Western and Non-Western Views on Abortion

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Understanding Abortion: Western and Non-Western Perspectives

What is abortion? Abortion is when a pregnancy is ended so that it doesn’t result in the birth of a child. It is when the embryo or fetus is removed before it is able to survive outside the uterus. There is also an abortion that occurs unplanned, which is called a miscarriage. It’s very interesting to me how people who were brought up in different cultures view societal issues around the world. People have different views. Different cultures often value different things.

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When we, as humans, are able to understand this difference, we are more likely to create a healthy learning environment. Western cultures value things very differently compared to the Non-Western cultures in our society. Western cultures tend to be more materialistic compared to non-western cultures. Non-western cultures have more family values. According to a study, most abortions occur in developing countries compared to developed countries. In the study, the highest amount of abortions per year was from Asian nations, and the lowest number of abortions came from Oceania and North America.

The History of Abortion

Abortion has existed since ancient times, with physical abortifacients(a drug that causes abortion) being seen amongst a large variety of people and in most written references. When it does happen, it is implied in concerns about male property rights, the process of social order, and the obligation to make suitable citizens for the government and state.

The harshest punishments were mostly reserved for the woman who obtained an abortion against her husband’s wishes and for slaves who created abortions for a woman of high status. Old texts often contained serious criticism of abortion, recommending punishment but rarely implementing non-religious punishment. As a consequence of general law in England and the United States, abortion was prohibited anytime after quickening—which is when the movements of the fetus are first felt by the mother of the child.

Factors Influencing Abortion Decisions

Abortion has been a controversial topic in ethics and society that has been seeking to find a fulfilling solution. Although Abortion is a topic that is widely accepted today, there still exists controversy about the topic due to different ethical views. When it comes to a highly controversial issue like this one, there are usually some prejudices. This usually involves faith, ethics, income, age, and communities. All of these influence the decisions concerning abortion. Religion plays a huge role, as it is what people turn to when they are in troubled times. If their religion is against abortion, it is more likely for them to follow that rule.

Ethics is also a guide for people; abortion might be unethical to some people because fetuses are still human. Income also plays a significant role in abortion. People who are poor are usually not able to even keep themselves alive, so they would support those who want to keep abortion legal. As a matter of fact, 42% of females who get abortions “take incomes below 100 percent of the national poverty point” (“Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States”). In contrast, they might not agree because they already have adequate needs of financial assistance to keep a child.

Cultural Differences: Abortion in Western and Non-Western Settings

Abortion in Western Cultures and Non-Western Cultures In Western cultures, the concern of abortion is the right of the female to decide. To select the power of her body, to decide when life begins and when it’s more important for the woman to decide her own fate. In non-western cultures, it’s not the same. One of the non-Western cultures would be in Turkey.

In Turkey, abortion was legalized in 1983. It is currently allowed until the 10th week after the child is conceived. The number is able to increase if the woman is not physically healthy or if the pregnancy was a result of rape. In the article I read from the author written by Ozlem Hangul, she states that one of her friends in Istanbul told her that her legal abortion request was denied by all of the four state hospitals she went to, and she was treated badly, and the doctors made her feel very guilty.

Her friend contacted thirty-seven hospitals, and “Only three hospitals out of the 37 agreed to provide non-emergency termination; 17 said that they could provide the service only if there was a medical emergency; the remaining 12 refused to carry out termination no matter the reason.” The research showed that abortion was very difficult in state hospitals rather than private hospitals. The law was violated by state hospitals, women weren’t given the right that was legal for them, and they weren’t able to access abortion as easy a western cultured person would.


In conclusion, Abortion forces and their enforcement have changed in several eras. Many of the Western cultured nations during the 20th century were able to get their abortion bans repealed. While abortion currently remains legal in most Western cultured nations, it is regularly challenged by radical groups of people who are often from non-Western cultures.


  1. Abort73.com. (2009). Abortion statistics and other data.
  2. Hangul, O. (2012). Abortion in Turkey: Women’s Experiences within a Restrictive Legal Framework. Reproductive Health Matters, 20(39), 27-34.
  3. “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States.” (n.d.). National Right to Life.

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Western and Non-Western Views on Abortion. (2023, Aug 11). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/western-and-non-western-views-on-abortion

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