Abortion : Defined

English 2 Definition Paper Abortion-1832p92

If someone were to use the term ‘abortion’ which emotions would most likely be triggered for you? Depending on the individual and their values, as well as the type of abortion specified, the connotation of the term abortion today can trigger a range of emotions. The formal definition, also known as the denotation, is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy (Merriam-Webster). There are various forms of abortion. One might classify birth control and other contraceptives as forms of abortion, and in addition, there are different types of abortion based on which trimester the woman is in. There is Misoprostol for up to 7 weeks of pregnancy, medical abortion for up to 10 weeks, Vacuum Aspiration for up to 16 weeks, and more types of procedures (Watson). The groups that are affected by abortion are almost endless including: men, women, American citizens and taxpayers, the government, insurance companies, religious groups, doctors, etc. Abortion rights is a heated debate in society today, causing a huge division between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice affiliates.

The formal definition of the term abortion is the medical procedure ending pregnancy by removing an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus (Watson). However, the term is extremely connotative, and it can be heavily reliant on the form of abortion discussed. Forms like birth control are highly normalized and are generally condoned by society today. Forms like second and third trimester pregnancy terminations are heavily debated. First trimester abortions are also debated but in light of the new law passed in New York allowing abortions in the third trimester, also referred to as dilation and extraction, sparked heated debates regarding the later phases of pregnancy abortions. The reasoning behind this concern is the development of the fetus. It is known that the baby grows the more time it spends in the mother’s uterus. Therefore, the terminations become more serious, expensive, and unethical to some. Terminations under 14 weeks are considered less unethical to a good number of people than later terminations. Using the term regarding birth control or first trimester abortions, less emotions would be triggered than if the term would be used regarding the second or third trimesters.

The connotation of abortion is also influenced by whom it came from. With the spark of this debate of abortion rights, society has split into two major groups: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. The Pro-Life community is against abortion and agrees that it should be deemed illegal. The Pro-Choice community supports abortion and continues to advocate for women despite the views of some powerful politicians that are advocating for change. This being said, depending on the individual and their views on abortion, they might use the word with their biases and the other person participating in conversation can also respond in a positive/negative manner. For example, if someone were to make the comment: “Abortion should be illegal, it should be classified as murder.” Some who affiliate with Pro-Life views would agree and respond with reinforcement. While someone who affiliates with Pro-Choice views can become extremely frustrated and furious over this comment causing them to lash out and strike an argument.

The term means multiple things for differing demographics. For some women, it’s an option once they discover they are pregnant and are not ready for a child. For some men, it is the loss of their soon to be child. For some doctors, it is their job. For government officials, some consider it a sin and others consider it just and a right, as well as having to hear about the community’s strong, opposing opinions on it. For some taxpayers, it can be extremely upsetting and agitating for those who do not support the procedure. For many, abortion goes against many of their morals however, it is a citizen’s civic duty to pay taxes annually. For some religious groups, it is a sin, and it is destroying our society. There are numerous ways to approach and view this social issue. The one most emphasized in society is women’s views and religious groups. Many Pro-Life affiliates have some sort of religious belief in which classifies abortion as immoral. Many Pro-Choice affiliates are women. Gallup found in a survey that 26 percent of males said they favored legal access to abortion under any circumstances, and 31 percent of women agreed (Manchester). The term means something different for everyone based on ascribed and achieved roles.

The term abortion heavily relies on the female gender in some way shape or form. Abortion is an option. Females get pregnant by males, yet the male gender has no physical accountability. Men are able change their mind about parenting, refrain from the use of condoms and have one-night stands, and some do. Emotions should sometimes be considered to justify abortion. However, due to this debate in an emotional outlook, society has trouble defining abortion, especially when it is constantly changing. New York recently passed a law legalizing abortion up until 24 hours before the mother’s due date. This law was put in place for several reasons. These are reasons that many other states across the United States would disagree. Abortion is heavily debated across the country today in its ethics and morality, and each state has a different approach. Here are some ways that show not all states in our country are on the same page. In 42 states it is required that an abortion must be done by a physician. In 19 of these states, the abortion must take place in a hospital after a specified point. Similarly, in 19 states, the presence of two physicians are required after a specified point of pregnancy for the completion of the procedure. In 43 states abortions are prohibited except when necessary to protect the mother’s health and or life, after a specified point. 33 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of state funds to pay for abortions. 11 states restrict abortions in private insurance plans. Doctors have the right to refuse to perform the procedure in 45 states. Counseling is required for the mother before the procedure in 18 states. Counseling includes making the mother aware of the link between abortions and breast cancer, the ability of the fetus to experience pain, and the long-term mental health consequences for women who receive abortions (“An Overview of Abortion Laws”). If laws on this procedure vary so greatly how can society find one fit definition for the term?

Setting all emotional aspects aside pertaining to the social debate over abortion, it is simply a medical procedure. Abortion is a medical procedure that can be performed in a few ways depending on the type and development of the fetus. Some abortions take place in a clinic, and some take place in a hospital. Typically, earlier abortions can be done in a clinic because there is less risk for complications. To go into further detail, abortions that occur in the first trimester are usually referred to as vacuum aspirations. During a vacuum aspiration, the physician will insert a small tube attached to a hand-held syringe or suction machine into the woman’s uterus and clears out the contents. A vacuum aspiration takes several minutes from start to finish (WebMD). If a woman is in their second trimester, more than 13 weeks pregnant, the procedure most often performed is a dilation and evacuation. Dilation and Evacuation is similar to vacuum aspiration, the difference being in this procedure, the physician uses forceps and other medical tools to scrape the inside of your uterus with a longer duration. If the mother is in their third trimester, they will most likely receive a dilation and extraction procedure, this requires an experiences physician, more anesthesia and more rest time. Most abortions are out-patient which means women do not have to stay at the hospital/clinic over night after the procedure is complete. When emotions are set aside, abortion does not seem like a pertinent issue; it is just a medical procedure.

Abortion is a complex term that takes many different forms in society today based on the individual involved. A number of factors determine the connotation of the word as well as the response it enables. These factors can include career, gender, political affiliation, Pro-Life affiliate or Pro-Choice affiliate, religion, and more. The type of termination is also a factor due to the multiple types of abortions, dependent on how far along the pregnancy is. These are all ascribed and achieved roles when discussing the social issue of abortion rights. Abortion is heavily debated across each state in ethics, leading to the trouble of defining the term. The social issue highlights feminism as well as the opposing conservative and religious views. Abortion is important in gender equality and allowing women to have the right to choose to go through with a pregnancy or terminate it. There is much emotion tied to the subject leading to this prevalent debate across the country with strong, opposing views between both the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice communities.


“Abortion.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-  webster.com/dictionary/abortion.

“An Overview of Abortion Laws.” Guttmacher Institute, 5 Feb. 2019,        www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws.

“Impact of Abortion on Society.” Impact of Euthanasia on the Family | The Life Resources          Charitable Trust, www.life.org.nz/abortion/abortionkeyissues/impact-on-society-         abortion/.

Manchester, Julia. “Dem Pollster: Women Are Less Likely to Support Abortion Rights than             Men.” TheHill, The Hill, 6 July 2018, thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/395816-   dem-pollster-women-are-less-likely-to-be-pro-choice.

“What are the Different Types of Abortion?” Healthline, Healthline,             https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-abortion#medical-abortion.

“What Are the Types of Abortion Procedures?” WebMD, WebMD,             www.webmd.com/women/abortion-procedures#3-7.

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