Abortion and public health: Time for another look

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four decades after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains highly contentious, pitting a woman's right to choose against a fetal claim to life. Public health implications are staggering: the US annual total of more than one million induced abortions equals nearly half the number of registered deaths from all causes. Sentiment regarding abortion is roughly evenly split among the general public, yet fundamental debate about abortion is largely absent in the public health community, which is predominantly supportive of its wide availability. Absence of substantive debate on abortion separates the public health community from the public we serve, jeopardizing the trust placed in us. Traditional public health values-support for vulnerable groups and opposition to the politicization of science-together with the principle of reciprocity weigh against abortion. Were aborted lives counted as are other human lives, induced abortion would be acknowledged as the largest single preventable cause of loss of human life Four decades after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains highly divisive. Public sentiment regarding abortion is roughly evenly split, yet fundamental debate is largely absent in the public health community, which supports abortion's wide availability. Absence of substantive debate separates the public health community from the public it serves. Traditional public health values-support for vulnerable populations and opposition to politicization of science-and the principle of reciprocity ("the Golden Rule") weigh against abortion. Were aborted lives counted as are other human lives, inducedabortion would be acknowledged as the largest single preventable cause of loss of human life.Keywords: Abortion, Eugenics, Reciprocity, Human rights, Hierarchy of values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalThe Linacre quarterly
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Philosophy

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