There are several proponents and opponents to the conduct of abortions, many of whom feel strongly regarding their positions. The proponents, consisting primarily of physicians, allied health professionals, jurists, patients and their families, and members of Catholics for Free Choice, among other interest groups, contend that the right to abortion belongs to the woman and she is to dictate what is to be done with her body (Beyette, 1991; Cohen, 1988; Freedman, 1988). The opponents, consisting primarily of physicians, allied health professionals, some jurists, patients and their families, and certain religious groups, contend that abortion constitutes mutilation to the body of the pregnant woman and murder and disrespect for the human dignity of the fetus (Annas & Elias, 1989; Robertson, 1988). Thus, both medical and social issues predominate the debate over whether or not abortions are to be delivered, and under what circumstances.
There is no clear indication as to the absolute number of abortions that are performed in the United States. In support of this, Robertson (1988) and Tumulty (199O) report that the number of nurses, physicians, clinics and hospitals that provide abortions is unknown. Robertson (1988) indicates that the number of nurses, physicians, clinics and hospitals providing abortions is unclear, given that records are often either not kept, or kept inaccurately on purpose to disguise this medical procedure. Further, there is no
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