17 January 2013, 11:14

Bill suggested to make abortions class 3 felony in Colorado: abortions as divisive issue that lasts for centuries in US

Bill suggested to make abortions class 3 felony in Colorado: abortions as divisive issue that lasts for centuries in US

An abortion would be ranked a class 3 felony and doctors performing operations of the kind would be subject to a serious punishment in Colorado State, should a bill initiated by a Republican representative be enacted. The US, one of the world's major powers, is still in search of the middle ground on the most divisive issue - abortions.

The suggested legislation stipulates that any abortion performed in order to save the mother’s life would not be deemed a ground to launch a criminal case. The same stipulation would be true for a medical treatment that accidentally leads to an abortion.

Speaking about the bill, its sponsor, Republican Steve Humphrey, has claimed that “taking life is not justified” even at “the earliest stage of its development.” Humphrey spoke passionately, and as if was a personal issue.

To realize the extent of the abortion issue in the US, let’s have a look at the recent statistical data available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the federal agency whose mission is to protect the health of US citizens – in its report titled “Abortion Surveillance – United States, 2009” released last November, writes that “a total of 784,507 abortions were reported to CDC for 2009.” This figure covers only 45 of the so-called “reporting areas” out of 52, meant to be the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the New York City). The abortion rate for 2009, the agency continues, was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years. Te total number and rate of reported abortions have dropped by 5% if compared with the similar data for 2008, the CDC concludes.

A look at abortions in dynamics would reveal that during 2005–2009, the abortion rate decreased by 0.12 abortions per 1,000 women per year. In contrast, CDC says, during 2000–2004, the abortion rate decreased by 0.06 abortions per 1,000 women per year.

Given that for over years some of the states – California, Delaware, Maryland, or New Hampshire – did not provide abortion numbers to CDC, the agency’s data look somewhat incomplete, especially since, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute affiliated with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, “California represent 17.7% of all abortions in the United States.” In other words, the overall picture could have been different, if California State had delivered abortion data.

Two additional facts about abortions in the USA have to be mentioned: 

About one in three American women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches age 45.

58% of women having abortions are in their 20s.

First anti-abortion legislation in the US dated back to the 1820s. In 1821 New York State a post-quickening abortion was ranked a felony. By 1900 abortions were illegal in most states. Medical specialists and women who hired them for abortions were subject to punishment.

Anti-abortion movement that emerged soon referred to the right of privacy guaranteed by the US Constitution and demanded that a US woman was provided with the right for an abortion by law. By 1973 abortions were illegal in 30 states and legal under certain circumstances in 20 states.

The year of 1973 marked the landmark in the US abortion legislation. In deciding Roe v. Wade case the US Supreme Court legalized abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy. Dozens of state antiabortion statutes were struck at the moment.

The US society has never been more or less unanimous about the subject. Strong abortions-rights, or pro-choice, organizations, like Planned Parenthood and National Organization for Women, as well as anti-abortion, or pro-life, groups like the National Right to Life Committee, were constantly lobbying their interests.

Abortions have become a political issue. US Presidents are described as pro-life or pro-choice. They fall back on abortion-related topics during presidential campaigns. The latest presidential race was not an exception.

According to a mass media outlet, “President Obama brought up federal funding for Planned Parenthood four times in Tuesday's debate, perhaps in a sign that he believes the issue can help him with female voters.”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a US-based branch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. On their web-site Planned Parenthood claim they “deliver vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people.”

Planned Parenthood has been numerously attacked by Republicans for their stance on abortions as a method of planning.

“I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate,” Romney told during the 2012 presidential campaign. “I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget.”

While speaking about Planned Parenthood, Obama, a well-known pro-choice President, was carefully choosing his words. He did not touch upon the number of abortions the organizations annually performs, as though clearly understanding it could be easily taken up by Romney and used against him. On the other hand, Obama sounded reasonable when he mentioned that Romney “had gone to a more extreme place”.

Voice of Russia

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