The topic of Abortion Law in United States seems to be a big issue for both American people and American lawyers. In my opinion, the number one reason of this is that abortion law is different all over the states.
The US has long held its conservative views on abortion: in Europe, they were legalized much more earlier. From state to state there were some concessions, but it didn’t change the situation very much. The turning point came in 1973 at the end of the process, ” Roy vs. Wade”, which began in 1970 in the state of Texas. The plaintiff was Jane Roy, who insisted on an abortion, claiming that the pregnancy was the result of rape. Her opponent as representative of Texas law was Henry Wade. Then the solution was exceptionally made in favor of Roy, but the laws against abortion were not eased, and it came to the US Supreme Court, where it was decided in favor of lifting the ban.
As I have noticed, this story became the basis for the continuing ideological debate between Democrats and Republicans. American political scientist James Wilson, a supporter of conservative views, even wrote in one of his articles that the « Roy against Wade» case did more harm than good. Since ” no one can become a candidate for the Democrats, if it does not support abortion, and no one has not yet become the Republican candidate, not as their enemy. This is only a stronger party distanced from each other, while the majority of Americans continues to adhere to moderate on this issue. ” In Europe, the topic of abortion does not carry such a load of ideological and Wilson attributes this to the fact that there were legalized abortion on the initiative of the legislature, and not as a result of high-profile court decisions.
Whatever it was, in American politics topic of abortion is discussed more often than is the case in other countries. Now that the presidential race is over, came to the forefront urgent problems and a discussion of how the president-elect sees their decision. Most abortion question now holds religious authority. Recently, a conference was held in Baltimore Catholic Bishops. The participants expressed their readiness to support the activities of the Obama administration on all points of its program, except with regard to abortion. By this point they declared war on the president-elect, as it has happened before with other democracies – Bill Clinton.(Mohr 47)
Abortion is legal in the United States since 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, but the laws governing this issue are different for each state. Each of the states has its own abortion law and abortion limits.
Roe v. Wade – the historic United States Supreme Court decision on the legality of abortion is one of the most controversial and politically significant decisions in the history of the United States.
The Court ruled that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy on her own will as long as the fetus will not be viable. In the context of this decision viable means autonomy, ” the ability to exist outside the mother’s body, including existence with the obligate medical support.” Approximate dates of achieving autonomy is 7 months (28 weeks); however, the barrier may be lowered to 24 weeks. In the later stages of pregnancy, abortion can be performed only if the preservation of fetus is a danger to the mother. This rate is set by the Court decision in the case of Doe v. Bolton. The Basis of this decision was the right to privacy stemming from an article on fair trial – Due Process Clause.
If we talk about the world as a whole, in 98% of countries abortion is allowed to save the woman’s life, 62% of countries allow woman to obtain the procedure of abortion in order to preserve her physical and mental health, 42% of countries allow abortion in cases of pregnancy that was caused by rape or incest, 40% of countries allow abortion if the fetal is defective, 29% of countries allow abortion for economic and social reasons, and 21% of countries allow abortion on request. (Holquist 11)
In order to understand what legal position the majority of states have taken, I have highlighted the most important issues that are different all over United States.
Here are the most important moments that highlight the issues that differ between the states: physician and hospital requirements, gestational limits, « partial birth» abortion, public funding, coverage by private insurance, refusal, state – mandated counseling, waiting periods, parental involvement.
The majority of states require only a licensed physician to do an abortion. Forty-two states allow abortion only when the birth of a child puts woman health or even life under a threat. Nineteen of the states have legislation that forbids « partial-birth» abortion. There is also a big issue whether public funds can be used to pay for the abortions: 17 of the states have agreed to spend their own funds to pay for abortion, but for example in the District Columbia and other 32 states it is prohibited to use state funds to cover the cost of abortion while they allow using federal funds to cover the expense of abortion but only in certain cases. Health care providers are allowed to deny their participation in providing abortions in 46 states. 17 states force women who want to do an abortion to attend lectures or seminars that cover specific themes that are believed to be the factor that can influence women to change their mind. In 26 states woman has to wait, in most cases, at least 24 hours before taking the final decision, 10 of them require a second separate trip to the clinic in order to do the abortion. 38 states oblige under-age to involve their parents in different ways.(McBride 45)
Under most laws, the age of the fetal fetus should not exceed 24 weeks – starting with this period, according to the generally accepted rules, the fetus able to survive apart from the mother. Nevertheless, the current level of medicine allows the fetal fetus to survive and at an earlier period, which leads to disputes about the need to reduce the allowable threshold for abortion.
