Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Laura R. Woliver
Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy and has occurred since the beginnings of human societies. Usually, however, people did it quietly, clandestinely, privately, and without government knowledge or interference. Whether an abortion is safe for the woman involved, often a girl, depends on the skill of the practitioner, the cleanliness of the procedure, and the health and safety of the woman as she recovers. Abortion procedures vary with the stage of gestation, and the later the stage of gestation, the riskier the procedure for the person involved. Central in abortion is the status of the pregnant girl or woman. Whether or not she is able to fully consent to the procedure is vital. If a woman is forced to have an abortion by angry relatives, her husband or lover, or controlling and coercive government officials, she is not the agent of her own body and reproductive choices. When ...