Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I know this is an old story to tell, but for many reasons it gets revisited every now and then, around the world.

This posting involves some graphic description. Reader's discretion is advised.

Washington - Newly reshaped by two conservative appointees, the U.S. Supreme Court plunged into the politically charged abortion debate yesterday, announcing it would review the controversial issue of so-called partial-birth abortions Today's Globe and Mail.

Groups who oppose abortion rights hailed the announcement, hoping it would signal a new era in which President George W. Bush's conservative appointees would tip the top court's balance and reverse the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights case that cleaved the United States in bitter and divisive debate for decades...

So I decided to look up the "Roe v. Wade" case in 1973 and "partial-birth abortion".

Roe, a Texas resident, sought to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. Texas law prohibited abortions except to save the pregnant woman's life.The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters. As a result, the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court's ruling.

The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (2003) prohibits one type of abortion, usually carried out in later stages of pregnancy. The surgical procedure involves partly removing the fetus from the womb and then puncturing or crushing the skull. Some doctors say that because the procedure minimizes the risk of infection and bleeding, it is the safest way to terminate a pregnancy.

The big question is: "when does the fetus stop being part of the woman's body and becomes a person with rights of its own?"

Some Notes here:

- DNA analysis of the fetus is possible sometime after the 12th week (12-15). So, as far as I am concerned, a mother should have the right to terminate the pregnancy if the fetus has a genetic disorder. From what I have been told, it is still safe to abort before the 16th week (not sure about the method).

-When it comes to teenage pregnancy, I am sure we all understand that more than two lives are changed here, for ever. In some cases abortion is justified (not trying to down play the psychological impacts, at all).

- I believe that there are other cases that a child is better not born, to parent (or parents) that cannot take proper care of the child.

This is an extremely sensitive issue that I believe should be decidedd by women, who understand the psychological and physiological depth of its different angles.

But, if we were going to put religion aside for a moment, what is it that bothers us the most about abortion? The cruel methods? The mother's guilt after she has lost the fetus? A mother's selfishness? A father's helplessness to keep his child alive if the mother doesn't want to carry the fetus?


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