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Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy and may be either spontaneous or induced. Throughout human history, induced abortion has been shrouded in controversy. The ethnographic record shows that, across societies, abortion has involved intense contestations over morally fraught issues such as the organization of human sexuality, the limits to human life, and women's rights to bodily self‐determination. Despite the pervasiveness of this procedure, induced abortion remains illegal and/or morally contentious in many societies and is therefore often performed in secrecy and silence. When illegality pushes abortion underground, the procedure is often done in ways that place pregnant women's health and lives in jeopardy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Anthropology
EditorsHillary Callan
Publication date2018
ISBN (Electronic)9781118924396
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 146236813