In a Nutshell

Abortion is a highly emotional and controversial subject with no immediate sign of consensus.
  1. There are varying emotional and psychological impacts of abortion - on all involved - the baby, the mother, the siblings, the father, the extended family and medical professionals
  2. The physical and medical impact - may include Post Abortion Syndrome, the Abortion Breast-Cancer Link, Infertility, and possible later pregnancy complications
  3. There are many methods of abortion including Chemical & Surgical depending on the health of the mother and the stage of pregnancy
  4. Religious, Philosophical, Social and Ethical issues are at the heart of the abortion controversy
  5. Demographics and population control considerations have influenced global policies
  6. Specific terminology is used by various pressure-groups and sometimes the Media to attempt to influence emotions in the controversy
  7. Abortion laws globally have been liberalised over the last 30 years and various pressure is applied to more conservative nations to liberalise
  8. The central issue has moved from "When does life begin" to "When is life viable?" to "What constitutes personhood or when does personhood begin?"
  9. There is some common ground in the controversy - Most favour lower abortion rates and most accept that abortion is less acceptable when a baby is "viable".
There can be significant emotional and psychological stress after an abortion. Studies show that the immediate reaction is a sense of relief at no longer being pregnant. Abortion providers argue that most women may have some emotional reaction, but this soon passes.

Studies reveal some of the effects include: difficulty in maintaining personal relationships, self-destructive behaviour, feelings of anxiety, fear of God, fear of another pregnancy.

A major study on men and abortion by Michael Simon, an American psychologist, reveals very deep emotions, ranging from guilt, inadequacy, to extreme anger at the loss of their baby. Grandparents can experience loss and anger at being denied the grandchild. Siblings who learn of the abortion, are vulnerable to anxiety and a sense of disconnection in the family.

Doctors and clinical staff, particularly those involved in late abortions, are vulnerable to "burn out", self-destructive behaviour, and emotional deadness.

Post-abortion medical complications can show up within days or weeks and most can be successfully treated. However weakening of the cervix can later lead to problems with premature deliveries. Repeat abortions run the risk of causing infertility. The abortion-breast cancer link is highly contentious within medical circles. It is argued that aborting a first pregnancy can lead to early breast cancer for some women.

Abortion-rights reform in the late 1960s and early 70s, coincided with new technology that made mass surgical abortions available. The suction machine enabledfast abortions in the first trimester. Surgical techniques were developed for second and third trimester pregnancies.The next revolution was medical abortion such as RU486. It is increasingly popular because surgery is avoided and the pills provide a sense of control and enable abortion at home if desired.

Abortion is widely accepted as a normal means of fertility control in most Asian countries. Islam and Catholicism forbid abortion. Other Christian denominations vary in their attitude. However, in the United States, the cultural war over abortion continues unabated.

The religious, philosophical, social and ethical issues with abortion are deeply held and at the heart of the controversy is the perennial conundrum: the life of the child versus the rights of the mother.

Abortion has official sanction as a means of population control. Major U.S. private foundations contribute to abortion providers such as International Planned Parenthood and IPAS. The World Bank links reproductive rights with loans where possible. However, US government policy currently forbids funds for policies providing abortion. More western and some Asian countries like South Korea and Japan are facing demographic decline, but any link with abortion as a contributing factor, remains unaddressed.

Abortion is a deeply controversial and divisive issue because it ends a life. Anti-abortionists insist that an individual human person is being killed. Abortion providers believe they are providing a legal service to needy women and that a potential life is being ended.

On a scale of rights, the woman is considered to have the superior right to control her own body. A lexicon of euphemisms is employed to support this perceived right and to neutralise potential emotional side-effects on all those engaged in the procedure: doctors and clinical staff, counsellors and the woman and her partner.

Feminist and population control ideology provides the impetus to extend reproductive rights to all women on a global scale. Financial and organisational support is provided by various governments, private foundations and U.N.-sponsored forums.

Resistance to the abortion agenda comes from the Vatican, Islamic delegations and those representing "Catholic" Latin American countries. The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and IPPF, collaborate with abortion-rights groups and U.N. agencies to break down the cultural and political barriers preventing legal abortion in targeted countries.

Recent advances in human embryology and particularly publicity surrounding 4D ultrasound technology in early 2004, have provided unprecedented "windows into the womb". Babies at ten and twelve weeks can be clearly seen moving their arms and legs.

Human embryology reveals that human life begins when the sperm fertilises the egg at conception. Abortion rights advocates acknowledge that a form of early life is present, but is it a person, and when does personhood begin?

The Abortion-rights versus Anti-abortion factions have fought a cultural war for over thirty years. There are few areas of common ground. In the past 15-10 years, there have been a number of credible studies, particularly from Finland, that examine the effect of abortion on women.

There is the growing evidence of demographic decline. A number of abortion-rights advocates have expressed a desire to see abortion "made rare", a goal that anti-abortionists share.

Another factor is medical technology that is pushing back the period when babies become "viable" and can be saved outside of the womb. This had a bearing on the British Parliament considering limiting abortions to twelve weeks.

Cutting through all the rhetoric, one way to learn about abortion is to actually witness an abortion first hand or to work in a clinic. The second best thing is to read verified eye-witness accounts from people who are current and former abortion providers.

These quotes have been tracked down from a number of sources, from the research of "pro-choice" author Magda Denes to the Washington Post to other magazines. Read "Abortion Quotes From Those In the Industry"