Abortion, along with circumcision, is amongst the oldest operations known to human kind. While abortion meets an extraordinarily important need of the individual, society commonly treats it differently from other aspects of medical science. Usually, there is little honor to be gained by improving abortion technologies.
The explanations and beliefs different cultures develop concerning the origin and maturation of pregnancy help determine attitudes to abortion. The Qu˒rān, for example, describes pregnancy as a process of increasing complexity progressing from, “a drop of seed, in a safe lodging, firmly affixed” to a “lump” with “bones, clothed with flesh”, and some Islamic theologians permit abortion early in pregnancy. Most abortions are performed because the woman feels she cannot support the child if born, although unmarried women, especially in non‐Western traditional societies, may abort for fear of punishment. In the ancient Ugandan royal household, abortion was carried out on...
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