As of today, abortion is the primary mean of birth control. Never before in the history of mankind artificial abortion has been as widespread as it is now. According to statistics, there are more than 40 million abortions carried out on an annual basis worldwide, which means that every fifth pregnancy ends with an abortion, although in different countries this figure is significantly different.
The history of abortion is as old as human history. In ancient Greece and Rome, life of a fetal—an unborn—was not protected by any laws. Abortion was not considered to be something shameful or even widely practiced. In Roman law the embryo was treated as part of the mother's body (pars viscerum), so the woman had all legal rights to do whatever she wanted with it. Abortion was only punished in cases when it was carried out for a personal benefit. Later, when the Roman Empire was short of soldiers and started to seize foreign lands and increase the number of slaves, their views on abortion had radically changed. The embryo was endowed with certain civil rights, and abortion was considered to be a crime. Women and those who contributed to the carrying out an abortion were strictly punished.
There are still many people who believe that an abortion undermines one’s moral responsibility. In fact, there are two extremes when it comes to the question of abortions—pro-choice camp and pro-life camp. Yet, the practice of abortion is now a component of a democratic state. According to liberal beliefs, woman is entitled to make a decision of whether or not give birth to a child, which goes back to basic human rights. There is a number of scenarios where an unexpected pregnancy dooms a woman to lose her career, to weaken her health or even to condemn herself to poverty. Not to mention that a good percent of unwanted pregnancies happens as a result of a rape. In this case, all arguments of pro-life supporters automatically cancel out.
Truth is, legal or not, abortions have always been conducted and always will be. Yet, if a state decides to ban abortions, women are more likely to carry them out on themselves, which bears a greater risk for them. The key point to understand—and also the key argument of pro-choice supporters—is that an unborn is not a human yet, in both moral and legal context. To remove an embryo or a fetus from woman’s womb does not equal to kill a human being.
As of today, abortion is the primary mean of birth control. Never before in the history of mankind artificial abortion has been as widespread as it is now.