Essay by kougnutUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, July 2005

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Abortion: Whose choice? Abortion in today's society has become very political. You are either pro-choice or pro-life, and there doesn't seem to be a happy medium. As we look at abortion and research its history, should it remain legal in the United States, or should it be outlawed to reduce the ever growing rate of abortion. A choice should continue to exist but the emphasis needs to be placed on education of the parties involved. James C. Mohr takes a good look at abortion in his book Abortion in America. He takes us back in history to the 1800s so we can understand how the practice and legalization of abortion has changed over the year. In the absence of any legislation whatsoever on the subject of abortion in the U.S. in 1800, the legal status of the practice was governed by the traditional British common law as interpreted by the local courts of new American states.

For centuries prior to 1800 the key to the common law's attitude towards abortion had been a phenomenon associated with normal gestation as quickening. Quickening was the first perception of fetal movement by the pregnant woman herself. Quickening generally occurred during the mid-point of gestation, late in the fourth or early in the fifth month, though it would and still does vary a good deal from one woman to another (pg.3). The common law did not formally recognize the existence of a fetus in criminal cases until it had quickened. After quickening, the expulsion and destruction of the fetus without due case was considered a crime, because the fetus itself had manifested some semi-balance of a separate existence: the ability to move (pg3). The even more controversial question: Is the fetus alive? Has been at the forefront of the debate. Medically, the procedure...