Abortion is one ethical issue that falls under the category of ethical issues that are very much problematic to resolve because it coincides with different cultural and religious implications. The discourse on abortion reaches many levels and branches and it is broad in nature. Writing a research paper on abortion requires a recognition of different perspectives in order to build a multifaceted discourse that would be well understood by different kinds of readers.
In starting a research paper on abortion, first, determine on what specific topic about abortion you would want to research on. This may be based on your interest or from reading various literature on abortion. What of these information that you know and you have read about sparks your interest?
Interest is however not enough. A topic needs to be researchable. One cannot actually choose any topic on abortion without examining if it is a good one to research on. When we say a researchable topic, this means that your research questions may be answered by your research. Or that it should be able to be answered within the timeframe of your research.
After you have chosen a topic, you may start coming up with an outline of your research.
An example outline for your research paper may be the following:
- Section 1
- Section 2
- Section 3
A. Subject matter
B. Statement of the problem
C. History of the problem
A. Extent of the problem
B. Related literature (Examples, stories, facts)
A. Cause and Effect
B. Repercussions in contemporary times
A. Possible solutions
A. Relate back to intro
B. Restate thesis
Example of a good thesis statement for abortion research paper
A thesis or hypothesis is the researcher’s perception on the result of the study. This is based on the knowledge, observations or other study results.
Examples may be:
- The reason why women resort to abortion is mostly because they are not prepared for the pregnancy.
- Most of the people resorting to abortion are teenagers.
- Most women who go on abortion do the act by themselves.
- The most common method used by women in abortion is by taking abortifacients.
Example of an introduction to an abortion research paper
Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before it is viable, usually before the pregnancy is before its 25th week. There are two types of abortion, spontaneous and induced. Spontaneous abortion is one which occurs naturally due to some complications during pregnancy or due to trauma occurring to the mother or the fetus. An induced abortion is one which was done intentionally. More and more teenagers opt to undergo induced abortion in the US. Trends in the number of abortions by females aged 13 to 18 show a significant increase from 2015 to 2016 ( this should be supported by statistical data from reliable source/s).
To be able to know why teenagers resort to this practice, the study has the following specific questions:
- Determine the circumstances that lead to the pregnancy.
- Determine the reasons why the respondents opted to terminate their pregnancy.
- Identify the methodology they used to terminate their pregnancy.
How to write body paragraphs for a research paper on abortion
The body of the paper covers the methodology and the results from the data gathering. Paragraphs on the methodology part may be subdivided into: methodology to be used; how to do data gathering using the methodology; the number of respondents needed in the study and a description of the respondents; and how long the data gathering will be done.
For the results and discussion, the paragraphs may contain a little introduction on the general findings and then each paragraph will contain the answer to each question asked in the interview or survey and the results of the survey or interview. This is followed by an interpretation of the data gathered.
Tips on body writing
- Determine the number of respondents that you need. Take only a few sample from the total number of possible respondents. A good number will help you get a good data and also save you time.
- Research on good methodologies to be used that matches the type of research you are using. Some questions are answered by surveys, some by interviews and some by observations.
- Provide statistical data as well as observations on your presentation of data. If some of the respondents have stated something you know is good to include on the paper, then include it on the paper.
- Be truthful with what you will write on the results even if it is different from what you have expected. You shouldn’t also plagiarize and provide proper citations if you need to support your findings with other researches from other authors. This is one of the ethics of research writing.
- If you used many different methods and you have a lot of data, divide these per theme and then present it per theme to make your data presentation organized.
Example of the 1st body paragraph
For the first body paragraph on the presentation of data one may write the following:
There are various circumstances that lead to the pregnancy of the respondents, most answers were because of curiosity. However, some of the respondents got pregnant because of rape. In a nutshell, there is a number of other reasons among the most widespread.
Example of the 2nd body paragraph
There are various reasons that made the respondents opt to have their pregnancy terminated. Most of the answers are due to reasons that they are not yet ready for the pregnancy. Based on national statistics from a research done by (mention author and year), most females aged 13-17 terminate their pregnancy also due to the same reason.
Example of the 3rd body paragraph
The methodologies used by the respondents to terminate their pregnancy were the use of abortifacients by their own, going to a licensed medical practitioner, going to an unlicensed abortionist and doing it on their own by the help of a friend or partner. Most of them opted for the use of abortifacients. Most of them said that it is easy to buy such medicine online. Some respondents also sought medical help and a few respondents did the termination by themselves.
How to finish a research paper on abortion
To finish a research paper, write a concluding paragraph. This summarizes the findings, also still answering the research questions.
Tips on conclusion writing
In writing a conclusion, a writer may write one paragraph that summarizes all the findings. Make sure that the main answer to each research question should be stated in the conclusion. A student may write one or two sentence/s to provide an answer to each of the research question.
