Sociology Midterm

1973 was an exciting and controversial year. It held some very influential political events that had a great affect on our society and economy. One of these events was the Oil Crisis. This event had many significant and traumatic effects on our economy and society. Another was the Roe v.s. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortions. This event caused much controversy and debate throughout our nation, and still remains a very hot topic today.

When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to raise the price of oil four times the cost it had been, it had long lasting affects on our economy. First off, it threw the Western Nation’s economy into severe recession. This brought income growth to a halt, and wages didn’t significantly increase until the late 1990’s.

These problems mostly affected young couples who were taking entry-level jobs, because they were seeing no pay increases, yet facing the steadily rising costs of living. This made living off of only a high school education very difficult, if not impossible. According to Cherlin, in 1996 the average 30-year-old man was earning twenty percent less than a comparable man in 1979.

The Oil Crisis and its effects put a much higher importance on earning a college degree. The starting wages of jobs that only required a high school degree did not have the earning potential to support a family anymore. A college degree was almost necessary in order to get a job that earned enough money for a family to live off of comfortably. However, a college education was not always a possibility for many families who were already struggling to provide. With the cost of living and housing rising steadily, and no pay increases to match these costs, young couples with only a high school education were finding it harder and harder to provide for their families. The overall outcome of this event was the widening wage gap between people with only a high school education and people with a college degree The Roe vs. Wade Supreme court decision to legalize abortion also had a very significant impact on our society. The opposing viewpoints have caused much controversy and debate in our society since the early 1970’s. It is a debate about human rights, and a debate about morals and values. Our society today is still very divided in its opinion on abortion.

From the late 1800’s to 1973, a woman’s choice to abort their unborn child was restricted in the U.S. This option was only given to women whose pregnancy was decided to be life threatening to them, and a doctor certified that it was absolutely necessary. However, this didn’t stop young women who became pregnant from terminating the pregnancy themselves using dangerous and unsanitary methods.

In 1960, feminist groups began to demand that abortion was a woman’s right. Pro-choice advocates wanted a woman to be in control of her childbearing responsibilities. They argued that the ability to decide when you have children and how many would help woman obtain equal opportunities to work outside the home. This belief caused abortion to become a political issue.

Pro Life advocates argued their side by saying that an unborn fetus is a human being, and has rights. They believe that human life begins at conception, and by terminating a pregnancy, you are killing a human being with just as many rights as you or I.

In 1973, the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion occurred. This decision ruled that women have a constitutional right to terminate their pregnancy during the first trimester. During the second trimester, abortion would only be legal if the pregnancy posed as life threatening or had some serious health risks. This decision raised incredible controversy and is heated debate throughout the nation.

The abortion became a social class issue in 1976, when the government passed into legislation a bill that stated that abortions would not be funded by taxpayer money. This made it very difficult if not impossible for poor women to have an abortion, since most poor women receive their heath care through Medicaid. Middle class women had a much easier time accessing the abortion options. This act was justified because of the extremely different viewpoints of taxpayers.

Public opinion on the abortion issue is very divided. The issue still remains very controversial and a heated argument when discussing the opinions of a woman’s role in society, and her rights.

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