Ethical and global aspects of abortion

H. Goldstein

Copenhagen, Denmark

Abortion, legal as well as illegal, has been known from ancient times. Probably since then pros and cons have been debated, and political as well as religious systems have stated their points of view very often, also in recent decades.

For several decades a variety of Western societies have allowed abortion until a certain number of gestational weeks. The ethical questions have been debated very strongly, and no consensus is found by all political directions. The practice of legal abortion may vary from country to country, although the ethical problems are the same: Is the medical doctor a murderer? Has the fetus in utero the same legal status and moral value as a full born infant? Does the pregnant woman decide alone, if she wants the child, or does the father-in-future have some influence? Does legal and illegal abortion influence the global demographic situation? Or can abortion be used as a tool in order to change a demographic situation? May legal abortion be used as a tool if parents want a boy or a girl after ultrasound examination?