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Abortion as a Social Problem

MICHELE DILLON


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Abortion has been legal in the United States and in most Western European countries since the early 1970s. In 2013, following years of protracted debate and minor changes in access to abortion, the Republic of Ireland legalized abortion in cases where the woman's life is threatened (including from the risk of suicide). Meanwhile, in Spain, a government proposal to restrict abortion encountered widespread public opposition. Restrictions on abortion have been imposed in some Eastern European countries, most notably Poland, where prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union abortion was both legal and prevalent. Currently, Malta is the only country in the European Union that completely bans abortion. Regardless of the timing of its legalization, abortion continues to be a highly contested issue in many countries. In the United States, initiatives to restrict abortion have been part of the political and legal landscape ever since the US Supreme Court recognized women's legal right to abortion in its infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Abortion activism is pursued by several religious and advocacy organizations, and abortion politics tend to dominate presidential and congressional elections, as well as debates over judicial appointments. Grassroots efforts to restrict abortion have met with some success. Post-Roe Supreme Court decisions, although they have upheld the right to abortion, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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