27 Jun 2012

Sample Essay: Children, Things We Throw Away

Rickie Solinger demonstrates in the article “Race and ‘Value’: Black and White Illegitimate Babies, in the U.S.A., 1945-1965”, which can be located online,  that abortion’s controversial status in society is also an issue which reflects the power of the state on women’s bodies. For example, white women were encouraged after the war to deliver a child instead of abort it and were thereby often pushed to give their child up for adoption, whether they desired this or not. On the other hand, African-American women were encouraged to keep their children and punished, instead of aided socially and economically, because Black illegitimate children were deemed less desirable, and hence a burden, because of their color. In this context, the reader, including me, cannot help but support abortion given how the deprivation of women of this choice undermines their power over their fate and underscores their submissiveness and existence at the mercy of the state’s preconception of what is right for them; a preconception that can be often shaped by external factors like taxes and race instead of what is actually in the best interest of the woman and child. The article by Solinger is thus extremely useful in providing a comprehensive historical review of the issue of abortion, which helps contextualize the current significance of the problem.

The source by Solinger is reliable because it is based on factual historical data. Each claim is supported by references to other researchers, making the source therefore very relevant in understanding the background of abortion in the U.S and its connection to other issues like race and class. For example, as Solinger makes clear in the article, abortion is an act that has been always sought by women. However, male doctors, politicians, policy makers, and legislatives have undermined females’ capacity to make this choice based on their own preconceptions of femininity and motherhood. For example, after the Second World War when adoption among white unmarried women became more common, male doctors generally refused to give permission to women to have an abortion, even when signs of psychological or emotional problems were evident, as they believed it undermined their femininity and future ability to be a good wife and mother. Certain doctors simply refused based on the principle that women should bear responsibility for their sexuality. This reason is in fact what motivated some doctors to deny women abortion unless they agreed also to sterilization. What is interesting and important to note is that this last scenario affected mostly the poor women of color who had no choice but to oblige and surrender to the fact that they had no power over their bodies or fate. It has become clear that Solinger relies on elaboration and detailed factual analysis to support her arguments which makes the article reliable and useful to back up a thesis regarding abortion.

This online article is also useful because putting things in historical perspective, as Solinger does, helps underline the undeniable fact that women have both before and after the significant Roe v. Wade sought abortions and a way to deal with an unexpected and undesirable pregnancy. However, the state has always found a way to control the female body, either by limiting the opportunity for abortion and/or making it against the law and thereby endangering the lives of those who sought it illegally, or by pushing white women to give up their children while encouraging Black females to keep theirs, thereby determining the fate of child and mother based on the domineering ideas of race, femininity, and class. In other words, Solinger helps the reader understand through this article how abortion remains a significant and controversial issue in the U.S because it underlines the state’s tradition in undermining women’s power over their body. It is this point that re-affirmed my belief that no government should have a say in the choices and decisions that women can take regarding their bodies and fate as women and mothers. All these reasons and evidence within the article make it a relevant source.

“The Bible’s Teaching Against Abortion” by Frank A. Pavone examines, contrary to Solinger who is concerned with facts and historical data, the religious and spiritual background regarding the issue of abortion. This online resource is presented as reliable and relevant. It is supported by dozens of Biblical excerpts. The source clarifies how abortion is one of the issues that never fails to raise heated controversy between those who support freedom of choice and independent action including with regard to matters of life and death, and a second group that remains opposed to then notion due to its deprivation of a potential, helpless and innocent human being of the chance to grow and live. The website sheds also light on how controversy regarding the morality of abortion has existed since thousands of years, even before the arrival of Christianity. Issues that served to raise disagreement with regard to the lawfulness of abortion centered throughout this extended period of time around the questions of when a fetus can be official deemed to be formed, whether or not one can view a fetus to be an independent life on its own rather than merely a part of his mother’s body and hence her property, and the rights of the individual adult to the making of a choice alike; a choice that could alter one’s life beyond what was desirable or endurable on a personal and economic level. These arguments do also shape the debate and is also strengthened by what critics describe as Biblical ambiguity about the issue of abortion. The website affirms however that when an approach is adapted that includes the analysis of Biblical ethics regarding life’s sanctity in general and does therefore not just focus on the manner of presenting the subject in the Old Testament or the lack of available evidence about the beginning and end of life in the Bible as a whole, it can be concluded that God’s Word reveals his views regarding the sanctity of life, including that which is found in the womb.

