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Abortion and the law.

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Introduction

ABORTION A) First of all what exactly is Abortion? Abortion is the deliberate premature expulsion of the foetus from the Womb by an operation. There are different methods for abortion.... Vacuum aspiration (suction abortion) - This is when under anaesthetic the neck of the womb is opened by probes (or 'dilators') and a tube inserted. When the vacuum machine is switched on the contents of the womb is sucked down the tube into a disposable jar. About 80% of abortions in England and Wales are done this way. This usually takes five or ten minutes on an outpatient basis. It is the least complicated procedure for abortion because the foetus is so small it can be removed easily, so the women is treated as an outpatient and can be discharged the same day. However, this method can only be used within the first twelve weeks of gestation (the first trimester). The next stage of gestation, the earliest part of the second trimester, involves the dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure. Instead of a tube a scraping instrument (or curette) is used and the foetus is removed this way. This procedure can cause discomfort and bleeding. Sometimes forceps are also used. Prostaglandins (induced premature labour) - This method takes place on the ward, not in the operating theatre. Hormones called prostaglandins are injected to bring on labour. ...read more.

Middle

For grounds 1, 2 and 3 a 24 weeks limite was introduced, because as technology had improved and babies born prematurely at this age could be save. A new ground for abortion is introduced of grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman. This ground has no time limit and some abortions therefore may be performed up to birth. The 'no time limit' (abortion up to birth) was also extended to cover ground 4 (substantial risk of child being born seriously handicapped). The 1990 Act also legalises selective reduction of pregnancy, and opens the door to allow abortifacient drugs like RY486 (abortion pill),once given a product licence, to be administered from places other than an NHS hospital or an approved private abortive clinic. Still, the end decision of whether the abortion takes place is up to the two doctors (or by one in emergencies), not by the woman. Doctors decide whether each woman's case fulfils the criterian set out by the terms of the Abortion Act, yet it is open to a wide range of interpretation by doctors, for example, when is the women's mental health going to be at risk? Some doctors are anti-abortion and can deliberately mislead women, creating delays and problems. Some doctors will refuse to give permission and a woman has to try to find another doctor, by the time she may have passed the 24 week limit and it is too late to have an abortion. ...read more.

Conclusion

A pressure group is a group of people who come together with like minds, and try to influence or put pressure on government to change the law. Pressure groups against abortion are 'LIFE' and 'SPUC - Society for the Protection of the Unborn Children'. Pressure groups for abortion are 'Woman's Right to Choose' and 'NAC - National Abortion Campaign'. The NAC have the motto for women 'our bodies, our lives, our right to decide'. They believe women should have the right to continue their pregnancy, or to terminate it. NAC believes each woman has the right to make the best decision for her, and at the end of the day she is the only person that can make that decision, no one else has the right to force the woman either way. The NAC would like to see the law changed so there is no legal or medical restrictions to the availability of abortion, and abortion can be given on demand. SPUC - Society for Protection of Unborn Children say that from conception the foetus is an 'unborn child' that has every right to life. They want to reassert the principle laid down in the United Nations 1959 Declaration of Rights of the Child that the child 'needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth'. The society's aim is to defend and promote the existence and value of human life from the moment of conception. They would like to examine existing laws relating to abortion and support or oppose such as appropriate. ...read more.

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