Abortion Policy in the United States

Throughout the years, abortion has been a controversial issue in the United States, where different policies concerning the termination of pregnancy exist. Abortion regulations have a direct influence on women and can influence numerous aspects of a female’s life. The policies related to the issue target the healthcare industry due to their implications for women’s health. Starting in 2010, the number of various restrictions on abortions increased significantly around the states (Daniels, Ferguson, Howard, & Roberti, 2016).

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Moreover, in spring 2019, the governor of Alabama has signed the Human Life Protection Act, which intends to ban all abortions, despite the nature of their origins (“Governor Ivey issues,” 2019). Consequently, many disputes concerning this matter started to spread, questioning the necessity of the restrictions and their impact. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the trends in abortion policies and regulations within the US, analyze its implications for female wellbeing and healthcare professionals, and observe possible recommendations.

For a better understanding of the abortion policy, it is crucial to mention the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases and the 1992 Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey case. Those cases’ decisions have shaped the course of the policy flow and its regulations. Thus, the judicial sittings in 1973 have concluded that setting restrictions on abortion violates the right to privacy, which ended up eliminating any rules for the first trimester of pregnancy (Medoff, 2010).

In 1992, the Court decided that the outcomes of 1973 cases should be removed and that the states can set any restrictions without any burden to the abortion laws (Medoff, 2010). Since that moment, “the undue burden standard has been the current legal standard of abortion regulation before fetal viability” (Medoff, 2010, p. 578). Besides, due to this conclusion, one might claim that abortion laws can influence different parties and professional areas. In such a way, women, the society, the state’s birth, and mortality rates, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, pregnancy termination providers, and the legislature can be impacted by the policy’s changes.

As a result of the court decision at the beginning of the 1990s, many states started to implement various abortion regulations. Among them, there are a specific waiting period, physician and hospitals’ requirements, parental involvement, and state-mandated counseling (“An overview of abortion,” 2019). The objective of those restrictions is to reduce the number of abortions. The latest studies reveal that in the US, in 2014, the professionals performed 12% fewer abortions than in 2011.

Also, within that period, the number of clinics that provide pregnancy termination services declined by 6 % (Jones & Jerman, 2017). Another interesting point is that almost no state provides public funding for abortions, and the opponents of abortion believed that increased procedure costs could help to minimize the demand (Medoff, 2010). Thus, one can say that the supporters of abortion prohibition have reached certain numbers in their objectives, but the issue is still there and requires consideration.

Curiously, there is a division of opinions concerning the abortion policy in the US, having those who are the active supporters of the regulations and those who want to give an equal choice for everyone. According to the statistics, more than 200 various abortion restrictions were implemented throughout the country in the period between 2011 and 2013 (Dreweke, 2014). The targeted regulations on abortion providers (TRAP) take a separate space within the policy issues.

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Many clinics had to close because of those laws, which makes many women travel long distances to have a chance to terminate an unwilling pregnancy (Dreweke, 2014). Besides, numerous restrictions for women among the states to have the legal right for abortion impose additional burdens and make it hard for them to make their free choice (Dreweke, 2014). Women have to face many difficulties, including the lack of abortion services providers and high economic costs, which makes the regulations very controversial.

One more concern is that the barriers for women to have a right to abortion, which the authorities impose, concern the equality aspect. Ely and Dulmus (2010) argue that each woman should possess the power for legal pregnancy termination because it will give them the equality of choices that men have. Besides, new control of abortions often results in the fact that vulnerable women groups are influenced to a greater extent, which undermines the equal rights principle in general (Ely & Dulmus, 2010).

The critical issue is that unwanted childbearing can lead to numerous illnesses, especially for women with lower incomes. The problem lies in the fact that females from poor neighborhoods have limited knowledge about contraceptive methods and have lower access to abortion services (Ely & Dulmus, 2010). Consequently, women have to carry a child against their will, which can cause psychological diseases both for those women and for undesired children. Those facts point out that there is a necessity in modifying the abortion policy and increasing access to the related services and procedures.

Specific alterations to the existing pregnancy termination regulations among the states can give a new perspective to women around the nation. For example, making the information about contraceptive measures available for everyone, and offering high-quality and reasonably priced contraceptive tools can favorably influence the levels of unwanted pregnancies (Dreweke, 2014). Another possible solution can be improving current regulations, making them less strict, and giving a chance to everyone to have access to safe and legal abortion practices.

Moreover, state authorities should aim to help women achieve healthy pregnancies, which can reduce the number of illnesses among those who are carrying a child against their will (Dreweke, 2014). Taking those measures can minimize the disputes among abortion supporters and opponents, and create an atmosphere of decision-making without obstacles.

It is crucial to mention that one more recommendation is “the protection and expansion of publicly funded family planning services” (Dreweke, 2014). For instance, the access to contraceptive care that is publicly supported gave a possibility to avoid more than two million unwilling pregnancies, among which more than 700,000 would end up in abortion (Dreweke, 2014). Also, supporting the Affordable Care Act, which intends to provide private and public insurance that also includes contraceptive coverage, can improve the situation (Dreweke, 2014). Therefore, various alternatives to the abortion policy in the country can give better opportunities for women in terms of their health and simplify the restrictions.

In conclusion, the current abortion policy in America lets the states set various restrictions and regulations that have an impact on all the parties involved. Strict burdens to the access to get abortions lead to many unwanted child bearings, many closed practices, and health issues among females. The states can implement specific recommendations, such as increasing knowledge about contraceptive methods, offering publicly supported measures, or offering safe access to pregnancy termination services. Consequently, a considerable impact of the abortion policy on society creates the need for modification, which can be achieved through different improvements.

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References

An overview of abortion laws. (2019). Web.

Dreweke, J. (2014). US abortion rate continues to decline while the debate over means to the end escalates. Guttmacher Policy Review, 17(2), 2-7.

Daniels, C. R., Ferguson, J., Howard, G., & Roberti, A. (2016). Informed or misinformed consent? Abortion policy in the United States. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 41(2), 181-209.

Ely, G. E., & Dulmus, C. N. (2010). Abortion policy and vulnerable women in the United States: A call for social work policy practice. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 20(5), 658-671.

Governor Ivey states signing the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. (2019). Web.

Jones, R. K., & Jerman, J. (2017). Abortion incidence and service availability in the United States, 2014. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 49(1), 17-27.

Medoff, M. H. (2010). State abortion policies, targeted regulation of abortion provider laws, and abortion demand. Review of Policy Research, 27(5), 577-594.

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StudyCorgi. "Abortion Policy in the United States." July 13, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/abortion-policy-in-the-united-states/.

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