SOC 2000 Unit 10 Women’s Rights Abortion Health or Rights

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Introduction

Abortion has been an issue that has captivated public attention for many years and will continue to be a topic of debate in the foreseeable future. This is primarily due to our country’s diverse range of individuals, each with perspectives, opinions, and beliefs shaped by personal experiences and extensive research. Abortion elicits solid emotions and considerations of the complex social issues at stake.

A significant turning point in the history of abortion in the United States occurred in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Before this landmark decision, abortion was prohibited in 30 states, with only 16 allowing exceptions in “special circumstances.” Merely three states permitted abortions for in-state residents, while New York was the only state that generally allowed abortions. 

The contentious nature of the abortion debate arises from the opposing views held by many. Some advocate for the return to a complete ban on abortion, believing it to be morally wrong, while others contend that such a prohibition would lead to dangerous “back alley” abortions, causing harm and even death. 

Those who support a woman’s right to choose argue that preventing access to abortion jeopardizes women’s lives and denies them control over their bodies. Conversely, those who believe that life begins at conception and that unborn children possess rights view abortion as equivalent to murder in the eyes of the law (NPN, 2010).

SOC 2000 Unit 10 Women’s Rights Abortion Health or Rights

The landscape of our world is constantly evolving, and conversations surrounding women’s rights have become more commonplace today than in previous generations. Reflecting on her own experiences, my grandmother often remarks that abortion was rarely discussed and would have been inconceivable during her youth. In the present era, advocating for women’s rights has become increasingly normalized and celebrated. 

I am closely involved with a women’s clinic in Bismarck, ND, where I witness their incredible work. Contrary to popular misconceptions, these clinics offer a broad range of services beyond abortion, including free birth control, conducting STD screenings, offering pregnancy tests, and support and assistance when needed. It is essential to dispel the misconception that a women’s clinic solely focuses on abortion.

In this paper, I aim to delve into the importance of women’s rights and the significance of the abortion issue in our society. By exploring the complexities of the abortion debate and understanding the broader context of women’s rights, we can contribute to a more informed and compassionate dialogue. 

To gain deeper insights, I conducted a study to gauge public opinion on abortion. Throughout the paper, I will present and analyze the results, shedding light on the diverse perspectives and attitudes regarding this contentious topic.

Literature Review and Strategies

In this section, I will review a study conducted by Robert Johnson and discuss his motivations for undertaking the research. Johnson’s study focuses on historical abortion statistics in the United States and whether the individuals undergoing abortions were residents of the country (Johnston, 2017). The study reveals intriguing trends in abortion numbers over the years. For instance, the first recorded abortion in the United States was in 1926, with a count of 2, and this figure remained consistent until 1931, when it rose to 49 women seeking abortions. The rapid increase in numbers within a single year is remarkable. Subsequently, in 1966, the number of abortions escalated to 1,028, reaching 1 million in 1974. However, in 2010-2011, the figures decreased to 700,000 reported abortions. It is important to note that these are only reported abortions, as numerous cases go unreported yearly (Johnston, 2017).

SOC 2000 Unit 10 Women’s Rights Abortion Health or Rights

Additionally, a thought-provoking article published on the New York University website by Devitt (2014) delves into the perception divide regarding abortion. The report highlights the disparity in exposure to abortion-related information between individuals who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. 

According to a study published in the journal Sociological Science, individuals opposed to abortion are less likely to learn about instances of abortion involving their sister, mother, or friend compared to their pro-choice counterparts (Devitt, 2014). Sarah K. Cowan, the study’s author, suggests that women who identify as pro-life are less inclined to disclose their own abortion experiences. 

In contrast, pro-choice women are more open about sharing their stories. The study, which surveyed 1,600 adults, sheds light on the limited knowledge individuals with staunch views on abortion possess about the topic (Devitt, 2014).

These studies offer valuable insights into the historical trends of abortion in the United States and the differing perceptions surrounding the issue. We can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of this complex and emotionally charged topic through comprehensive research and exploring diverse perspectives. By analyzing the data and understanding the factors that shape individuals’ knowledge and attitudes, we can develop effective strategies to bridge the perception divide and foster informed and respectful discussions on abortion.

Methods

I employed a questionnaire distributed through social media platforms to gather the data for my research. I shared the questionnaire on my Facebook page and encouraged others to share it with their friends, resulting in a broad reach. In total, I received 145 responses to the ten questions included in the questionnaire. 

To streamline the process and facilitate data analysis, I utilized the online survey platform surveymonkey.com. This platform allowed for easy questionnaire sharing and presented the responses in visually appealing pie graphs for enhanced readability and comprehension.

The questionnaire consisted of the following questions:

  1. What is your age group?

   – 16-24

   – 25-33

   – 34-42

   – 43-51

   – 52 and up

  1. What is your gender?

   – Female

   – Male

  1. Which race/ethnicity best describes you? (Please choose only one.)

   – American Indian or Alaskan Native

   – Asian/Pacific Islander

   – Black or African American

   – Hispanic

   – White/Caucasian

   – Multiple ethnicities/Other (please specify)

  1. What is the highest level of education you have completed?

   – Less than High School Diploma

   – High School Diploma

   – Some College

   – Associate’s Degree

   – Bachelor’s Degree

   – Graduate School/Degree

  1. Do you identify with any of the following religions?

   – Protestantism

   – Catholicism

   – Christianity

   – Judaism

   – Islam

   – Buddhism

   – Hinduism

   – Native American

   – Inter/Non-denominational

   – No religion

   – Other (please specify)

  1. Do you agree with abortion?

   – Yes

   – No

   – Depends

   – Sometimes

   – Not Sure

  1. When do you think life begins?

   – At conception (when an egg is fertilized)

   – At 12 weeks of pregnancy

   – At 24 weeks of pregnancy (the deadline for abortions in most states)

   – At birth

   – Not Sure

  1. What influenced your opinion on abortion? (You can pick more than one.)

   – Morals

   – Religion

   – People’s Opinion

   – Media

   – Other…

   – Not Sure

   – Research to make your views

  1. Under what circumstances do you think abortion should be allowed? (You can pick more than one. Do not fill out this question if you believe abortion should never be allowed.)

