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Word Count: 1,418
Abortion Should Be Kept Out of The Criminal Code Abortion termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent life When the expulsion from the womb occurs after the fetus becomes viable capable of independent life usually at the end of six months of pregnancy it is technically a premature birth The practice of abortion was widespread in ancient times as a method of birth control Later it was restricted or forbidden by most world religions but it was not considered an offense in secular law until the 19th century During that century first the English Parliament and then American state legislatures prohibited induced abortion to protect women from surgical procedures that were at the time unsafe commonly stipulating a threat to the womans life as the sole therapeutic exception to the prohibition Occasionally the exception was enlarged to include danger to the mothers health as well Legislative action in the 20th century has been aimed at permitting the termination of unwanted pregnancies for medical social or private reasons Abortions at the womans request were first allowed by the Soviet Union in 1920 followed by Japan and several East European nations after World War II In the late 1960s liberalized abortion regulations became widespread The impetus for the change was threefold 1 infanticide and the high maternal death rate associated with illegal abortions 2 a rapidly expanding world population 3 the growing feminist movement By 1980 countries where abortions were permitted only to save a womans life contained about 20 percent of the worlds population Countries with moderately restrictive laws--abortions permitted to protect a womans health to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest to avoid genetic or congenital defects or in response to social problems such as unmarried status or inadequate income--contained some 40 percent of the worlds population Abortions at the womans request usually with limits based on physical conditions such as duration of pregnancy were allowed in
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