Abortion Policies: A Global Review - Vol. 2

Abortion Policies: A Global Review - Vol. 2

Abortion Policies: A Global Review - Vol. 2

Abortion Policies: A Global Review - Vol. 2

Synopsis

This publication aims to provide objective information about the national policies and laws relating to induced abortion of all UN member states and non-member states. It does not attempt to address the contentious issues that surround the subject. The countries are arranged in alphabetical order, and this volume covers countries from Afghanistan to France. The report contains comparable information on: the grounds on which abortion is permitted; the reproductive health context; and the social and political background to policies adopted. Where possible, data on the incidence of abortion is included.

Excerpt

Although abortion is commonly practised throughout most of the world and has been practised since long before the beginning of recorded history, it is a subject that arouses passion and controversy. Abortion raises fundamental questions about human existence, such as when life begins, and what it is that makes us human. Abortion is at the heart of such contentious issues as the right of women to control their own bodies, the nature of the State’s duty to protect the unborn, the tension between secular and religious views of human life and the individual and society, the rights of spouses and parents to be involved in the abortion decision, and the conflicting rights of the mother and the foetus. Also central to the subject of abortion is one of the most highly controversial social issues of all, sexuality. Any discussion of abortion almost inevitably leads to a consideration of how a pregnancy came about and ways that the pregnancy could have been prevented by the use of contraceptive methods. As the new century begins these questions and issues continue to occupy a significant place in public discourse around the world.

This study does not attempt to answer any of these questions or resolve these controversies. Rather, it aims at providing objective information about the nature of laws and policies relating to abortion at the end of the twentieth century. It consists of an analysis of abortion law and policy in all countries, both developed and developing. Included in this analysis is information on the social and political settings of these developments, the ways in which these laws and policies have been formulated, and how they have evolved over time. Where possible, data on the incidence of abortion has been cited. Although information on the incidence of abortion and the setting within which abortion takes place are not the focus of the study, these data are provided to enrich the policy picture.

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