Legal abortion is becoming acceptable throughout the world. In Britain alone, one in five pregnancies ends in voluntary abortion. Many are asking: Is this social progress or a license to kill? We have asked a British medical doctor to answer this controversial question. Abortion has become one of Britain's - and the world's - largest "growth industries," observes the British Medical Journal. A decade ago crudely performed "back-street" abortions were rife in Britain. An estimated 100,000 or more were performed each year. These were mainly carried out on women unable to obtain medical sanction for their terminations. Illegal abortions probably reached beyond the 150,000 mark. This, mind you, was prior to the 1967 Abortion Law in Britain. The old law was fairly strict. It allowed termination of pregnancy only if its continuance would expose the mother to serious risk of life or health. Working in a gynecology ward, one could never be sure how many cases admitted for treatment of "spontaneous abortion" had really been self-induced with the notorious crochet hook or the legendary slippery elm bark. But even at that time a "professional" job could always be performed for those women who had the money and knew the right people. Just how much of that went on we will never know.
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