The Abortion Debate

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One subject in society that is greatly debated is abortion. The debates are basically divided into 'Pro-Life' and 'Pro-Choice'. Pro-life supporters want abortion to be illegal and not performed anywhere. Pro-choice supporters want the choice to be up to the woman and no one else. There is no ethical way to decide between the two subjects and it's all based on what the person's moral values.

Abortion is the termination of an unwanted pregnancy by loss of or destruction of an egg, embryo or fetus before birth. The term of abortion is used to define the termination of a pregnancy before the fetus attains capacity for life outside the uterus. In all societies, women have for many reasons, sought to terminate pregnancies. When a woman tries to self-induce an abortion it can cause serious physical risk to a woman. Today, abortions in the early weeks of a pregnancy, by a trained practitioner and under proper conditions, can be safe medical procedure. (Americana, 1)

In no society, either in the present or the past has there been a single dominant attitude toward abortions. The Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle discussed abortion as a useful means of population control. Also under Roman law, abortion primarily reflected family rule by the husband, who on the one hand could order an abortion and on the other hand could punish or divorce his wife if she ended a pregnancy without his consent. (Ameicana, 2)

In the Roman Catholic Church they consider abortion as murder only after the point at which the rational soul became instilled, usually said to be 40 days after conception. In 1930, Pope Pins XI declared even if the life of the mother is threatened by giving birth, abortion is unjustified. The only exception to the abortion prohibition that the church has considered to be morally acceptable has been the destruction of the fetus as an indirect consequence of other surgery that is deemed necessary. In the former Soviet Union abortion was legalized in 1917 after the revolution, then it was restricted in the 1930s due to population concerns, then it was legalized again in the mid 1950s. A strong and worldwide feminist movement during the 1960s heightened the pressure to legalize abortion. In the U.S. this trend culminated in a 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal during the early months on pregnancy. (Americana, 3)

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