WHEN ABORTION WAS A CRIME There was an estimated 2 million abortions a year in the 1890s and 1-2 million annually during the 1920s and „30s when abortion was illegal Whether a woman could have an abortion depended on her: race, economic situation, and where she lived Women with money could leave the country or find expensive doctors Poor women were at the mercy of incompetent practitioners
WHEN ABORTION WAS A CRIME Women also tried dangerous self abortions by inserting knitting needles or coat hangers into the vagina and uterus, douching with dangerous solutions, or swallowing strong drugs or chemicals. All women were subjected to the desperation, humiliation, and fear created by the criminalization Scholars estimate about 5,000 women died annually in the US because of abortions Nearly 4 times as many women of color as white women died as a result of illegal abortions
JANE COLLECTIVE Before abortion was legalized there was an underground feminist abortion service, the Jane Collective. They provided safe, effective, inexpensive, and supportive illegal abortions Over a 4 year period they provided more than 11,000 first and second trimester abortions Also some dedicated & well-trained doctors and other medical practitioners risked imprisonment, fines, and loss of their medical licenses to provide abortions
LEGALIZING ABORTION Inspired by the civil rights and anti-war movements, women began standing up for themselves in the 1960s They marched, rallied, and lobbied for legislative reform As a result – some states liberalized abortion laws, allowing women to have an abortion only in certain circumstances, such as rape or incest New York became the first state to legalize abortion Eventually, the Supreme Court decided a woman‟s decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester was protected under the “right of privacy… founded in the Fourteenth Amendment‟s concept of personal liberty”
FINE PRINT Even though abortion was legalized, the court allowed states to place restrictions in the second trimester to protect a woman‟s health, and in the third trimester to protect a viable fetus
ANTI-CHOICE MOVEMENT Legalizing abortion began an aggressive, often violent campaign to: Intimidate abortion providers Block access to clinics Stigmatize abortion Pass legal restrictions Their main goal was to outlaw abortion entirely, but their approach has been to wear away access to clinics Harassment and violence against providers has led to a sharp decrease in services
OPERATION SAVE AMERICA Originally Operation Rescue, Operation Save America gained a bad reputation in the 1980s for blockading clinic entrances, provoking tens of thousands of arrests worldwide Abortion clinics have been the targets of: Bombings Arson Anthrax threats Acid attacks
OPERATION SAVE AMERICA CONTINUED State restrictions have been devastating for the most vulnerable women: Young women Women with low incomes Women of color Women who live in rural areas Women who depend on the government for health care
FREEDOM OF ACCESS TO CLINIC ENTRANCESACT (FACE) Congress passed this act to try to stop the massive protests and invasions of clinics but failed Individual doctors and their families were harassed, their yards were picketed, wanted posters circulated the communities, and people also listed their name on the internet
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ABORTION Medication Vacuum Aspiration – also known as suction curettage Dilation and evacuation Induction
MEDICATION ABORTION Ends pregnancy within the first 9 weeks Can only be used if pregnancy has not exceeded 9 weeks 2 types are drugs are taken within 2-7 days after each other Pills can either be taken orally or inserted into the vagina First drug is taken at clinic, but the second pill may either be sent home with you to take or you will have to return to the clinic to take it Cramping & bleeding will usually begin within a few hours Bleeding may be heavier than normal period Cramps will range from mild to intense – severe lower abdominal cramps typically mean the pregnancy tissue is passing down the cervix Most common side effects: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, or fatigue They should not last long & will resolve on their own Spotting may continue for several days to a few weeks A follow up appointment must be scheduled so the clinician can be sure the abortion was successful
VACUUM ASPIRATION Suction is used to terminate the pregnancy in one appointment Can be used as a method of abortion up to 16 weeks of pregnancy Before starting the procedure the clinician performs a pelvic exam to check the size & position of the uterus A speculum is inserted into the vagina to separate the vaginal walls to bring the cervix into view Local anesthetic solution is injected around the cervix in two or more places The cervix will gradually dilate by insertion and removal of dilators of increasing size A cannula, a sterile straw like tube is inserted through the cervix into the uterus.• It is attached to the vacuum device or electric pump and the pregnancy tissues are removed by moving the cannula back & forth• There will be some cramping as the uterus contracts & empties – these are important because they squeeze the blood vessels of the uterus shut Cramps may also range from mild to intense but will lessen right after the cannula is removed
DILATION & EVACUATION AND INDUCTIONABORTIONDilation and Evacuation Induction Abortion Similar to vacuum Involves medications that cause the uterus to contract and expel the abortion pregnancy Painful contractions may last for However, the cervix several hours or even just one day needs to be open wider Takes place in a hospital – most because the pregnancy is hospitals don‟t have a special area for induction abortions so women further along requiring a may be on the maternity ward clinician to soften & As the fetus is expelled, there is a lot of pressure in the rectal area dilate the cervix ahead of If the placenta does not exit the body time within an hour or two, your provider may use suction to remove it Usually takes between 10-20 minutes
SURPRISING FACTS! Pregnancy Crisis centers are often listen under abortion alternatives in the phone book. They provide advertising about counseling & referral agencies but they are actually run by anti-choice groups. They advertise free pregnancy testing but actually try to dissuade women from having abortions by giving misleading information such as, telling you your pregnancy is further along than it actually is Some states require a 1-2 day waiting period between counseling & the procedure making women wait even longer causing a second trimester abortion You can continue to test positive for pregnancy 4-6 weeks after a successful abortion Not all hospital have specific areas for women getting induction abortions so they may end up on the maternity ward – I think this could cause severe emotional problems
ABORTION FACTS 88% of abortions are performed during the first trimester Length of pregnancy is counted from the first day of the last menstrual period not the day of conception The method of abortion a woman uses depends on a few things: medical history, including any medical conditions or drug allergies, how far along the pregnancy is, the equipment & supplies available, the training of the person performing the abortion, and your own preferences. If you have a choice of abortion procedures (meaning the pregnancy is not too far along) you should consider: effectiveness, duration & predictability, pain & pain relief options, convenience & privacy, and cost You can get pregnant shortly after an abortion, even before your first period, so it’s important to use reliable birth control It is normal to feel relief after an abortion, but it is also normal to have mixed or even negative feelings
FOOD FOR THOUGHT Only 18% of ob-gyn residency programs train all residents in abortion procedures, do you think everyone should be trained so women can have a wider choice when choosing who will terminate their pregnancy? Do you think we should develop more abortion clinics for women of lower socioeconomic status? Think about your views of abortion right now. Now think about it if you or someone you love was raped & got pregnant from that rape – do you still feel the same way about abortion?
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