The Abortion Question

By Hyman Rodman; Betty Sarvis et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
THE RISE OF THE ABORTION CONTROVERSY

THE BIRTH OF A CHILD is supposed to be a joyous event. Often, however, the facts do not conform to that ideal. Currently, about 1.5 million American women are terminating a pregnancy by induced abortion each year ( Henshaw 1986). Over half of these women are pregnant for the first time; about one-fifth of them are married; approximately 30 percent are nonwhite. Of women choosing abortion, roughly one-third are teenagers, one-third are 20 to 24, and one-third are 25 or older. More than one pregnancy out of four is being terminated by induced abortion ( Henshaw et al. 1985). Despite these statistics (some might say because of these statistics) the abortion question continues to stir strong emotions.

Although induced abortion was not legally available throughout the United States during the years between the mid-nineteenth century and 1973, evidence gathered by Kinsey and his associates ( 1954) indicated that nearly one of every four American women had an induced abortion at some time in her life and the rate was thought to be even higher among poor women.

The abortion question has generated a tremendous amount of controversy in the United States since the late 1960s. When induced abortion was generally illegal during the 1960s and early 1970s, pro-abortion groups grew in strength as they dramatized the plight of women desperately seeking illegal abortions, often with harmful or fatal results. Since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that

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The Abortion Question
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter 1 the Rise of the Abortion Controversy 1
  • Chapter 2 the Social and Cultural Dynamics of Fertility Control 9
  • Chapter 3 the Moral Debate 29
  • Chapter 4 Medical Aspects of Abortion 45
  • Chapter 5 Psychosocial and Emotional Aspects of Abortion 71
  • Summary 86
  • Chapter 6 the Road to Roe V. Wade 89
  • Chapter 7 the Legal Controversy Since 1973 107
  • Chapter 8 Abortion Attitudes: Polls, Politics, and Prejudice 135
  • Chapter 9 Where Do We Go from Here? 157
  • Conclusion 170
  • Appendix A Historical Tale? 173
  • References 193
  • Index 213
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