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Innocence Undone Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Laaama Gwaandbe, United States Dec 11, 2003
Human Rights   Opinions
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We as Americans are so concerned about the preservation of our rights. We have the right to say what we want, the right to print what we want, the right to have guns, the right to a fair trial by jury, and so much more. What about our right to live? There are debates over whether or not the death penalty is justified, even though the vast majority of people on death row are convicted criminals and murderers, who would likely take even more lives if they were free. If we are so concerned about the right these people should have, even after we know they’ve destroyed someone else’s life, why should we not be concerned about the rights of those who haven’t done anything wrong, who have their whole lives ahead of them? Abortion takes these lives away before they’ve had a chance to live.

Many people argue that a fetus does not have “legal personhood”, and therefore no legal protection, until it is delivered. Did you know that the heart of a fetus starts to beat at only twenty-four days (three and one-half weeks) after conception? At forty-three days (six weeks), the baby has recordable brain waves. By the time the baby is eight weeks old, every single organ is present. The stomach produces digestive juices, the liver makes blood cells, and the kidneys are functioning. By nine weeks, the baby has well formed fingers and toes, complete with forming nails and fingerprints. Eleven weeks into development, it can smile. How can an entity that is a complete functioning human ten weeks after fertilization not be considered a “legal person”? I once heard someone argue that even though toddlers and young children have rights, they cannot exercise them, therefore their well-being is entrusted to the mother, and that it is the same with unborn children. I, for one, have never heard of any mother killing her two year old because they caused her mental duress. However, mental anguish or instability is one of the many reasons abortions are performed.

One argument that is given against banning abortions, even partially, is that if it is illegal, women are going to do it anyway. They may attempt to perform the procedure themselves, and thus they would hurt themselves because they don’t know what they’re doing. If that is a valid point, I would like to know why drugs like heroin and ecstasy are still illegal. People overdose on these and other substances all the time because they don’t know how to properly administer the doses. We could prevent those deaths and injuries too if there were just somewhere people could go to have medical professionals inject them with their daily fix.

The procedure that is under the most scrutiny at the moment is the partial birth abortion, because of the ban that President Bush recently signed. There are many misconceptions about this procedure, including the idea that “partial birth” referring to an abortion at full delivery term. This is incorrect, but that fact doesn’t take away any of the horrors of the procedure. In a partial birth abortion, the pregnancy is usually five or six months along. The cervix of the mother is dilated, and the doctor uses an ultrasound to find the lower extremities of the baby. Using forceps, the doctor pulls the fetus into a position where its legs are facing the uterine opening. He then delivers the baby feet first, stopping when all but the head is delivered. A pair of blunt scissors is then inserted into the base of the baby’s skull, the brain is “evacuated” with a suction catheter, the skull collapses, and the remains of the baby are delivered.
Although the partial birth abortion, or dilation and extraction, as it is also called, is the abortive procedure that is currently getting the most media attention, it is far from the only, or worst, procedure out there. The others include vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage, Mifepristone (commonly known as RU-486), and dilation and evacuation. Vacuum aspirations are performed most commonly between six to nine weeks into the pregnancy. A powerful vacuum tube is inserted into the cervix. The fetus is torn apart by the suction, and sucked into a collection bottle, along with the placenta and amniotic sac. Dilation and curettage is performed from eight to sixteen weeks in the pregnancy. A steel loop-shaped blade is inserted into the uterus through the cervix and used to scrape the walls of the uterus clean, removing the fetus and placenta. Mifepristone (RU-486) can be used from five to seven weeks into development. This drug blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone that sustains the nutritive lining of the uterus. This lining withers without the hormone, and the fetus starves to death. Another drug which promotes uterine contractions is then administered, and the dead fetus is delivered vaginally.

The worst procedure, in my opinion, is the dilation and evacuation procedure. In this procedure, which can be performed from thirteen to twenty-plus weeks into the pregnancy, the cervix of the patient is dilated, and the patient is anesthetized. A suction catheter is inserted into the uterus, and the amniotic fluid is drained. The physician then reaches inside the patient with a pair of stainless steel clamps with teeth on the jaws at one end. He clamps down on to an arm or a leg, it tears off, and then it is removed from the uterus. This disassembly continues through all of the limbs, the internal organs, and finally, the head is clamped and removed. The child must then be reassembled to assure that no parts are left inside of the mother.

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Laaama Gwaandbe

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Nicole Robertson | Dec 31st, 2003
Although, I do agree that abortion can be a cruel procedure, what about the cruelty a child that never should have been born can face? A child is born to a young mother who hasn't a clue where to turn and she leaves the baby in a dumpster on some cold street. The baby would suffer. What if she keeps the baby? What if the baby's childhood is just bouncing from foster home to foster home? What if that baby becomes a criminal? Or if that baby simply gives up; commits suicide? If the baby was never born, more pain would be saved than the pain caused during abortion. A woman should have a choice as to whether she is ready for motherhood or if she is not.

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