Many for women to access abortion providers.Chapter Two
Many people believe abortion is a moral issue, but it is also a constitutional issue. It is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body, and it should not be altered or influenced by anyone else. This right is guaranteed by the ninth amendment, which contains the right to privacy. The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
” This right guarantees the right to women, if they so choose to have an abortion, up to the end of the first trimester. Regardless of the fact of morals, a woman has the right to privacy and choice to abort her fetus. The people that hold a “pro-life” view argue that a woman who has an abortion is killing a child. The “pro-choice” perspective holds this is not the case.
Before the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wage, whereby abortion was effectively legalized, women died by the thousands at the hands of back-alley butchers. Since Roe, less than 1 woman in 100,000 will die from an abortion. In fact, the procedure results in fewer deaths than childbirth or even a shot of penicillin.
Despite the official legality of the procedure, it is still largely under attack by opponents. The fight is far from over, and is important that anyone who champions a woman’s right to choose understand the ongoing threats abortion faces. The New Civil War offers a clear, compelling explanation of the issues surrounding the procedure and the ways in which antiabortion activists attempt to criminalize it.Divided into five parts, The New Civil War does not leave one stone unturned.
This collection of essays is well written, succinct, and concise. Indeed, such a book is a necessary resource for anyone interested not only in the abortion debate, but also in the overarching patriarchal structures that create and maintain women’s subordination. Part I is entitled “The Sociopolitical Context of Abortion.
” The first chapter in this section reviews abortion’s status in the courts since Roe. Wilcox, Robbernnolt, and O’Keefe highlight the necessity for psychologists to remain vocal in the debate, primarily by providing research supporting the findings that abortion does not promote ill effects in those women who have them. Antiabortionists continue successfully to push forth legislation designed to prevent women from willfully terminating their pregnancies.
Despite Roe, it is increasingly difficult for women to access abortion providers.Chapter Two questions why abortion persists as a volatile, controversial debate in this country. Since the passage of Roe, members of Congress have introduced over 1000 bills regarding abortion. Russo and Denious delineate the underlying assumptions held by activists on both sides of the debate: those who endorse abortion rights maintain that it leads to individual freedom and equality for women, while opponents contend that abortion is a threat to morality and “social cohesion.” In Chapter Three, Henshaw provides an extensive index of the barriers between women and their ability to access abortions. Citing a staggering array of statistics, Henshaw strongly asserts that the “choice” to abort is not always feasible for many women.
For instance, 94% of nonmetropolitan U.S. counties have no abortion provider, and 86% of family planning clinics report regularly experiencing at least one form of harassment from protestors.Antiabortion activists employ a twofold plan in their struggle to criminalize the procedure. The first involves backing legislation that outlaws such things as certain abortion methods and the use of public funding to be used in family planning clinics, which reflects a long-term strategy aimed at eventually prohibiting all abortions. The second includes clinic blockades and harassment of women as they attempt to cross the line of picketers, in efforts to dissuade individual women from terminating their pregnancies. Chapter Four completes the first section of the book with a discussion about the impact of antiabortion protests on women who undergo the procedure.
Cozzarelli and Major provide a comprehensive review of the history of the antiabortion movement in this country, offering readers a context from which to understand such activity.Entitled “The Cultural Context of Abortion,” Part II reviews the effects abortion has on women of color. When women are lumped together as a general category falling under the rubric of “female,” important racial and cultural distinctions are elided. Abortion does not affect all women in the same way, and this section implies sensitivity to this fact. Chapter Five discusses how most Black women are not represented in popular abortion discourse. In fact, less than 5% of Black women are involved in the U.
S. prochoice movement. Black women tend to focus more on framing the issue in terms of a more inclusive reproductive rights movement. This notion calls for improved systems of basic health care rather than simply a fight centered on abortion rights. Chapters Six and Seven involve Latinas and Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs), respectively.
In Chapter Six, Erickson and Kaplan point out that Latinas have higher abortion rates than their white counterparts, yet little is known about how the procedure effects these women. In Chapter Seven, Tanjasiri and Aibe maintain that American-born APIAs tend to be more accepting of abortion than those born in countries prohibiting the procedure altogether. What is particularly impressive about this section is the fact that while many texts marginalize women of color as they explicate white women’s efforts to maintain abortion rights, this section explicitly places women of color at the forefront.
It offers them agency in an issue that has historically been a white woman’s battle in the United States.The chapters comprising Part III, entitled “Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Contexts of Abortion,” examine the myriad factors that combine to inform the abortion decision. Written by editors Beckman and Harvey, Chapter Eight discusses the implications of the French-born abortifacient known as RU-486. This “abortion pill” promises to forever alter abortion, as we know it. In 1994, President Clinton lifted the ban on the importation of RU-486 mandated by the conservative administrations that preceded him. Women seeking to terminate their pregnancies will now have an alternative to the standard surgical method.
Chapter Nine outlines the relationship between violence against women and abortion. The issue is imperative, as estimates claim that between 35,000 and 50,000 unintended pregnancies arise out of rape each year. Russo and Denious discuss how the vast majority of these end in abortion.
In Chapter Ten, Miller, Pasta, and Dean analyze the possible psychological consequences of abortion using a combination of the most common models employed in this context: the stress approach, the decision-making approach, the norm violation approach, the loss approach, the crisis approach, and the learning approach.In Chapter Eleven, Marsiglio and Diekow characterize men’s role in the abortion decision. Few empirical data exist on this aspect, as most studies on abortion deal solely with women.
However, men’s reaction to an unwanted pregnancy often directly or indirectly shapes a woman’s decision. The authors encourage further research on this neglected and essential component to the debate. Chapter Twelve involves the important discussion about abortion among adolescents. Specifically, parental notification laws are highlighted. Strikingly, Adler, Smith, and Tschann emphasize the irony in such legislation. They raise the provocative question of how a teenage girl who is considered incapable of deciding on her own whether or not she wants to carry a pregnancy to term is mature enough to become a mother.
Part IV is entitled “Abortion in the Context of Practice” and offers concrete suggestions for therapists on how to effectively deal with women in the context of abortion. The section opens with Chapter Thirteen, wherein Fisher, Castle, and Garrity provide specific counseling strategies based on theories that can be utilized both before and after the abortion. In Chapter Fourteen, Rivera reviews abortion issues that may arise in psychotherapy. Her approach addresses women’s perceptions of themselves in relation to the abortion experience. Masho, Coeytaux, and Potts suggest methods for improving women’s access to abortion providers in Chapter Fifteen. The authors encourage the United States to follow examples set by those developing countries struggling to improve the quality of their abortion services.
Part V marks the conclusion of the text, and Chapter Sixteen asks the loaded question, “Where do we go from here?” Harvey, Beckman, and Bird offer practical recommendations for abortion practice, policy and further research. One of the most refreshing things about this collection is that there is a chapter for everyone. Topics are as far ranging as men, women of color, violence against women, and teen pregnancy, with suggestions on how to increase women’s access to abortions. Furthermore, each author had a significant understanding of what the other contributing writers were discussing, as many referred readers to other chapters in the book for further engagement on a given topic. As it blends the perfect mix of theory and practice, I would recommend that everyone interested in gender equity spend a significant amount of time familiarizing themselves with this important and long overdue addition to literature on abortion. The reality is that women will continue to terminate their pregnancies willfully.
The more educated people are on the multiple factors inherent in the debate, the more likely it is that women will continue to have access to safe, legal abortions. In addition, without reproductive freedom, women cannot ever hope to achieve true equality.