The issue of abortion has evolved since 1967. In this paper, the shift in the discourses of abortion are discussed. The article suggests that abortion is used as a “back-up” method of family planning and that this is broadly acceptable. Although there is little public opposition to abortion as such, there are influences that undermine abortion provision as it now exists. Growing concern about the status of the fetus shapes a number of debates. For example the issue of what the fetus feels during abortion influences abortion practice. Advances in technology and the increase in knowledge about the unborn fetus will not change a woman's decision about having a late termination. The article concludes with the idea that a woman is a moral, civilised human being that deserves the right to make decisions about her reproductive life.
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Ann Furedi is Director of Communications at British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), London.