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Abortion has been used throughout the world for thousands of years. Discuss.

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  • Essay length: 6144 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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GCSE Euthanasia

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Background

Abortion has been used throughout the world for thousands of years.

In the UK abortion became illegal in the 19th Century when the penalty for 'procuring a miscarriage' was life imprisonment. Women trying to escape the burden of an unwanted pregnancy were forced to use unreliable and dangerous methods, including poisonous drugs, knitting needles, soap or lead solutions inserted through syringes, and blows to the abdomen.

However many people were appalled by the number of women suffering and dying as a result of illegal abortion. Pressure for reform finally resulted in Liberal MP David Steel's Abortion Law Reform Bill, which became law on 27 October 1967 and took effect on 27 April 1968.

This was amended in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act which changed the upper limit from 28 to 24 weeks for most abortions, due to the fact that advances in medicine mean it is now possible to keep some babies alive born after about 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Since 1967, there have been at over 20 unsuccessful attempts in Parliament to restrict the law, prompted by pressure groups opposed to legal abortion. However, recent

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