Abortion, the termination of a pregnancy either through miscarriage or surgical procedure, is an issue that has been argued for centuries from a physical, moralistic and emotional point of view. The close of the 1980s is witnessing a resurgence of the issue, unparalleled in years. The purpose of this paper is to discuss abortion in light of the new judicial and legislative developments begun in 1989, pointing out the rational and emotional flaws in both pro and con arguments. With contraceptives available and sex education now addressed within the school systems, the conclusion of any argument on abortion today is that it is unjustifiable except in certain cases.
In 1973, the Supreme Court, in the case of Roe v. Wade, decided that the right to privacy included a right to abortion ("Toward" 75). Further, it held that states could forbid abortion in the last ten weeks of pregnancy unless it was deemed necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother. Abortion advocates believed the war bad been won and the practice of abortion became part of sex education in America and other countries around the world. Today, almost one out of three pregnancies in America ends in abortion ("Abortion" 71).
However, those against abortion, known as "pro-life" or "right-to-lifers," had been waiting for the inevitable change of public and political sentiment in favor of their position. The end of the 1980s and the effects of the Ronald Reagan presidency proved, in their estimate, to be the time to raise the specter of a change in the law. The state of Missouri provided the tool.
As a result, on January 9, 1989, the Supreme Court, much changed in its political leanings since 1973, agreed to reopen the issue when it voted to review a case, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, in which a lower court found Missouri's antiabortion statute unconstitutional (Holden 730). The Webster case is based on a 1986 Missouri state law that not...