The Human Drama of Abortion: A Global Search for Consensus

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Vanderbilt University Press, 2006 - Health & Fitness - 200 pages
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Abortion 101, an accessible account of abortion practices and ethical issues around the globe, for students, activists, and policymakers

Deeply touched by the tragedies of botched abortions that they witnessed as medical students and young physicians in Chile in the 1940s and later around the world, the authors have attempted in their professional lives and now in this book to establish a framework for dialogue to replace the polarization that exists today.

Doctors Faundes and Barzelatto use their decades of international work to document the personal experiences of different classes of women in different countries and those countries' policies and practices. No other book provides such a comprehensive and reasoned examination of the entire topic of abortion, from the medical to the religious and ethical and from the psychological to the legal, in plain language understandable by non-specialists.

The central thesis is that there are too many induced abortions in the world today, that most are preventable and should be prevented--a middle ground that both pro-life and pro-choice advocates can accept. The first part of the book reviews why women have abortions, as well as the magnitude and consequences. The second part examines values. The third part discusses effective interventions. The final part states conclusions about what can be done to reach a necessary social consensus.

The Portuguese edition of this book was issued at the very end of 2004. The Spanish edition, launched in mid-2005, is already in a second printing. The authors are making presentations at special events sponsored by universities, professional associations, and feminist networks in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.


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The Chilean physicians who authored this well-organized book-Barzellato is vice president of the Center for Health & Social Policy, Washington, DC, and Fa�ndes practices reproductive medicine in ... Read full review


1 Listening to Women
2 The Meaning of Words
3 The Magnitude of Induced Abortion
4 Consequences of Unsafe Abortion
5 Why Women Get Pregnant When They Do Not Want To
6 When Is a Pregnancy So Unwanted That It Ends in Abortion?
Part II Values
7 Conflicting Values Encountered by Health Professionals
Part III Improving the Situation
11 How to Decrease the Number of Abortions
12 How to Reduce the Human Social and Economic Costs of Abortion
13 The Paradox
Part IV Seeking a Consensus
14 How to Reach a Consensus on Abortion

8 Religious Values
9 Ethical Values
10 Values as Reflected in the Law
About the Authors

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About the author (2006)

Anibal Faundes is Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Campinas, SP, Brazil, and Senior Researcher at Cemicamp, an internationally renowned center for research in reproductive health. He is currently Chair of the Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Rights of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

Jose S. Barzelatto, currently Vice President of the Center for Health and Social Policy, served from 1985 to 1989 as Director of the UNDP/WHO/World Bank Special Program for Research and Training in Human Reproduction and from 1989 to 1997 as Director of the Reproductive Health and Population Program of the Ford Foundation. He lives outside Washington, DC.

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