PL SC 001-Abortion - wJackie Diaz 11/02/07 PL SC 001: Essay...

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wJackie Diaz 11/02/07 PL SC 001: Essay Assignment The Dynamics of Abortion in the United States Abortion is a decisive issue that has incited controversy throughout history and that has been confronted by myriad opinions. By definition, the term refers to the termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is capable of sustaining independent life—a definition that has infiltrated all aspects of society, including government and that has changed with context. In a political context, abortion laws have evolved in response to three pervasive factors: the relationship between government institutions and public opinion, the fundamentally static views of the parties on the issue, and the pro-choice viewpoint that has emerged. Although equally influential, they all independently illustrate how political institutions have responded to deeply rooted debates over civil liberties. The influence that public opinion has had on political institutions is evident through the implementation of the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions. The cases held that the right to decide whether or not to bear a child was a woman’s fundamental right to privacy. Furthermore, it divided the pregnancy into trimesters asserting that in the first trimester, the choice of abortion was for a woman alone; that in the second trimester, states could regulate it; and that in the third trimester, states could ban it unless it was necessary to preserve a woman’s health or life. The decision was spurred by the widespread support for the repeal of laws that prohibited abortion. Reform activists were rampant and support extended beyond the public to include the professional elites as well. However, instead of ending controversy over the abortion issue, the Roe decision ended up sparking staunch opposition and ultimately a shift in opinion. Thus, government institutions began to change their policy once more in order to respond to the anti-abortion movement
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that many of their constituents now favored. In both situations, pre-Roe and post-Roe, shifts in opinion caused changes in policy. Although this opposition manifested itself in many forms including religious, medical, etc., one major argument against the decision dealt with
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course PL SC 001 taught by Professor Gold,suzannemcampbell,thomasc during the Fall '07 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

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PL SC 001-Abortion - wJackie Diaz 11/02/07 PL SC 001: Essay...

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