24 July, 2015
Mary Beth Strickland
13 July 2015
Which Abortion Policy is the Most Extreme?
(Ireland, United States, and the Netherlands)
There is a highly controversial topic that raises countless eyebrows; Abortion. This purposely-induced act of terminating ones’ pregnancy has been a topic of discussion around the world for decades, and as a result, different countries have adopted different laws and policies tailored to their view on this matter. The United States, Ireland, and the Netherlands are all different parts of the world, with different emphasis on different aspects of abortion. All have distinctive policies and laws that adhere to their judgment or culture about terminated pregnancy. However, of these three countries, which policy is the most far-fetched? Which country has the policy that is the most radical? It is interesting to see how they differ in terms of this highly controversial topic. In this paper, the abortion policies of Ireland, United States, and the Netherlands will be discussed and closely compared, to conclude, which abortion policy is the most extreme?
United States Abortion-related issues have fostered intense political discussion in the United States for decades. Before the 1900’s, many anti-abortion protests were held and most of the country felt that the act of aborting a fetus was cruel. Since States were independent and were allowed to decide on the legalization of abortion, most of the states went by common law, which did not permit abortion. James Wilson, one of the most well known framers of the constitution, stated:“…by the law, life is protected not only from immediate destruction, but from every degree of actual violence, and, in some cases, from every degree of danger” (Wilson 1790). In those days, it was argued that the American abortion laws were not necessarily motivated by the unethical purpose of abortion, but more so by the safety of the procedure. However, that theory was irrelevant to the fact that the early abortion laws in all the states not only punished the abortionist for performing the procedure, but also the woman who hired them (Alford 2003). Over the years, the attitude on abortion in the United States changed. On a national scale, abortion was not illegal. During the 1800’s however, the abortion rate accelerated and by the 1900’s, abortion was ultimately considered a felony in most states. This decision however was solely left up to the discretion of each individual state. With that said, the states did take certain extenuating circumstances into consideration such as the threat of a woman’s life or pregnancies that arose from rape. Those laws, however, did not stop abortions from happening or becoming more readily available. According to The Oxford Companion to United States History, “In the 1930’s, licensed physicians performed an estimated 800,000 abortions a year” (Boyer 2006, p.3). So abortions were still happening regardless of the law of the states, and continued to exposed the woman to many risks, often resulting in injury or death. In 1973, the US Supreme Court passed a landmark decision in the Roe vs. Wade decision. Roe vs. Wade recognized abortion as legal but allowed each State the freedom to altered or restricted the definition which in term allowed the states to hold similar power as they did in the past. Some states have modified the laws for late term abortions, parental requirements for under aged minors, and disclosure of abortion information prior to the procedure (Conrad ,2013). After extensive hearings on the Human Life Amendment (issued in 1983), the Official U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee reported:
“Thus, the [Judiciary] Committee observes that no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy (98th Congress,…