Abortion has become increasingly common in contemporary American society, however, rural areas, have significantly lower abortion rates compared to other urban cities. This has indubitably sparked conversations in regards to what factors might correlate with the variety of abortion rates across the nations. In particular, there has been an abundance of concerns that continued to be questioned due to recent studies, observations, and publications based on this research. This concern pertains to socioeconomic class and how it correlates to abortion rates. Superficially, one might conclude that whether you get an abortion or not depends solely if you are “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” but upon further research it is clear that is extended far beyond that. This topic is important as it will discuss how abortions may be affected by where an individual lives – in urban or rural America – and where they stand on the hierarchy, depending on how financially stable
Abortion refers to the elimination of a fetus from the uterus before it’s able to survive independently. Abortion became legal in the U.S. in 1973, since then, it still remains to be one of the most controversial issues in the country. Currently, all 50 states allow abortion as long as a licensed physician performs the surgery, however, in some states a physician has the right to refuse aborting a fetus, but such a physician must recommend you to a doctor who will agree to the procedure. On one side of this debate are those who describe themselves as, “pro-life,” believe abortions are de-humanizing- and should be banned because the embryo should have the same human rights as the mother. On the other side, are those who classify themselves as, “pro-choice-” and they support abortion and believe any woman should have the right to control what they choose to do with their body.
The first recorded abortion was performed in the early 1800’s in Connecticut, and as it soon spread amongst other women, it was banned in the U.S. by 1880. Due to this, women resorted to harmful, dangerous abortions in acts of desperation to remove the fetus. One dangerous practice involved- the consumption of harmful chemicals. (ourbodiesourselves.org, 2014). American birth control activist, Margaret Sanger, devoted her time to the legalization of birth control. She fought for legalizing- a medication that prevents unwanted pregnancies. Although she was arrested multiple times, this didn’t stop her from fighting for women’s human rights and by 1952, Sanger established the first Planned Parenthood Federation, which today is known as a non-profit organization that provides sexual and reproductive health care for women and men. (biography.com)
Over the years, abortion has improved the lives of women because it has prevented the risks of deaths by unsafe, illegal abortions. About 1.1 million abortions are performed each year on the U.S. (wrtl.org). The majorities of those who seek abortions include, but are not limited to: teens, victims of rape, and women with health problems. Teens go through abortion mainly because they are still young and have many things to experience before having a child. In one article titled, “To what extent should women be allowed access to abortion in the United States?”- it is stated that, “Access to abortion also improves women’s opportunities and autonomy…” Three out of 10 girls will get pregnant before the age of 20 in the U.S. Although some decide to conceive the child, others wish to continue their academic studies, so that in the future they will be prepared to raise a child and properly care for it with everything both the child and the mother need. Pro-life advocates might argue that it’s better to put the child for adoption instead of aborting it, but that could only provoke an uncertain for the child, and overwhelming guilt to the mother.
Women have the constitutional right to abortion and the right to privacy, and cannot be forced to conceive a child if they don’t want to. In continuation, victims of rape choose to receive abortions because they fear the child will resemble the father. They believe that they won’t be able to love and care for the child, the way they’re expected to be. Additionally, health issues, like HIV or disabilities that can be passed down from mother to child genetically, are extremely likely. A mother who suffers from this might not want to bring a child into the world with these complications, and result to abortion to avoid these complications.
The abortion procedure is safe and effective, but it’s a long process that demands patience and moral support from family or friends. First, a health care provider will give a pill that will disrupt the lining of the uterus, causing the pregnancy to stop. Then, a will be giving an additional medicine that will empty out the uterus. This might cause cramps and heavy bleeding, and other symptoms, like dizziness. Afterwards, within 2 weeks a follow up with the doctor will be needed to make sure the abortion has been completely done by taking an ultrasound or blood test (womancare-abortion.com).
Society has a great impact on women by condemning them for the actions they deem as necessary. There have been cases all around the country where a pharmacist refuses to give abortion pills, due to their religious or moral beliefs, which is illegal in all 50 states. In an article written by Haley Potiker, she retells the story of a woman who is going through the second step of the abortion procedure, and needs to get the medicine from a pharmacy. Afterwards, when she gives in her prescription the pharmacist refuses to give her the medicine because she claims that, “she needs to speak with the doctor first.” The woman is flustered, and leaves the pharmacy and goes to another one, in hopes that they will give her the medicine with no issue. Fortunately, the pharmacist only questions her if her doctor spoke to her about the instructions and with no hesitation gave her the medicine.
