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In the United States, women choose to end about 25% of their pregnancies through
abortion. (www.gale.com) This number has been gradually declining since 1979. This is
similar to the Canadian figure of 21% but is much lower than that of the former Soviet
Union (60%) and Romania (78%) where contraceptives are in short supply. (Newsweek
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about adultery in The Scarlet Letter, but the “A” word
these days is abortion. People often break off friendships, ostracize each other, and are
intolerant of others having different opinions on this subject. This is sad, because we can
The rest of this abortion essay is divided into two parts. First is a general
discussion mentioning some legal issues. Then the legal issues will be discussed in more
detail. Be aware that some of the following material is personal opinion, although you will
also find a lot of information (including links).(www.gale.com)
For thousands of years of western civilization, abortion was generally illegal after
“quickening” (the point at about four months into pregnancy when a baby kicks). This
tradition can be traced back at least to the Ancient Greeks. In his book “Politics,” Aristotle
said that “the line between lawful and unlawful abortion will be marked by the fact of
having sensation and being alive.” (www.gale.com)Aristotle thus contended that the right
to life generally accrues earlier than birth and irrespective of whether the baby is strong
enough to survive after birth (i.e. viability). (Newsweek Sept. 22, 1997, Pg.18) This broad
standard of Aristotle leaves plenty of room for special rules and exceptions in order to
allow some late abortions for the life of the mother, rape, incest, grave fetal deformity,
Quickening usually occurs at least two months before viability. Many people,
including myself, advocate drawing a line between lawful and unlawful abortion no later
than four months after con…

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