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Partial Birth Abortions

February 11, 2018
Is it Constitutional to Ban Partial-Birth Abortions Without Providing for
an Exception to Protect the Health of the Mother?
Throughout history there have been multiple cases that can be remembered
as a part of American history that shaped and changed the makeup of the law.
Whether it was the desegregation of schools across the United States, the official ban
on slavery, the right to vote for all, the legalization of gay marriage and the
legalization of marijuana; these cases all received much backlash and are some of
the most controversial cases in America’s history. Cases such as gay marriage, which
just became legalized this past year and marijuana, which has slowly become
legalized by certain states, still causes uproar. The distinction between cases such as
these can be seen tenfold when it comes to the topic of abortion.
Abortion is a topic that is extremely sensitive throughout the nation. While
certain groups are Pro-Choice there are also those who are against it. With abortion
there is also the need to determine to what extent does the law allow it to be legal.
Should abortions become illegal after a certain time period, should the law limit the
way certain abortions are done, should there be certain stipulations before a woman
can go through with an abortion.
An abortion is defined as the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy,
most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. Before a woman can
even receive an abortion there are a certain number of steps that are instilled into
the law and must be taken. In a majority of states, a licensed physician must perform
abortions; some states require that the abortion must take place in a hospital. Most
states ban abortions after a certain gestational time period. This often takes place
after “fetal viability” or when the fetus first has the potential to survive outside the
womb. This instance depends on the state but often ranges between 20 to 24 weeks.
Certain states also require that notification also be sent to the parents, some require
consent by the parents if a child is under the age of 18.
States also prohibit the use of state funds to help cover the costs of abortions.
This is often circumstantial and depends on the reasoning for the abortion. Some
exceptions include that of rape, incest, if federal funds are available or when the
mother’s life is endangered. There is also no requirement for private insurances to
cover abortions. This also depends on the state; some will allow the use of private
insurance if a woman’s health is in danger while other states allow health care
providers to deny coverage. New laws are now being placed that requires women to
either view or hear the fetus through an ultrasound before they can undergo an
Though abortion is a wide-term there are many different types used through
out a pregnancy that must be taken into consideration. In the first trimester alone
women are able to choose between either medical or surgical abortions. Only in the
first nine weeks of gestation can women use medical abortions this would be taken
in the form of a pill, most commonly known would be the Day After Pill. Women also
have the options of aspiration at this point, which is a surgical procedure that uses
suction to remove the fetus. As a pregnant woman nears the second trimester
option for an abortion become more limited. Medication can no longer be prescribed
to induce an abortion and surgery is now a necessity. Surgeries are now more
invasive and are done intravenously.
When a woman enters the third trimester, she is entering the area of late
term abortions. An abortion at this time is no longer considered legal in a large
number of states except in certain medical cases. The idea of “late term” can be
referenced to when a fetus would first be considered viable, or able to survive
outside of the womb. The point of “viability” is usually thought to be at 24 weeks
gestation by most medical communities. At this time the procedures that can be
done is limited to either an induction abortion or dilation and extraction. An
induction abortion, though not often done, is when salt water, urea, or potassium
chloride gets injected into the amniotic sac. Prostaglandins are inserted into the
vagina and then Pitocin is injected intravenously. The other option would be that of
dilation and extraction which is used generally after 21 weeks. This is also referred
to as Intrauterine Cranial Decompression and Partial Birth Abortion.
Partial birth abortion is plainly defined as late-term abortion of a fetus that
has already died, or is killed before being completely removed from the mother. A
baby is pulled out feet first into the vaginal canal except for the head, which is held
inside of the cervix. At this point the abortionist punctures the base of the skull with
a surgical instrument and inserts a catheter into the wound. Then a powerful suction
machine is turned on which removes the brain, this causes the skull to collapse. The
abortionist then delivers the rest of the baby.
Currently in the United States abortion is legal throughout the country due to
the decision of Roe v Wade decided in 1973. This decision legalized abortion but
may be restricted by the states to varying degrees. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
Act of 2003 was enacted in November 5, 2003. Under this law, “Any physician who, in

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