African-American Studies

Abortion in the 21st Century

The definition of abortion is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or resulting in the death of an embryo or fetus, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary (Abortion).Though this definition does not say that is the ability to murder an unborn child, this is what many people believe that an abortion is. This is a very old debate that continues to progress throughout the years. There are many types of abortion and many different views on the topic.

Medicine and Health

Destigmatization of Abortion

Publication Reports/ Statistics

  1. Hord, C. (2011) Making Safe Abortion Accessible: A Practical Guide for Advocates. Ipas publication. Online. <> p. 44-45.

In the guide, Hord speaks about the destigmatization and legitimization of abortion from a practical approach. She talks about  counseling and the creation of support groups, creating policies and improving the access to services. She also recommends ways of destigmatizing abortion providers, providing training and information, after care and family planning services.

  1. Facts on Abortion in Latin America And the Caribbean. (2012) Guttmacher Institute.

The reliable statistical data provided by the authors of the report provide background information and recommendations on unsafe abortions. The analysis of the legal status of abortion in the area, the rate of safe and unsafe procedures would provide the researchers with important data.

  1. Unsafe abortion Global and regional estimates of the incidence of unsafe abortion and associated mortality in 2008. WHO. Sixth Edition. Online. <>

The most important parts of the publication would be the ones regarding the barriers of accessing safe abortion, the mortality rate of unsafe abortions and the comparison of the World’s regions. The study also includes trends data about unsafe abortions fatality rates in relation with legislation in the area.

  1. Dabash, R., Roudi-Fahimi, F. (2008) Abortion in the Middle East and North Africa. Population Reference Bureau.

The study analyzes the connection between legislation and unsafe abortion rates. The research also covers the main dangers of unsafe abortions and why they can be lethal to women; lack of knowledge, women being unaware of their rights, family planning clinics. An interesting example of Turkey and Tunisia is brought in by the authors to demonstrate how destigmatization would promote safer procedures.

  1. For Women’s Lives and Health: Report of the Global Safe Abortion Conference; Whose Right? Whose Choice? Who Cares? (2007) Online. < > p. 18-20.

The working report of the 2007 conference addresses stigma from a new perspective. The  paper states that in many of the countries restricting abortion the reason for the decision is the taboo- status of unwanted pregnancies and sexual relationships without wedlock in general. The study assesses the different forms of stigma; from disapproval of family members to violence. The paper also provides recommendations for diminishing stigma associated with abortion.

Journal Articles

  1. Othman, R. (2012) Abortion Policy Analyis. Middle East Journal of Nursing, Vol. 6. Issue 5. Sep. 2012. Online. <>

The article addresses many issues regarding the stigma of abortion in Islam countries. The analysis covers the religious, legal and social perspectives of unwanted pregnancies. The author also analyzes the policies and provides alternative solutions to stigmatization and the restriction of women’s rights.

  1. Kumar, A., Hessini, L., Mitchell, E. (2009) Conceptualising abortion stigma. Culture, Health & Sexuality Vol. 11, No. 6, August 2009, 625–639 Online. < >

The authors provide a clear definition of abortion stigma, providing examples of behaviors, social status and dynamics in the society. The framework that describes the different steps of the production of abortion stigma would be useful in the research as it would provide a reliable way of examining the motions, motivations and effects of stigmatization on women’s lives. Examining the different levels of abortion stigma would also add to the depth of the research.

  1. Shah, I., Ahman, E. (2009) Unsafe Abortion: Global and Regional Incidence, Trends, Consequences, and Challenges. Women’s Health. December, 2009.

      The research paper provides evidence that in the underdeveloped parts of the world unsafe abortion is more prevalent than in North America and Western Europe. The research indicates that abortion is still present when policies are strict, however, the higher number of unsafe abortions means a higher risk for women. Therefore, there is a connection between the level of stigmatization and health risks.


  1. Fried, M. (1990) From abortion to reproductive freedom: transforming a movement. South End Press.

The author talks about the stereotypes of “good” and “bad” abortion, the free will and decisions made by women. While the book is based on American examples, it does provide a the background information on how individuals live through the process of making a decision. Stigmatization might be restricted to “bad abortion” in some countries, however, the wrong categorization of the situation can lead to emotional damages of women facing the situation.

  1. Whittaker, A. (2010) Abortion in Asia: Local Dilemmas, Global Politics.

The book covers the social background of abortion policies and customs in Asia; in particular poverty and the inequalities in women’s rights. The analysis of the Asian perception of the human body would provide an insight into the reasons behind stigmatization of abortion. It provides a religious and cultural background for the future study of the stigmatization process.




Associated with the issue of abortion is the viewpoint that the only proper context for sex, given its nature, is as part of a committed personal relation.  To begin, if sexual relations are conducted only within the context of committed relationship, there is less likelihood of abortion because the men and women involved are more inclined to enduring relationships, which would more easily accommodate the raising of children.  Then, there can be no reasonable refuting that sex takes on greater meaning when those involved feel deeply for one another, no matter any other perspective taken on sex.  To assert, however, that the committed relationship is the only proper context for sex is to deny aspects of humanity and biology as old as humanity itself.  Equally importantly, “proper” is an extraordinarily subjective term, and this alone renders the statement invalid as an absolute claim.  The greater reality, as will be examined, is that sex is a natural function which is ethically and culturally valid in a variety of forms, certainly beyond that of the committed relationship.