Abortion is an extremely complex issue that filled with both support and conflict. To abortion, there are no easy answers. However, abortion and recent developments in New York serve as an ideal subject on which to delve into the theories of sociology…
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Citing that abortion is an issue of extreme controversy that fuels heated debate, all attempts will be made to venture forth with a certain tone of objectivity and even optimism.
In recent weeks and months, the pro-life movement has launched a campaign to educate the Black community on the impact of abortion. One billboard was place in New York that read, “The most dangerous place for an African American is the womb.” (Ossad, 2011) While the statistical data supports this claim, the ramifications of abortions in the Black communities of New York create an optimal scenario to analyze.
From this perspective, we must engage abortion from a macro perspective in terms of how it affects the whole of society and its relationship between societal parts. Abortion in general is legal, but when viewing it from the macro perspective, it becomes alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the abortion rate for non-Hispanic Blacks in New York is 59.8%. Clearly this statement makes the aforementioned billboard claim correct. From a functionalist perspective, little else is seen. This vision of the functionalist has sparked a growing concern that has not only swept the nation, but has found its way into legislation to the thwart the taxpayer funding of abortions nationwide.
The functionalist has a natural call for accountability. The perception is that abortions outside of cases of rape, incest and of concerns for health are an act of personal irresponsibility fueled by the passive acceptance of low moral standards. Accountability is imposed through removing the means financial absolution when it comes to acquiring abortions. It is felt that social systems work to maintain a social equilibrium. With more than half of the Black babies in New York being aborted, that equilibrium is lost with the given community. The lost equilibrium is viewed as the loss of social norms that must be returned to the previous state through social control mechanisms; in this case legislation. The functionalist also views the individual from a perspective that enables how the individual is influenced by larger, more reaching social forces. The pro-life campaign that resulted in this billboard is a prime example of how the functionalist utilizes social tool to influence the individual. While it is not a matter of whether the functionalist in this case is right or wrong, it demonstrates an example of the functionalist at work on a macro scale. However, the functionalist is not the only perspective in viewing abortions in New York’s Black communities. Conflict From the conflict perspective, the billboard was a result of the fact that the New York inner city Black community has insufficient resources in which to cope with the reproductive health of women. The result is an abortion rate that now “outpaces life.” When compared to other ethnic groups, Blacks undergo disproportionately more abortions. Because the Black community lacks the resources of the richer communities, the abortion rates are higher. Abortions are thus performed for economic reasons as the Black community falls further behind the economic elite of America. The unemployment rate for Blacks aged 16 to 19 is 41.6%. (Economic News Release; Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age, 2011) From a conflict perspective, it goes to reason abortion rates will be higher in those whom lack the means of financial provision. “Men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage of their development…
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