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Is Abortion Protected by the Constitution?

             Both sides of the abortion debate claim to be Constitutionally sound. This argument was true for the pro-choice movement in 1973. The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the Constitutionality of the decision to terminate one's pregnancy in Roe v. Wade. [12] But this right to have an abortion was not found to be without limitations. [12] The Supreme Court found that States were allowed to protect potential life by regulating or even banning theraputic abortions after the fetus reached the point in which life apart from the mother was possible. [12] When this point was reached the Supreme Court held that the mother's right to an abortion was no longer a private matter. [12].
             In the past, legal authorities have recognized the first noticeable movement of a fetus in the womb as a sign of its personhood. In Keeler v. The Superior Court of Amador County, Justice Burke quotes a scholar saying, ""The common law itself prohibited abortion after quickening (movement in the womb) and hanging a pregnant felon after quickening, because the life of a second human being would thereby be taken."" [15] Even in the early 19th century, England penalized abortions by putting those guilty to death. [15] Connecticut became the first State to recognize abortion as a crime in 1821. [12] Forty years later, Connecticut decided that abortion before quickening was also a crime. [12] Other States followed in the outlawing of abortions, but most held that abortion before quickening was a lesser crime than abortion after quickening. This distinction caused the Supreme Court to analyze the historic motive of separate punishment for pre- and post-quickened abortions. Justice Blackmun notes that even the ancient Greeks made the same distinction. [12] He states that early "philosophical, theological, and civil and canon law concepts of when life begins" caused many different explanations of when life (as in a fetus becoming a person) began in the womb.

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