Essay by mariek04High School, 12th gradeA+, July 2003

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A topic that seems to get more heated as it gets older is abortion. Though it has been around for centuries, the controversy surrounding this birth control procedure is never ending. Supporters on both sides of the issue are convinced that their opinion is the correct one and they have the evidence to prove it. With the legalization of abortion as a result of the Roe versus Wade court battle in 1973, the question of ethics and rights surrounding this issue have only grown.

The history of abortion in the United States dates back over a hundred years ago, though 'underground' abortions took place before then. In the United States, abortion laws began to appear in the 1820s, forbidding abortion after the fourth month of pregnancy. Through the efforts primarily of physicians, the American Medical Association, and legislators, most abortions in the US had been outlawed by 1900. Illegal abortions were still frequent, though they became less frequent during the reign of the Comstock Law, which essentially banned birth control information and devices.

Some early feminists, like Susan B. Anthony, wrote against abortion. They opposed abortion which at the time was an unsafe medical procedure for women, endangering their health and life. These feminists believed that only the achievement of women's equality and freedom would end the need for abortion. They wrote that prevention was more important than punishment, and blamed circumstances, laws and the men they believed drove women to abortions. Later when safe and effective birth control became available, feminists defended it as another way to prevent abortion. By 1965, all fifty states banned abortion, with some exceptions which varied by state. The exceptions included in cases of the mother's life being in danger, rape or incest, or if the fetus was deformed. Groups like the National...