Example of a conclusion
From data gathered on the research paper, the main reason that leads to the pregnancy among teenage females in the US is because of curiosity. The main reason, on the other hand of terminating the pregnancy, is because they are not yet ready to face parental responsibilities. Thus, there should be a huge work done to inform teenage females about all negative impacts of interrupting pregnancy so to ensure that abortion was a well-thought-out decision.
Tips on research paper revision
Revising a research paper will be less taxing than starting one. The following should be taken note of.
- Take note on the revisions suggested by the editor or adviser and do those revisions first.
- Do revisions per section or per chapter so it will be easier.
- Read more on additional sources that might be helpful for revisions.
- Check your grammar as well when doing the revisions.
- Read the write-up thoroughly after the revision to check if the flow is still well even after adding up more information.
- It is also helpful to ask somebody to read your paper to check if it is understood by the reader and also to help proofread the paper.
An Overview of Abortion
Abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy by removing or expelling the fetus or embryo from the uterus before it is ready for birth. There are two major forms of abortion: spontaneous, which is often referred to as a miscarriage or the purposeful abortion, which is often induced abortion. The term abortion is commonly used to refer to the induced abortion, and this is the abortion, which has been filled with controversy. In the developed nations, induced abortions are the safest form of medical procedures in medicine if it is conducted under the local law. Thus, abortions are arguably the most common medical procedures in the United States annually. More than 40 percent of women confirm that they have terminated a pregnancy at least once in their reproductive life. Abortions are conducted by women from all forms of life; however, the typical woman who terminates her pregnancy may either be white, young, poor, unmarried, or over the age of 40 years (Berer, 2004). Therefore, citing the grounds on which abortions are conducted, there are numerous instances of unsafe abortions, which are conducted either by untrained persons or outside the medical profession.
In the United States and the world in general, abortion remains widespread. The United States Supreme Court ratified the legalization of abortion in an effort to make the procedure safer; this was done through the Roe v Wade decision of 1973. However, abortions are the most risky procedures and are responsible for over 75 thousand maternal deaths and over 5 million disabilities annually. In the United States alone, between 20 and 30 million abortions are conducted annually, and out of this number, between 10 and 20 million abortions are performed in an unsafe manner (Berer, 2004). These illegal abortions are conducted in an unsafe manner; therefore, they contribute to 14 percent of all deaths or women; this arises mainly due to severe complications. This has led to increasing controversy citing the large numbers of abortions that are conducted annually. However, there is a hope since the improvement in the access and quality of medical services has reduced the incidence of abortion because of easier access of family planning education and the use of contraceptives (Jones, Darroch, Henshaw, 2002). However, the large numbers of abortions, more so, the illegal abortions continue to be alarming. Despite the introduction of more effective contraceptives, and their widespread availability, more than half of the pregnancies conceived in the United States are considered unplanned. Out of these pregnancies, half are aborted. Thus, abortion remains an issue in the society.
Is abortion a social issue?
Conflict theorists emphasize that coercion, change, domination, and conflict in society are inevitable. The conflict standpoint is based on the notion that the society is comprised of different groups who are in a constant struggle with one another for the access of scarce and valuable resources; these may either be money, prestige, power, or the authority to enforce one’s value on the society. The conflict theorists argue that a conflict exists in the society when a group of people who on believing that their interests are not being met, or that they are not receiving a fair share of the society’s resources, works to counter what they perceive as a disadvantage.
Prior to 1973, abortion was illegal in the United States, unless in situations where a woman’s health was at stake. If the doctor indicated, a woman had the option of choosing to terminate her pregnancy, and the doctor would carry out the abortion without any of them violating the law. However, in March 1970, Jane Roe, an unmarried woman from Dallas County, Texas, initiated a federal action against the county’s District Attorney. Roe sought a judgment that would declare the Texas criminal abortion legislation unconstitutional on their face, and seek an injunction, which would prevent the defendant from implementing the statutes.
Joe asserted that she was an unmarried, but pregnant lady; she wished to terminate her pregnancy by seeking the services of a professional and licensed practitioner under safe clinical environment. However, she noted that she was unable to contract the service since she was not able to get access to a legal abortion in Texas since her life was not under any form of threat from the pregnancy. Furthermore, Joe stated that she was not in a financial position to travel to another state to secure a safe abortion. She argued that the Texas statute was unconstitutional and vague, and was in contravention of her right of her right to privacy, which was guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Joe purported to sue on her behalf and on behalf of all other women who were in a similar situation to hers.