The website is thus relevant to include in the discussion of abortion because it sheds light on the spiritual and religious context shaping the issue. The fact that it is well-researched and supported by historical references and Biblical passages makes it a reliable source to comprehend the spiritual angle shaping the issue. The website helps also clarify that while the debate about abortion might appear to be mostly inspired by the controversy between secularist individualists and Biblically inspired believers, it is interesting to note that the history of abortion goes back much further in time. For instance, before Christianity’s arrival, abortion existed in Greek and Roman society, which were both unconcerned with the rights of the unborn and did not regard the fetus’ right to life as valuable as its parents’ rights to choice. Even during this time, the question about the time when the fetus was officially formed dominated the debate. With the beginning of the Bible times after the Old Testament, the question of abortion was again introduced through several passages that left people however divided about the nature of divine will concerning the subject given how these particular texts approached abortion as a loss of property rather than a problem that provokes concerns about the sanctity of life. What highlights the status of the fetus as property in the Bible is for example the idea that if a person causes a miscarriage, he must pay a fine to the husband and woman, and is thus only to be trailed for the death of a human being and receive the punishment of execution if he causes also the death of the female.

Both sources by Solinger and Pavone are thus useful to include in a paper with a thesis about abortion. The sources can be located online but this does not meant that they are not reliable. Though they approach the subject each from a different angle and perspective, one historical and one that is mostly religious and spiritual, both do nevertheless shed light on the subject and help further an understanding of what defines the controversy today.


Pavone, F. F. (n.d.). The Bible’s Teaching Against Abortion. Pro Life – Anti Abortion Facts and Pro-Life Arguments. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://www.priestsforlife.org/brochures/thebible.html

Solinger, R. (2007). Race and ˜Value: Black and White Illegitimate Babies, in the U.S.A., 1945“1965. Wiley Online Library. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0424.1992.tb00154.x/abstract

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05 Sep 2009

Sample Essay: Social Problem/ Issue


Though pregnancy is still common to women in their twenties, teenage pregnancy still remains. Teenage pregnancy is one of the most prevalent social problems. At a very early age, young women become pregnant when they should still be in school. The causes of teenage pregnancy or the driving force which leads these women into premarital sex may be varied. They might be seeking for attention form their parents which they thin they can find through companionship with the opposite sex. The impulsiveness of teenagers may also bring them the fate. Since teenage years is the time wherein teenagers ask so many questions about themselves and become curious about many things, they may be led by their curiosity into it which later resulted to pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy not only takes the teens out of school but also adds to another social problem. It is just a chain of social problems one leading into the other. Usually young women at their teens would be confused when they found out that they are pregnant. Becoming a teenage mom would be very scary hence they would tend to abort the baby. Abortion rate is basically affected by the number of teenage pregnancies. Young women who get pregnant at their teens invites more problem particularly that their body isn’t ready to bear just yet; it may cause complications to both her and the baby.  The problem is more than just the health of the teenage mom and the baby but it will also invite emotional and social stresses to the mother.

This paper aims to answer the most important questions regarding teenage pregnancy. The health effects of the pregnancy to the mother’s young body and to her baby will be examined. The social problems that may arise with teenage pregnancy and the emotional stress that a teenage mom may experience will be tackled. This is a social issue thus it is part of the government’s responsibility to help the teenage women stay away from this problem as well as heal the wounds that teenage pregnancy may have caused to those who are already afflicted.

Literature Review

Teenage pregnancy though is slowly declining in number since 1990 (Agence France-Presse, 2008). In the United States, teenage pregnancies have declined steadily but it remains to have the highest rate of teen pregnancies among the fully industrialized nations (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2007).  Effective birth control measures may have helped in lowering the cases or may be there was lesser sexual activity among teens. Though a dramatic decline of 23% was observed, teenage pregnancy still remains high. Approximately 1 million teenage girls become pregnant every year in the United States alone (Women’s Health Channel, 2008). In 2004, about 6.4 million pregnancies were recorded in which 4.11 million ended in live births, 1.22 were aborted and 1.06 million were lost due to miscarriages or stillbirths (Agence France-Presse, 2008). Most teenage mothers become pregnant again in as early as two years after the first pregnancy (Women’s Health Channel, 2008). About 85% of teenage pregnancies are unplanned which leads to more problems in any society.  Teen mothers are usually at risk for not having prenatal care as about 7.2% of pregnant young girls do not seek any medical advice (Weiss, 2008).

Teenage are mostly unplanned and facing it can be very difficult for the teenager particularly the mother. There would be confrontations with each other and with themselves. They may decide whether they should continue with the pregnancy despite the upcoming consequences or they may opt to abort it. One of the most immediate effects of teenage pregnancy however is the changes in her body that the teenage mother experiences. Since physical changes are obvious win a pregnant mother, the teenage mother may feel awkward about her body and may not like what she feels. Her lifestyle would be changed eventually and her hobbies such as sports may be limited by the growing baby inside her uterus (Pregnancy Center).