The legalization of abortion lowers the percentage of unwanted pregnancies that result in the mistreatment of a child, like malnutrition, abuse, and neglect. These conditions, can result in the child developing psychological disorders as they mature. Over all, pro-life advocates fight for the banishment of abortion because they believe it is, “the act of taking a human life.” They may argue that an alternative to abortion is adoption, but the child will have a miserable upbringing, not knowing who their birth parents are. Pro-choice advocates believe that abortion can bring benefits to the unborn child because some women, like victims of rape, or teenagers, won’t properly raise and care for the child like it should be, or the mother suffers from an illness that can be transmitted to the child later on and they wish to not risk these complications. Also, some couples are so intensely focused on their career and feel like they are not prepared enough to take care of a child. Individuals cannot let their beliefs get in the way of giving their customers what they need because they have no say in what a woman can do with her body.
The American Dream. Everyone wishes to accomplish it coming to this country, but not many are able to fulfill it. The American Dream primarily refers to chasing one’s goals with the presence of no economic or social barriers. Unfortunately as “Social Class and Stratification: Classic Statements and Theoretical Debates” claims: “Though everyone has the common right to succeed, it is not an equal “right”; though there is equality of rank for some of us, there is not equality of rank for all of us,” explaining how economic and social factors go hand-in-hand, creating a hierarchy of socioeconomic classes – which majorly dominate todays American society. An individual’s socioeconomic class pertains to their social and financial stand which is measured by their own or family’s education, income, and occupation. Depending where an individual stand on the socioeconomic spectrum, they are granted with more privileges than others, allowing them to easily gain power and control. For instance, there is the upper-class (wealthy), – the most privileged – middle-class, and the lower-class (poor) – who are more likely to me the most underprivileged. it is evident that one’s race also affects their place in the hierarchy as minorities are greatly discriminated and marginalize, preventing them from gaining social mobility. The American Psychological Association states that, “In the United States, 39 percent of African-American children and adolescents and 33 percent of Latino children and adolescents are living in poverty, which is more than double the 14 percent poverty rate for non-Latino, White, and Asian children and adolescents,” meaning it is evident that one’s race also affects their place in the hierarchy as minorities are greatly discriminated and marginalize, preventing them from gaining social mobility.
Abortion and Socioeconomic Class
Since the 19th century America has gone through an immense transition due to its industrialization. Consequently, most individuals began to move to urban areas such as New York City, Boston, etc. in search of new opportunities. Today, – as the graphs below show – most people who belong to the high-class and higher middle-class tend to live in these urban cities while those who pertain to the lower middle-class and low-class mostly live in rural America. Compared to rural America, urban cities are known for their abundance of high paying jobs as ‘Poverty and Opportunity Structure in America” claims that “Many rural communities lack stable employment, opportunities in mobility, investment in the community, and diversity in the economy and other social institutions.” In continuation, research has shown that women who live in these urban cities are more likely to get an abortion. It might not be simply because they wish to not have a child, but because of other constraints as “Living in the Environment” says that “Studies show that women tend to have fewer children if they are educated. Old a paying job outside the home, and live in societies where their human rights are not suppressed.” Access to an education has empowered an abundance of women to build a future for themselves – without the need to become dependent on a man – leaving them with little to no time for having and taking care of more than a certain amount of children or decide to have none at all. However, women who come from low-income families are sometimes forced to stay home to work because they are not able to afford an education, increasing the amount of children they conceive as the books states “Poor women who cannot read often have five to seven children, compared to two or fewer in societies where almost all women can read.”
Moreover, family planning programs have also lead to a decrease in abortions. Family planning educates couples and provides them with clinical services that help them decide how many children they should have and then they should have as “Living in the Environment” explains it gives families valuable information regarding birth spacing, birth control, and health care for pregnant women and infants. Unfortunately, not many individuals are able to afford these services, leaving them uninformed about methods such as birth control and its impact as “…lower-income individuals typically use contraception less frequently, and less successfully, than those with higher incomes” (Brookings.edu).
Women usually seek an abortion because they believe they cannot afford to raise a child, were raped
In essence, upon extensive research and analysis of various sources, the correlation between abortions and socioeconomic class is evident as the argument is heavily supported. Women who have high to moderate incomes tend to have a higher chance to get an abortion than women with low incomes. Incomes in urban areas are much higher than in rural areas, which explains why there are more job opportunities, access to education, and family planning services for women. Unfortunately, many women also live in poverty in rural America since they are not given similar chances of success and are sometimes forced to stay home to work rather than continue their education. There have been many cases were a woman has been denied an abortion, making them more likely to wind up in poverty – if they were not already. This issue continues to grow everyday as current protocols in America placed to deal with this gap seem to be weak. Women have to be properly educated about abortions and other options such as birth controls especially teenagers and sexually active women. This can be accomplished by implementing awareness courses in schools and government-funded family planning programs in low-income neighborhoods. In the long run, this will ensure that many women will be provided with the same opportunities and resources to become affluent and prosperous and not fall victims of unwanted pregnancies.
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