Abortion in History & Culture through the World
In America, abortion was practiced legally many years ago until the arrival of 1800s.. In mid to late 1800s, laws were applied in the country to make abortion illegal. . The anti-abortion laws differed from one state to another. . One reason to have the law was due to an increase in birth rate of immigrants that would exceed the natives’ population. .
In the 1800s, medical practice was not in favor as surgical and medical procedures pose danger to people. . The mortality rates of both, mother and infant were high but at that time there was no choice but to go through abortion with illegal medical doctors. . At some point, due to having illegal doctors, abortion had become illegal in order to allow doctors to establish themselves as individuals with the right to practice. .
From 1880-1973, there was a period of “Back-Alley Abortions” that created danger to women who underwent illegal abortion. . Many women suffered or died due to receiving treatment from illegal/untrained doctors or due to self-inducing abortion. .
From the year of 1967 till 1973, about a third of states had revoked their abortion laws but undergoing legal abortion was only for American women in 1973. . In 1973, Roe vs Wade court decision allowed to have safe and legal abortions from professional doctors. .1967, Colorado was first to remove abortion law and three years later, Alaska, New York, Hawaii, and Washington also removed the law. . In the year of 1976, funds were provided to women with low-income for abortions. . In 1992, undergoing abortion before fetal viability was allowed. . In the year of 2000, a drug known as mifepristone was introduced and it was an option for early pregnancy abortion. .
Worldwide abortions differ from country to country. In China, abortion was legalized since the 1950s but it was not common until the government made the one-child among couple policy. . In the initial years, the number of abortions was few but as the years went by, the number of abortions increased. . In 1983, the number of abortions reached the peak but Beijing made a new regulation where rural couples were allowed to have a second child if the first child was a girl. . In that same year, women were using intrauterine devices which led to a decrease in abortions. . Until the 1990s, women were asked for their marital status at clinics since urban couples were allowed only one child. .
In UK, the Abortion Law Reform Association was made to campaign the support of abortion. . In 1967, the Abortion Act became a law where abortion was allowed under some conditions. . In 1975, the National Abortion Campaign was created to protect the 1967 Act and campaigned to make improvements. .
In terms of religion, the views of various religions differ from each other. According to Hinduism scriptures and traditions, abortion is not allowed as it interferes with reincarnation. . In certain circumstances, such as if mother’s life is in danger, then abortion can be proceeded. . In Hinduism, it has been said that a soul is reincarnated at the time an embryo has been conceived. . The importance of the soul is its karmic fate. . Besides abortion interfering with reincarnation, it may also affect other aspects. Abortion interferes with the soul’s choice of parents – when a soul is reincarnated, it does not choose its parents and enter the womb instead the choice of parents depends on their karma. . Abortion also interferes with the journey of souls in the mortal world and the spiritual destiny of ancestors. .
According to Islam, abortion is wrong but it can be allowed in certain situations such as if mother’s life is in danger. . If any abortion must take place, it should occur before 120 days of pregnancy. . Some scholars say that if the fetus suffers from any abnormality, then abortion can happen whereas other scholars disagree. . With the current times, Iran has allowed abortion under 10 weeks if the unborn is prone to genetic blood disorder. . Also, Iran allowed abortion in first three months for variety of reasons. . In cases of rape and incest, some scholars agree to abortion in less than120 days while other scholars oppose. .
According to traditional Buddhism, abortion is wrong as it involves destroying a life. . But in certain cases, such as if the fetus would end up being mentally and physically challenged, then abortion can be allowed. . But according to modern Buddhists, it is more about the morality of abortion. . Buddhists take full responsibility of their doings and consequences even if it is a decision regarding the mother’s life. . In Buddhism, if abortion is proceeded, then bad karma would exist for the mother and the fetus. . It would also obstruct its spiritual process. .
In Judaism, abortion is allowed only for certain reasons. . In Judaism, fetus is not a person until it has given birth. . Abortion takes places in first forty days of pregnancy. . Strict Judaism allows abortion if the mother’s life is in danger because the mother’s life is more crucial than the unborn child. . If the unborn has some defects, then abortion is not permitted by some schools of Judaism while it is allowed by others depending on the pain caused to the mother. . In cases of rape and incest, abortion is only allowed if it can impose a danger to the mother’s health. .
To conclude, the laws of abortion differed from country to country and with growing years abortion has become legal. Furthermore, there is also a decline in rate of abortion due to the different uses of contraceptives and advanced medical technology. Abortion views also differ from one religion to another due to its different beliefs.