Teenage pregnancy brings along health problems to both the mother and the baby.  Low birthweight can attributed to the fact that teenage mothers do not gain adequate weight during pregnancy. This may in turn result to child mortality since babies’ with low birthweight are most likely to have organs which are not yet fully developed. Under developed organs would lead to sever complications as bleeding in the brain, respiratory disorders and intestinal problems. Since most teenage pregnancies can be considered unplanned or unwanted as the worst case scenario, the teenage mother tends to disregard the need for nutritious and healthy foods which is essential for the baby’s proper development. Poor eating habits and lack of nutritional supplement such as vitamins are just common things. Whereas nutritional counseling is one of the most important cares for the teenage mother and her baby especially that the body of a teenage mother is still growing and still needs nutritional support, this is actually disregarded. Some teenage mothers may even take drugs during pregnancy which can lead to major health complications to the baby. Alcohol use and cigarette smoking cannot be totally eliminated during teenage pregnancy because at most teenage mothers do not know its effect to their baby. Any substance taken during pregnancy is harmful as this may complicate pregnancy which may lead to premature birth and other birth complications (Weiss, 2008).

Everyone knows the importance of prenatal care during pregnancy. However, since most teenagers do not know this, they tend to ignore this and may even go through pregnancy without prenatal care at all hence they won’t be given proper advice on how to take care of their pregnancy. Delayed pregnancy testing can be the main cause for lack of prenatal care. But it also includes fear of the reality that they are pregnant and denial (Weiss, 2008). According to American Medical Association, babies born without prenatal care is as much as 4 times more likely to die before 1 year old (Women’s Health Channel, 2008).

Social, emotional and health problems may associate with teenage pregnancy. Worse is that the mother and the child shares these problems. A young girl would tend to become emotional affected should she learn about her pregnancy. She my fall into depression due to lack of someone to confide with about her situation or may become resentful about her partner for allowing such thing to happen. Frustration can also overcome them especially if they would begin thinking about herself becoming a worthless mother. The effects of peer pressure may even heighten at these times of the teenage mother’s life causing much emotional stress on her part (Teen Pregnancy Help, 2007).

Children born of teenage mothers usually do not receive adequate nutrition. They also tend to receive less health care, cognitive and social stimulation which may later result to their poor academic achievement. About 50% of children born to teenage parents are most likely to repeat the same grade level. Their school performance can be considered worse and they may not even complete high school The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2007). These children may also experience abuse as their mother may not have fully accepted the reality that she is already bearing a very big responsibility or neglect which may result from the lack of complete parents.  Recent analysis have shown that incidents of abuse and neglect per 1,000 families reached to 110. Usually this is a single-mother headed family (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2007). Data says that about 13% of boys born to teenage mothers become delinquents and 22% of girls born to teenage mothers may share the same fate as their mother’s, becoming a teenage mother herself (Women’s Health Channel, 2008).

Teenage births associates with low annual income for the mother which may due to the fact that the teenage mother may never be able to finish school (Women’s Health Channel, 2008). In 1990, a study showed that almost half of all teenage mothers who were unmarried were receiving welfare within the first five years of the child. The increasing number of single-parent families can be accounted for the persistent poverty for a period of twenty years as documented in 1998 Economic Report of the President (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2007).

For the teenage fathers, they may have increased delinquent behaviors and may become addicted to drugs. They may become social problems themselves. They too, may not be able to finish school as their attention should focus on the baby hence reduced earning potentials. In the United States, an estimated amount of $7 billion was spent on public assistance, child health care and involvement with criminal justice system (Women’s Health Channel, 2008).
In 1996, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy was organized. The concept underlined in this campaign is the country’s strategy to reduce rate of teen pregnancy in the aim to improve the overall well-being of a child and reduce persistent poverty. The fact that teenage pregnancy can lead to major consequences not only for the mother and baby’s health but to the society in general, this social problem must be addressed properly and immediately.

As of August 2006, twenty-one states and the District of Columbia all favored to allowing minors t have access to contraceptive services in spite of lack of parents’ consent. Texas and Utah however requires parents; consent before thy can have access to these services. In publicly-funded family planning clinics which give counseling, records that about ninety percent of their clients are below 18 (Guttmacher Institute, 2006).


Teenage pregnancy remains an ugly part of the society. When these teenagers should have been in school, they may become corrupted and robbed off of the life of being a teenager since pregnancy and giving birth entails a very big responsibility.  First thing is that to avoid this problem, parents should be the first to educate their children about premarital sex so they would know and may help them avoid the consequences which includes teenage pregnancy.


Weiss, Robin Elise LCCE (2008).Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from, http://pregnancy.about.com/cs/teenpregnancy/a/teenpreg.htm

(2008).US teen pregnancy rate near historic low-study. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/


(2008). Teen Pregnancy: Overview, Health Risks to the Baby and other Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy. Women’s Health Channel. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from, http://www.womenshealthchannel.com/

(2007).Effects of Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from,


(2007). Teen Pregnancy- So What? The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from, http://www.teenpregnancy.org/whycare/sowhat.asp76

2006).In Brief: Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health. Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_ATSRH.html

Cause and Effects of Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from, http://www.pregnancycenters.org/cause-teen-pregnancy.asp

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