The Abortion Question

By Hyman Rodman; Betty Sarvis et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

OPPOSING POSITIONS ON THE ABORTION QUESNON are so sharply different and so strongly held that it is difficult to develop a satisfactory abortion policy. The abortion laws in many countries represent an attempt at compromise between opposing positions, but the compromises do not please the partisans on either side of the abortion debate. The controversy therefore continues in the media, in the legislatures, in the courts, in the streets, and sometimes in the abortion clinics.

Although we often refer to pro-choice and pro-life positions as though they are monolithic, the situation is far more complex. Some people, for example, want to prohibit abortion except when the woman's life is threatened by the pregnancy. Some also accept one or more other justifications for a legal abortion--e.g., threats to the woman's physical or mental health, a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, the likelihood of fetal deformity, and the woman's social and economic circumstances. Some want to accept abortion without the requirement of justifications, and hence would like to see the repeal of all laws pertaining to abortion (see Callahan 1977).

Partisans sometimes feel so strongly about their positions that communication is impossible because they are on completely different wavelengths. Research and clinical findings are often shaped to conform to preconceived beliefs. One psychiatrist assures us that guilt never accompanies abortion and another that it always does ( Sarvis and Rodman 1974:106). The dark and choppy waters sur-

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The Abortion Question
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter 1 the Rise of the Abortion Controversy 1
  • Chapter 2 the Social and Cultural Dynamics of Fertility Control 9
  • Chapter 3 the Moral Debate 29
  • Chapter 4 Medical Aspects of Abortion 45
  • Chapter 5 Psychosocial and Emotional Aspects of Abortion 71
  • Summary 86
  • Chapter 6 the Road to Roe V. Wade 89
  • Chapter 7 the Legal Controversy Since 1973 107
  • Chapter 8 Abortion Attitudes: Polls, Politics, and Prejudice 135
  • Chapter 9 Where Do We Go from Here? 157
  • Conclusion 170
  • Appendix A Historical Tale? 173
  • References 193
  • Index 213
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