   – A woman has been raped

   – A woman that will die if she does not get an abortion

   – A woman is having an affair

   – A woman did not have easy access to birth control

   – Other…

   – Not Sure

   – Every Situation (Her Choice)

  1. Do you think abortion should be illegal in any circumstance?

    – Yes

    – No

By employing this questionnaire, I aimed to gather diverse perspectives and insights on abortion, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of attitudes and opinions on this complex topic.

I was delighted with the survey outcomes as they provided valuable insights. To design an effective survey, I researched existing surveys on abortion and women’s rights in magazines and online platforms. 

This exploration proved immensely beneficial in guiding me through creating a well-crafted survey that would yield meaningful results. Drawing inspiration from previous surveys, I ensured the comprehensiveness and relevance of the questions included in my survey.

Discussion, Analysis, and Theoretical Application

The utilization of surveymonkey.com allowed for the seamless visualization and interpretation of the survey data in the form of pie graphs (Saari, 2017). Despite concerns about potential reluctance to participate in the survey due to the state’s conservative nature, I received various unexpected and diverse responses.

Let us delve into the analysis of the survey responses. Of the respondents, 133 were women, while only 12 were men. The fewer male respondents could be attributed to the topic’s sensitive nature, which some men prefer to avoid. Regarding age groups, there was a significant representation of young and middle-aged individuals, with fewer respondents in the higher age group, mainly consisting of my grandparents.

Regarding racial demographics, most respondents were Caucasian, which aligns with the predominant population in North Dakota. However, there were also 13 Native American and 2 African American respondents, reflecting some diversity within the sample.

When examining educational attainment, most respondents held a Bachelor’s Degree, which can be considered an expected level of education. It is worth noting that 15% of respondents possessed a Graduate Degree, demonstrating a higher level of education. In comparison, 6% had less than a high school diploma, indicating a range of educational backgrounds among participants.

Question 6 asked about an agreement with abortion, and the responses varied significantly. Approximately 33% of respondents agreed, while 31% disagreed. Another 18% responded with “sometimes” or “depends.” This question yielded a surprising range of perspectives, showcasing the complexity and diversity of opinions.

For Question 7, which inquired about when life begins, 61% of respondents indicated that life begins at conception. Approximately 32% believed it starts at 24 weeks of pregnancy, while only 2% chose 12 weeks. A small percentage of 5% remained uncertain. This question proved challenging, particularly for male respondents who may need a more personal understanding of pregnancy-related milestones.

SOC 2000 Unit 10 Women’s Rights Abortion Health or Rights

The final question garnered an overwhelming response, with some respondents contacting me directly to express their nuanced views. While many believed that abortion should be legal in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk, they disagreed with unrestricted access to abortion. It was essential to emphasize that the question explicitly asked about any circumstance, requiring respondents to answer accordingly.

The survey revealed diverse opinions on abortion, including beliefs on when life begins and circumstances for allowing it. This highlights the importance of considering multiple viewpoints.

The survey results indicate that out of 100 respondents, 35% believe that abortion should be illegal in any circumstance, while 65% disagree with this stance. Although the limited display of responses due to technical issues hinders a comprehensive analysis, it provides a glimpse into the participants’ views.

In light of recent policies, such as President Trump’s decision to allow employers to opt out of covering birth control (Cruickshank, 2010), there is a concern that restricted access to contraception may lead to increased abortion rates. Society must recognize that abortion is not the ultimate evil and that education is critical to fostering understanding. Not everyone is in a position to provide a stable upbringing for a child, and it is essential to respect individuals’ autonomy in making decisions about their bodies.

The issue of limited access to birth control is significant, particularly for women who face challenges in obtaining it. Women’s rights should be at the forefront of discussions, and I firmly believe that men should not have the authority to dictate what women can or cannot do with their bodies. Comprehensive education on sex, abortion, and birth control can provide valuable support to those in difficult situations.

SOC 2000 Unit 10 Women’s Rights Abortion Health or Rights

It is essential to extend support and empathy to women who must decide to terminate a pregnancy or require assistance. Instead of tearing down women seeking help at clinics, fostering a compassionate and non-judgmental environment is crucial. Passing judgment without fully understanding an individual’s circumstances is unfair and unwarranted. One must be adequately informed and educated to form a valid opinion on this matter.

In conclusion, promoting comprehensive education, understanding reproductive rights, and acknowledging women’s difficulties in accessing birth control are crucial steps toward creating a more compassionate and supportive society. Only through empathy and informed discussions can we move forward in ensuring the well-being and autonomy of all individuals.

References

Cruickshank, H. (2017, October 10). Birth Control Mandate Changes: Effects on Women. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-women-will-be-affected-by-changes-in-birth-control-measures#1

Gallagher, C. (2012). Rethinking the color line: Readings in race and ethnicity (5th Ed.). McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions.

Johnston, R. (2017, February 23). Historical abortion statistics, United States. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-unitedstates.html

National Post Newspaper. (2010). Retrieved on December 11, 2017, from

www.nationalpost.com/news

Saari, M. (2017, November 23). Abortion [Scholarly project]. In Survey Monkey. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from https://www.surveymonkey.com/analyze/3aK0O2tD9LFT7Mx76xjWJBTJbCgWNoHI_2B_2FgmStSIgqo0V8XXZ4JmM8gx4tMZk_2FKJ