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Abortion in the Developing World
  1. Soraya Tremayne
  1. Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology University of Oxford

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    Edited by Axel I Mundigo and Cynthia Indriso, London and New York, Zed Books, 1999, 498 pages, UK £49.95, US $69.95.

    Induced abortion is one of the oldest methods used to end a pregnancy and has been practised in almost all societies. It is clear to social scientists that pregnancy as a social condition is different from pregnancy as a physical condition, but this is not always taken into account by other disciplines. Reasons for abortion are multifaceted and complex, and to understand these it is important to look at more than just the biological aspects of terminating a pregnancy.

    According to World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, 40 to 60 million abortions currently take place in the world every year. Despite large costs and efforts to prevent these, policies to introduce safer alternatives have been ineffective. There are indications that the number of induced abortions is actually increasing, particularly in the developing world. The majority of operations …

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