There are critical observations from Joe’s arguments; women who do not to have a baby should not be forced to have one. A pregnancy is a blessing if it is planned; however, a forced pregnancy is similar to any form of bodily invasion, and is abhorrence to the American values and traditions (Schwarz, 1990). Therefore, the United States constitution protects women from a forced pregnancy in a similar way that the constitution cannot force an American citizen to donate his or her bone marrow or to contribute a kidney to another. The Supreme Court looked into the facts and evidence of the case, and ruled that Roe was right, and her rights to privacy were violated; therefore, the Court decreed that all women had a right to a legal and safe abortion on demand. There was joy throughout America from the modern women; the ruling was seen as a massive step towards women rights. However, many years have passed since the Roe vs. Wade, and abortion has remained one of the most contentious issues in the United States and the world. The ruling was of similar magnitude to the women suffrage, and almost as controversial. It has freed women from dependency, fear, threat of injury, and ill health; it has given women the power to shape their lives.
The social ramifications of the case and the social and moral ones have continued to affect the two sides of the abortion debate. The people who thought that the 7-2 majority ruling in favor of abortion were overly optimistic; abortion has become one of the most emotional, and controversial political debate. Prior to Roe vs wade ruling, women who had abortions risked suffering from pain, death, serious injury, prosecution, and sterility. Presently, abortion is safer, cheaper, and a more common phenomenon. The legalization of abortion has created other reasons for securing abortions; women are being coerced by their boyfriends and husbands who are unwilling to become fathers due to financial pressures, the panic of losing a job, quitting school, becoming homeless, or out of fear of being kicked out into the street (Schwarz, 1990). Abortion, which is based on this reasons often leads to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; this occurs when a woman is not able to work through her emotional imbalances resulting from the trauma of an abortion. This can have severe results such as depression, eating disorders, and in severe cases, it can result in suicide. Women who secure an abortion out of their free will have no remorse and are happy that they made the choice; however, a number of women state that abortion affected them negatively.
Thus, it can be argued that abortion is a social issue. Based on the sociological imagination, people’s behaviors and attitudes should be perceived in the context of the social forces that shape the actions. Wright Mills developed the theory, and he emphasized that the changes in the society have a massive effect on our lives. Prior to 1970, legal abortions were unheard in the United States and people perceived abortion as a despicable act. However, once the law changed allowing doctors to conduct legal abortions, the people’s attitudes changed. To prove the fact that abortion is a social issue, we have to look at the components of a social issue. A social issue is an aspect of the society that concerns the people and would like it changed. It is comprised of two components: the objective condition, which is an aspect of the society that can be measured. The objective condition in the case of abortion entails the question whether abortions are legal, who obtains an abortion, and under what circumstances is an abortion secured (Henslin, 2008). The second component is the subjective condition; this is the concern that a significant number of people have about the objective condition. In the case of abortion, the subjective condition entails some people’s distress that a pregnant woman must carry the unwanted baby to full term (Henslin, 2008). It also includes the distress that a woman can terminate her pregnancy on demand. Thus, abortion is a social issue.
Controversy Surrounding Abortion
Abortion, human cloning, and evolution are all human issues that are very controversial. Christians’ believe in life after death. They also believe that life begins immediately at conception. Buddhists believe in reincarnation while atheists do not believe in God tend to be supporters of the right to choose. This means that perception and focus are the key issues when people from any faith choose to be supporters or opponents of any controversial issue like abortion. If an individual decides to focus on one part of the story, then definitely there will be a distorted representation of what they support. The result is that there will be people who are neutral or ignorant on abortion while others choose to support abortions as others oppose the act.
Groups’ strongly opposing or supporting abortions have completely varying opinions on the subject. It is vital to note that an individual may either be a strong supporter or oppose the act since any compromise means a choice of life over death and vice versa. This strange facet of abortion makes it a very controversial act and subject because both supporters and opponents meet nowhere. Personal faiths through religion make them view the subject differently. Some believe that a woman has the right to make an absolute choice, thus; the right to choice is more prevalent to those supporting abortion. However, for the opponents, they support the constitutional and human right to life. It is vital to note that both pro-choice and pro-life groups rely on the constitution like the Fourteenth Amendment, human rights, and scientific facts (Knapp, 2001).
In the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the U.S Supreme court ruled that the woman has the right to make a choice giving support to the pro-choice groups that support abortion. This meant that, the fetus has no rights and is at the indispensable mercy of the mother. The rights of the state and the fetus cannot overrule the choice that the mother has made. In another case in 1992, Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the US Supreme Court maintained that a woman has the power and the right to commit an abortion (Knapp, 2001).
