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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 17. 19th July 1972



The debate over abortion is rather like the outcry in the 1920s and 1930s as women fought for the right for birth control. A substantial number of women see the abortion question as a private moral decision, not a favour to be dispensed arbitrarily by doctors (mostly male) in what is basically a demeaning adversary relationship — the woman implores, the doctor deplores, then occasionally relents. Many of us in the medical profession would like the responsibility for the decision taken from our shoulders and vested in the woman herself.

In this respect it would be a recognition of the right of the woman to control her own reproductive activity. But women's rights are not the only arguments for a more liberal attitude to abortion which, in contrast to what is often suggested by opponents of abortion, Is dictated by a basic and humane concern for the woman afflicted with an unwanted pregnancy, for her family, and for society as a whole. It is thus no paradox that, in sharp contrast to countries in which abortion is prohibited, the ones with liberal abortion laws are generally those in which the status of women is most equitable and the concern of society for all its members most marked.

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Drawing of a naked woman on a cross