The practice of abortion was widespread in ancient times as a method of birth control. Later it was restricted or forbidden by most world religions, but it was not considered an offense in secular law until the 19th century. During that century, first the English Parliament and then American state legislatures prohibited induced abortion to protect women from surgical procedures that were at the time unsafe, commonly stipulating a threat to the woman's life as the sole exception to the prohibition.Occasionally the exception was enlarged to include danger to the mother's health as well.
Religious Point of View
In all three of the world's major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, abortion is not permitted. These religions advocate that abortion can only take place if there is a threat to the life of the mother. Another stipulation entails that, after three months of pregnancy abortion can not take place, for after that time period the fetus is given life.
In a passage from the bible (2 Kings 24:2-4) it is stated that, "The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets. Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord's command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive." (Manasseh, Israel's chief executive, had committed one particular sin--advocating the killing of children.) The laws of religion condemn the ending of any human life, no matter what form it is in.
Abortion, as a practice, is strictly prohibited, even in the most liberal of religions. Although the opposition would argue that it is against the concept of "the freedom to choose, but the religions are very clear on this front. The pro-choice movement states that it is a woman's choice whether or not she wishes to give birth to the child in question, for it is her body and therefore, her right to choose what to do with it. But the religious leaders have reiterated the word of God, which is very clear on the subject.
Legal Point of View
No matter how you look at it, partial birth abortion is murder. If we look at the legal viewpoint, where the battle for life now stands, we see that the laws have followed the whim of the government in office. Legislative action in the 20th century has been aimed at permitting the termination of unwanted pregnancies for medical, social, or private reasons. In the late 1960s liberalized abortion regulations became widespread. The impetus for the change was threefold: (1) Infanticide and the high maternal death rate associated with illegal abortions, (2) A rapidly expanding world population, (3) The growing feminist movement. By 1980, countries where abortions were permitted only to save a woman's life contained about 20 percent of the world's population. Countries with moderately restrictive laws-abortions permitted to protect a woman's health, to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, to avoid genetic or congenital defects, or in response to social problems such as unmarried status or inadequate income-contained some 40 percent of the world's population.
Abortions at the woman's request, usually with limits based on physical conditions such as duration of pregnancy, were allowed in countries with nearly 40 percent of the world's population. In the United States, legislation followed the world trend. The moderately restrictive type of abortion law was adopted by 14 states...