Abortion: an ethical issue?
The issue of abortion is probably one of the most intensely debated ethical issues in today’s society. Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a foetus. It may be either spontaneous — when it is also known as miscarriage — or induced, when it is a deliberate termination of pregnancy. There are varying perceptions regarding the question of whether induced abortion is ethical at all, and if it is, in what situation it is ethical.
Since ancient times, most religions have continued to oppose the idea of abortion. In Christianity (Catholic), abortion is considered a sin in all circumstances, including rape, except when an effort is made to save the mother’s life and the death of the foetus is a secondary effect of that effort. In Islam too, abortion is considered wrong, unless when it is performed to save the life of the mother. In Hinduism, abortion is considered a form of violence; and when considering an abortion, the chosen action should be the one which does least harm to the mother, the child, the father and society. Orthodox leaders of various other religions like Judaism and Sikhism are opposed to abortion because they believe it “interferes in the creative work of God”. Historically, in most western countries, abortion had been against the law, due to religious influence. The Soviet Union was the first country to legalize abortion, in the early twentieth century. Abortion was allowed to be carried out on demand – a mother could carry out an abortion without a reason. This unreasonable abortion was considered by many to be unethical. In 1971, India introduced The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act which legalized abortion under several circumstances, even as many western countries and states of U.S.A had not yet introduced such a law. According to this law, an abortion can be carried out when the life or physical or mental health is risked, when there is a substantial risk of...
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