Abortion is the expulsion of a fetus from the uterus before it has reached the stage of viability (in human beings, usually about the 20th week of gestation). An abortion may occur spontaneously, in which case it is also called a miscarriage, or it may be brought on purposefully, in which case it is often called an induced abortion.
Reasons for Abortion
Some societies ban abortion almost completely while others permit it in certain cases. Such societies usually lay down a maximum age after which the fetus must not be aborted, regardless of the circumstances. At various times some of the following have been allowed in some societies:
(1) Abortion for the sake of the mother's health:
- including her mental health
(2) Abortion where a pregnancy is the result of a crime:
- Such as crimes like rape, incest, or child abuse
(3) Abortion where the child of the pregnancy would have an ' unacceptable quality of life' such as cases where the child would have: - Serious physical handicaps,
- Serious genetic problems,
- Serious mental defects
(4) Abortion for social reasons, including:
- Mother unable to cope with a child (or another child),
- Mother being too young to cope with a child
(5) Abortion as a matter of government policy:
- As a way of regulating population size
- As a way of regulating groups within a population
- As a way of improving the population
Most opponents of abortion agree that abortion for the sake of the mother's health can be morally acceptable if there is a real risk of serious damage to the mother. Abortion for social reasons is usually least acceptable to opponents.
Advantages of Abortion
(1) In many cases, abortion helps to safeguard women's health. There are many women, who suffer from various hazardous medical conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, severe hypertension, sickle-cell anemia, severe diabetes, etc. As these diseases can be life-threatening, an abortion...