Pro-choice supporters argue that those campaigning against abortion consume a lot of resources and effort. They feel that there are so many women who are living in total paucity and misery because they were coerced to deliver children who are unwanted. The resources spent by the anti-abortion campaigns can be used to support the social welfare of those women and relive them out of their misery. According to Knapp (2001), every day, almost 50,000 children die because of lack of food, medicine, shelter, and clothing. Today, the population stands at 7 billion meaning that there is an impending disaster because the resource of are continually being depleted. Any unwanted baby may adversely affect the natural balance of resources to persons. It is estimated that, the development around the globe will have to slow down because there will be more mouths to feed than before.
Pro-choice supporters believe that every human being has the right to political, sexual, and reproductive freedom. Pro-life supporters should note that, they are supporting and protecting their religious freedoms. It is important to note that, the church and the state have to separated. This implies that any anti-abortion law should be critically re-examined since it may merge the church and state. This is not legal because people make a personal choice as to the faith of affiliation while the state is supposed to respect everyone irrespective of faith.
In the Roe v. Casey ruling of 1992, the woman has the absolute choice to dictate what she wants to do with her body. Pro-choice supporters argue that this makes a woman to be a lesser being than the fetus she is carrying. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “forcing a woman to carry an unwanted fetus is like forcing a person to be cloned in order to save another life with the extra organs.” This is completely wrong considering that one’s body will be used without her consent to aid the prosperity of another life. The rights of a woman exceed those of the fetus she is carrying because the woman is independent and is a social entity, unlike the fetus. For many centuries, many women have been rated as having unequal rights to men. Abortion is the only avenue that can make them regain a socio-economic status equal to that of men. Women can access better education, housing, and jobs only if they are in a position of controlling the sexual and reproductive rights.
Debate Surrounding Abortion
Pro-choice advocates argue that abortion should be legalized to reduce the chances of unsafe abortions. A study carried out by the World Health Organization showed that most of the unsafe abortions occur in countries where abortion is illegal (Knapp, 2001). In countries like the Republic of Ireland, abortion is illegal, in the United States of America; abortion is legal while, in Canada, it can be performed upon demand, or consent.
An ethical analysis on abortion seeks to establish what is right or wrong about abortion. This ethical debate sheds light over the validity of the rights of the fetus versus those of the mother. In terms of personhood, a fetus is not aware of self, does not think, and is therefore, dependent on the mother. This means that the mother has an absolute right on choice over what to with the fetus. At certain epochs, pro-life supporters have supported selective abortion. This means that they support abortion if a fetus poses a danger to the mother, if the baby was conceived without the mother’s consent like in cases of rape, contraceptive failure, or incest. The other case is where the fetus may be having severe deformities due to diseases, mental of physical defects. Other cases happen when a mother involuntarily aborts because of starvation or malnutrition. This sparks a debate within the pro-life supporters who are assumed the “undecided lot.”
On the contrary, pro-life supporters assume that fetuses are human, and they are subjected to a lot of pain in the event of an abortion. It is wrong to assume that a fetus is not a human being since it does not talk, or is not a social entity. Pro-life supporters also argue that a fetus is a potential life and any threat to it is breaking a fundamental right to life that is entrenched in almost all constitutions across the world. Pro-choice supporters posit that abortion is an act of unjust discrimination to the unborn and that this acts deprives them to the access to a valuable future.
In conclusion, prior to 1973, abortion was illegal and was only applicable legally as an option only when the mother’s life was in danger. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe vs. Wade case changed all this; women perceived the ruling as a liberating to them. However, the legalization of abortion came with its own controversies, and it has even been labeled a social problem in the United States and the world over. However, it is critical to note that abortion or no abortion, persons have to take a keen look at the problems facing the society today and make a responsible choice. Today, we are 7 billion people, resources are overstretched, the world economy is weakening, and nations are growing unstable. Any person who thinks of bringing an unwanted child into the world without careful consideration should be aware of the consequences of the hard life. Every nation has a national budget in order to account and cater for everyone. On the same note, every parent or teenager should have a responsible plan for life. If every act is unaccounted for, then the number of children losing their lives due to paucity is set to increase tremendously. It is good to care for what we can see instead of spending valuable resources campaigning for fetuses that are yet to claim an entity in the social arena.
Berer, M. (2004). National laws and unsafe abortion: the parameters of change. Reproductive Health Matters, 12(24): 1–8.
Henslin, J. M. (2008). Social Problems: A Down-To-Earth Approach. (8 ed.). New York, NY: Longman Publishers.
Jones, R. K., Darroch, J. E., Henshaw, S. K. (2002). Contraceptive Use among U.S. Women Having Abortions in 2000-2001. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,34(6): 294–303.
Knapp, L. (2001). Controversy: The Abortion Controversy. Michigan: Greenhaven Press.
Schwarz, S. D. (1990). The Moral Question of Abortion. Chicago: Loyola University Press.