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Emotional & Societal Issues
Pressures & CoercionAn expectant mother has to deal with many (often conflicting) emotions and pressures. Pressure can arise from employment, housing, financial, educational or social situations. Coercion often occurs from her family and friends, the baby’s father, advisors or counsellors, and religious or other social influences.
Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)Women who have experienced trauma resulting from an abortion sometimes suffer from Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Case studies of PAS and some social science research tend to be used by those opposed to abortion.
The existence of PAS as a result of abortion is contested by those who support abortion rights.
Alternatives to AbortionCurrent medical practice with first-trimester abortion is to facilitate the procedure as soon as possible. There are doctors who argue that a “breathing space” should be allowed to consider other options.
Alternative options include keeping the baby, granting guardianship to a family member, or Open Adoption where the birth mother keeps in contact with her baby and the adoptive parents.
Human RightsA woman’s “right to choose” is seen as a central human rights issue of personal autonomy. Other human rights considerations include the rights of the father, the foetus, the legal or “personhood” status of an unborn child, and the rights of medical professionals to hold a conscientious objection to being involved in abortion.
Impact on SocietyThis section contains research material that covers economic and demographic factors relating to how abortion might impact on various societies.
New Zealand LawThe current law sets out the circumstances or grounds where abortions can be legally performed. Those grounds are cases of incest, where the mother is severely sub-normal, serious danger to the physical or mental health of the mother, or where the child will have a serious handicap.
Around 98% of recorded abortions are performed on mental health grounds.
History of Abortion in New ZealandFew other issues arouse such strong emotions and passions as abortion. In this feature on the history of abortion in New Zealand, we present the research and accounts from many of the people involved in the campaigns and debates.
The format includes concise overviews of the various issues and events, linked to more detailed information.
A Global history of AbortionAbortions have been performed and accepted since early in human history according to ancient historical accounts. The Jewish people appear to have been an exception to the general tolerance. The early Christian Church, with its roots in Judaism, condemned abortion from the beginning as can be seen in the earliest Christian writings. Attitudes concerning abortion have shifted from time to time with nations either restricting or liberalising their laws to reflect these changing attitudes.