic person. Abortion is a necessary evil in this country and world for several reasons. First, some of us just aren't properly educated about contraception and use condoms improperly or don't follow a doctor's instructions while on the pill. Second, no contraception is perfect. While a condom is 99 percent effective, the actual rating drops to 84 percent when human error is taken into account. The pill is 97 percent effective. Third, cases of rape, incest and situations where abortion is necessary to save a mother's life create allowable circumstances for an abortion.

Now Congress is poised to take the first definitive step to ban partial birth abortions. Let me explain the process. First, the doctor grabs the baby's leg (yes, I said baby because at this point the baby is large enough to be born and survive) and yanks him or her out of the uterus until the head rests at the bottom of the womb. Then, a large needle is rammed into the back of the baby's head and the brains are drained out, collapsing the still-soft skull. The abortion is completed and the baby is disposed of.

Many women make the argument that "it's my body, I can do what I want with it." No, you can't. None of us are allowed to fill our body with illegal drugs, we are not allowed to self-mutilate or commit suicide, and we are not allowed to sell our bodies for sex. All of these apply to men and women. Abortions are legal and shall remain so. However, limitations need to be considered, and a partial birth abortion ban is one of them.

Consider this. A woman gets pregnant on Jan. 1. It takes an average of one month for a woman to discover that she is pregnant. That leaves two months for a person to consider abortion while the baby is not conscious. Then begins the second term, allowing three more months of deliberation, at which point the baby is conscious but cannot be born and survive. Finally the third term rolls around, when it is too late to abort the baby as it would require a partial birth abortion. Obviously baby development is slightly different in every woman, but the general timing is quite consistent. Thus, the average woman has five months to consider an abortion. How long does it really take?

In cases of rape and incest, I would hope that a woman realizes the problems associated with a future birth and chooses abortion quickly. In all other cases a woman has five months to make a decision. If a person cannot decide if they don't want the baby after that amount of time, then in my opinion it is too late. You are having the baby and if you don't want it, put it up for adoption. Despite popular belief, there is a shortage of babies available for adoption. Any family can adopt a child from a foreign country, but many families do not want the hardship and cost associated with such an adoption. Some families cannot find a baby to adopt for several years. Babies unwanted by their parents will be adopted. Overcrowding orphanages should not be a concern.

Another issue to address is simple humanity toward an unborn baby. Though the baby is not breathing air, its heart is beating, its lungs are functioning and it is conscious; these are all indisputable facts. Whether or not you consider the baby alive is your own interpretation, but in my opinion a baby can't be too much more alive. This innocent life is grabbed by the leg, ripped from the womb and has its brains drained through the back of its head. What happened to human rights? This baby had no ability to defend itself, no say in its final destruction and its only crime was being the result of a poor and uncalculated decision.

The final area to address is the damage done to an expectant mother. While pregnant, and especially in the late term, a woman's hormonal balance changes drastically. A natural child birth or a C-section allow for the hormones to release naturally, while an abortion is quick and unexpected to the body. The hormones flush out quickly, leaving chemical marks throughout the body. Women having multiple abortions or late-term abortions have considerably higher rates of paranoia, xenophobia, schizophrenia and other such disorders. Such consequences are overtly ignored and not discussed in the majority of abortion clinics.

Your opinion on abortion should not have any effect on your decision regarding partial birth abortion. It is an abhorrent practice hurtful to expectant mothers, their babies and society as a whole. Let's be reasonable in our assessment of the situation and agree to abolish partial birth abortions.

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