Under federal law, state social insurance Medicaid (available only for the poor) applies to abortion only in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother’s life. In all other cases, women prescribed to pay by herself. Five states prohibit to involve in individual insurance pay plans the cost of abortion, except the cases listed above, 12 states prohibit to include abortion (again, except for the cases stated above) in insurance plans for the state employees. Including abortion in the individual insurance programs pay is allowed only in 17 states. The cost of abortion varies depending on the term and condition of a pregnant woman and could reach several thousand dollars.(Reagan 33)
23 states require a mandatory waiting period for a woman, in order to decide whether she is sure that she wants to have an abortion or not. The waiting period will vary, in most cases, approximately for two weeks. I find this decision rather rational because this period gives to the woman some time to think about finding another solution of the problem.
More than thirty states require women who decided to have an abortion to listen to a lecture or even a small series of lectures about the possible consequences of abortion, as well as about the development of the child in the womb. In this case I actually support the majority of states and find this very smart, because a lot of women can have bad education level, so they don’t understand what consequences they may get by obtaining abortion.
In the case of teenage pregnancies the absolute majority of the states prescribed obligatory information on the situation of one of the parents, more than 20 states require official permission from a parent. I am not sure if I support the idea of giving permission, but I am almost sure that the parents should be informed, in order to have an opportunity to influence their child choice.
I think that the great solution of the problem might be a social help program for the women with unwanted pregnancies. For now, in support for women with unwanted pregnancies are involved, mainly private non-profit organizations, and primarily volunteers. They often provide a free advice and assistance of experts. I think that is not enough.
In case of mothers refusal from children, the children are transferred for the care to a temporary guardian (system Foster care – a family with a specific license and state-funded, designed the temporary custody of the children prior to their transfer to adoption) or, in certain cases, in special centers of care. From there, the children come up for adoption.(Flannery 15)
With regard to support women with unwanted pregnancies, there are a lot of sorts of charities, many of which exist on a voluntary basis. With pay-abortion situation I outlined that the state and state governments don’t treat women who undergo abortion, with warmth and understanding. Abortion is usually permitted with great limitations.(Potts 27)
In the event that an abortion is not performed in the normal rules come into play. If a woman has decided to bear and keep the child, being poor or lonely, she, like all the women in her position, is entitled to apply for a grant and sotsstrahovku. If it satisfies the criteria necessary to obtain such support, it gets it – if not, then no. Rejection of abortion is no reason for any special conditions or special state support.
If she decided to give birth, but for some reason does not want to leave the child, she should sign a waiver thereof, and then, as I wrote, the baby goes into a temporary family or in special centers, where it can be adopted. Question of adoption is a separate big and serious issue, make a reservation at once that state laws are different everywhere and on this account. Generally speaking, in America, it is not accepted to hide the fact of adoption from children. If a child wants to know about his real parents, he is entitled to do this, for this there are registers of adoptions. It often happens that a child growing up in foster care (foster parents have one hundred percent of their parental rights and responsibilities), deals with the real parents.
I think that nowadays main problem of abortion law in United States is that all states have different understanding of the topic of abortion, and accordingly provide different reaction when a women wants to obtain abortion.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
Flannery, Austin. Abortion & Law. Dublin: Dominican Publications, 1983. Print.
Holquist, Samantha E. ‘Direct Democracy And The Politics Of Abortion: Evaluating The Responsiveness Of State Abortion Policy To State Abortion Attitudes’. pp 21. 0 (2014): n. pag. Web.
McBride, Dorothy E. Abortion Politics, Women’s Movements, And The Democratic State. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
Mohr, James C. Abortion In America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Print.
Potts, Malcolm, Peter Diggory, and John Peel. Abortion. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1977. Print.
Reagan, Leslie J. When Abortion Was A Crime. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. Print.