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  • Posted By: gill_student
  • Date Posted: 12/11/2010
  • Category: Others
  • Words: 625
  • Pages: 3
  • Views: 789
  • Rank: 234

Abortion Procedures

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Abortion Procedures

Abortion, in contemporary parlance, refers to the intentional termination of pregnancy. Abortion became one of the most divisive issues of the last quarter of the 20th century and remains an important question in contemporary political discourse in the United States.


Throughout most of American history, abortion had been legal prior to "quickening," or the perception of fetal movement on the part of the woman. Most state legislatures did not pass laws proscribing the practice until the late 19th century. The idea of liberalizing abortion laws became culturally salient during the late 1960s, and several state legislatures passed relatively permissive abortion laws during this period. The trend toward gradual liberalization was interrupted by the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which held virtually all state abortion laws to be unconstitutional.


Although public opinion generally moved in a more prochoice direction following Roe, the decision mobilized opposition from several, often religious, sources. Many cultural and religious conservatives opposed legal abortion because legal abortion was thought to encourage sexual promiscuity by reducing the risks of sexual activity outside of marriage. Another early source of opposition to legal abortion came from the African-American community. Several African-American leaders denounced legal abortion as "genocide" and suggested that easy access to abortion would ultimately be used by whites to limit societal responsibility to care for children born into poverty.


The most visible opposition to Roe came from Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical Protestant leaders, who regarded abortion as the taking of human life. Indeed, since the Roe decision, opponents of legal abortion have been characterized by themselves and opponents as "pro-life." Catholics opposed legal abortion on the ground that intentional termination of pregnancy constituted a violation of natural law. Since the early 1950s, the fetus was regarded as "ensouled" (and, therefore, fully human) from ...

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