Ethics of abortion: the arguments for and against
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Ethics of abortion: the arguments for and against

Kiera Jones Community nurse, Port Talbot, South Wales and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Ethics Forum
Chris Chaloner Ethics adviser, RCN, London

In England, Scotland and Wales legislation has facilitated the process of procuring an abortion to the point at which, in 2007, it appears to have been effectively assimilated into contemporary life. However, despite the legal acceptance of abortion it remains an ethically contentious subject. Arguments in favour of, or in opposition to, abortion can arouse vociferous and, on occasions, extreme reactions. At the heart of the abortion debate lie questions concerning rights, autonomy and the way in which society views disability (if a pregnancy is terminated for this reason alone). It is important that health professionals comprehend the basis of the abortion debate, from the perspective of their profession, society as a whole and the individual woman who may have had or is considering an abortion or has been affected by the subject in some way. This article examines some of the key ethical issues concerning abortion.

Nursing Standard. 21, 37, 45-48. doi: 10.7748/ns2007.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review