Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in the United States today. One out of every three pregnancies never come to term because a woman has an abortion (Flanders 3). It is understood that a new individual human begis growing in the mothers uterus at fertilization (When Does Life Begin). The term abortion refers to any premature expulsion of a human fetus. Approximately 93 percent of all induced abortions are done for elective, non-medical reasons. In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade ad Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion in all 50 states during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, medical, social, or otherwise (Abortion: Some Medical Facts). Other than spontaneous abortions, induced abortions include many different procedures, each with its own risks, consequences, and results.
A chemical abortion is only one of two methods for aborting a fetus. This method involves the injection of drugs or chemicals through the abdomen or cervix into the amniotic sac to cause death to the child and his or her expulsion from the uterus (Abortion: Some Medical Facts). Hypertonic saline, hypersomolar urea, and prostagladins are the most commonly used in the US, but RU 486, methotrexate are also being used.
Hypertonic saline, otherwise known as salt poisoning, saline amniocentesis, or salting out, is used after 16 weeks of pregnancy, when enough fluid has accumulated in the amniotic fluid sac surrounding the baby (Abortion Methods Described). A needle is inserted through the mothers abdomen and 50 to 250 ml of amniotic fluid is withdrawn and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt (Abortion: Some Medical Facts). The baby breathes in, swallowing the salt, and dies within an hour. The chemical solution also causes painful burning and deterioration of the babys skin. The mother goes into labor about a day later and expels a dead, grotesque, shriveled baby (Chapter 2: Is Abortion the Killing of this Being?). Hypertonic saline may possibly initiate consumption caugulopathy, uncontrolled blood clotting throughout the body, with severe hemorrhage as well as other serious side effects on the central nervous system. Seizures, coma, or death could also result from saline inadvertently injected into the womans vascular system (Abortion: Some Medical Facts).
Because of the dangers associated with saline methods, other instillation methods such as hypersomolar urea are sometimes used, but are less effective. Incomplete or failed abortion is a common problem with urea methods, often adding to the additional risk of surgery. Gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea or vomiting are frequent, but with second trimester techniques, the most common problems are cervical injuries ranging from small lacerations to complete detachments of the anterior or posterior cervix (Abortion: Some Medical Facts). In order to reduce the risk of an unsuccessful abortion, oxytocin or a prostagladin may accompany the hypersomolar urea.
Prostagladins are naturally produced chemical compounds which assist in the birthing process during the second trimester. These hormone-like compounds are injected or applied to the muscle of the uterus, usually after salt or another toxin has already been injected into the amniotic sac (Chapter 2: Is Abortion the Killing of this Being?). Violent labor and birth follow, resulting in a child too young to survive or already dead (Abortion: Some Medical Facts). In addition to risks of retained placenta, cervical trauma, infection, hemorrhage, hyperthermia, bronchocostriction, and tachycardia, more serious side effects and complications, such as cardiac arrest and rupture of the uterus, can be a result from the use of artifical prostagladins (Abortion: Some Medical Facts).
Abortion Methods Described. Pro-Life America. 9 May 2000 http://www.prolife.com/ABORMETH.html.
Abortion: Some Medical Facts. 19 April 2000 http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/ASMF/asmf3.html.
Chapter 2: Is Abortion the Killing of this Being? The Moral Question of Abortion. 9 May 2000 http://www.ohiolife.org/mqa/2-1.htm.
Flanders, Carl N. Library in a Book: Abortion. New York: Facts on File, 1991.
Over 38 Million Abortions in U.S. since 1973. Abortion in the United States. 19 April 2000 http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/aboramt.html.
Partial Abortion Laws. 9 May 2000 http://members.aol.com/abtrbg/pbal.htm
When Does Life Begin? Right to Life. 19 April 2000 http://www.rlc.org/abortion/wdlb/wdlb.html.
Medicine and Health Care