Re: Greek Sociology

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Posted by Tiffany Winkelman on December 09, 2001 at 11:57:45:

In Reply to: Re: Greek Sociology posted by Martina on December 08, 2001 at 19:42:11:

Here is a portion of my paper:

Abortion is a serious problem being dealt with everyday, all over the world. The issue of abortion is an ongoing moral, religious, and political battle between pro-life and pro-choice activist. Up until the Roe versus Wade case, abortion wasn’t a legal option for pregnant women in the United States. For years before this major over turn, pro-choice protesters fought for women’s right to make the choice of abortion or life. Now that they have won their battle, Pro-life protesters will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn fetus until the Roe versus Wade decision is reversed in the court of law.
The problem boils down to two major questions. What do we need to do, as Americans, to decrease our abortion rate? Should the United States government be allowed to decide if women should have the right to have abortion as a legal option when facing an unwanted pregnancy? No matter how anyone, pro-life or pro-choice, looks at it, abortion is not a pleasant affair. Everyone, even pro-choice activists would like to see the abortion rate in America decrease. Between 1992 and 1996 the abortion rate dropped the most in the last two decades, from 26 to 23 abortions per 1000 live births. This is a major improvement from the increase from 1970 until 1984 when the abortion rate skyrocketed to 36.4 abortions per 1000 live births. The abortion rate is decreasing, but is it possible for it to decline even more?
Across the globe, abortion is legal in 54 countries, and illegal in 115. Of the countries where abortion is legal, Russia has the highest abortion rate, 2300 abortions per 1000 live births. Whereas Greece has the lowest abortion rate, 2 per 1000 live births. Looking a little closer to home, abortion rates are highest on the west coast and in the New England area. New York has the highest rate in the country, with California not falling far behind. What is the sociological explanation for this extreme difference in abortion rates among the countries where abortion is legal? I believe that through comparing the sociological differences of Greece and America, I will be able to come close to pinpointing the source of the problem, and maybe even a solution.
In the country of Greece, 98% of the citizens practice the teachings and traditions of the Christian Orthodox Church of Greece. Religion and tradition are considered one and the same, and are passed down from generation to generation. They have a very strong value and belief system because of this, which the majority of them live by and very seldom stray from. Although abortion is a legal option for women, it is punishable by the church. If a woman has an abortion for any reason other than a health concern or if the pregnancy was a result of rape, the church will punish the woman by denying her of Holy Communion for five years. This is a ritual that these people hold very sacred. They teach and respect the sanctity of life and creation , and stress that abortion is a crime. This value system gives them a sense of belonging and rich tradition. Greece is a country of God fearing and respecting people. They take their values seriously throughout their lives and use their freedom wisely.
America, on the other hand, is a melting pot filled with people of various religions, cultures, traditions, and nationalities. With so many different religious beliefs and traditions, and non-believers, how is anyone to know where to look for the right answer? The law perhaps? Since America has so much freedom, it is up to each individual to figure out what belief system they should go by. Whereas in Greece, they know of only one belief system, and that is the beliefs of the Christian Orthodox Church of Greece.
Another aspect to consider is sexual education and the availability of contraceptives. In Greece, they teach the importance of avoiding premarital sex, but the also know and understand that people are humans who make mistakes. For the chance that a few stray from the church beliefs, they educate their people on how to avoid unwanted pregnancies and make birth control is easily accessible to all citizens of Greece.
In this aspect, America has many similarities to Greece. In America we teach out children sexual education also, but in our schools, not in our churches. Obviously education is not enough for Americans because statistics show that the more education a person is, the less likely they will be to oppose abortions. Our churches also preach the importance of avoiding premarital sex, but what good does that do if the majority of our kids are not there to hear it? Contraceptives are accessible to people of all ages, without a parent’s consent.

This is as far as I have gotten, and it is only a rough draft...but I hope that you find it interesting.

Tiffany Winkelman

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