Anti-abortion movement

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Anti-abortion movements, also referred to as Pro-life movements, are involved in the abortion debate advocating against the practice of abortion and its legality. Many anti-abortion movements began as countermovements in response to the legalization of elective abortions.

Abortion is defined as the termination of a human pregnancy accompanied by the death of the embryo or fetus.[1]

Movements by country[edit]


Each Life Matters demonstration in Madrid, Spain, on 17 October 2009

In Europe, abortion law varies by country, and has been legalized through parliamentary acts in some countries, and constitutionally banned (or heavily restricted) in others. In Western Europe this has had the effect at once of both more closely regulating the use of abortion, and at the same time mediating and reducing the impact anti-abortion campaigns have had on the law.[2]


The first specifically anti-abortion organization in France, Laissez-les-vivre-SOS futures mères, was created in 1971 during the debate that was to lead to the Veil Law in 1975. Its main spokesman was the geneticist Jérôme Lejeune. Since 2005, the French anti-abortion movement has organized an annual March for Life.[3]


There are several major anti-abortion groups in the Republic of Ireland, Pro Life Campaign, Youth Defence and Iona Institute.


In Liechtenstein, an application to legalize abortions was rejected by a slim majority in a referendum in 2011. The opponents, which included Prince Alois, got 500 votes more and eventually settled at 52.3 percent compared with 47.7 percent.[4]

Prince Alois had announced the use of his veto in advance if necessary to prevent the introduction of abortion.[5]


In Spain, over one million demonstrators took part in a march in Madrid in October 2009 to protest plans by the government of José Luis Zapatero to legalize elective abortions and eliminate parental consent restrictions.[6]

In 2010 1,067,315 Spaniards signed a petition against the liberal abortion policy of the government. The petition was launched by the organizations "Derecho a vivir" (right to life) and "Hazteoir" (make yourself heard).[7]


Gift of life is a medical and anti-abortion charity in Ukraine.[8]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the most prominent anti-abortion organization is the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. It was formed to "uphold the principle of respect for human life, in particular the life of the unborn child" at the time of the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act which liberalized abortion law. The group campaigns against abortion, often using questionable claims,[9] and supports protests at pregnancy clinics.[10]

Middle East and North Africa[edit]


In Israel, the major anti-abortion organization is Efrat.[11] Efrat activists primarily raise funds to relieve the "financial and social pressures" on pregnant women so that they will not terminate their pregnancies. However, this activity is only carried out in the Jewish sector in Israeli society, as Efrat officially views abortion among Jews as a demographic threat to the Jewish people.[12]



The Chilean movement is called Siempre por la Vida.[13]

United States[edit]

The United States anti-abortion movement formed as a response to the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions, with many anti-abortion organizations having emerged since then. There is also a smaller consistent life ethic movement, favoring a philosophy which opposes all forms of killing, including abortion, war, euthanasia, and capital punishment.

The current movement is in part a continuation of previous debates on abortion that led to the practice being banned in all states in the late 19th century. The initial movement was led by physicians, but also included politicians and feminists. Among physicians, advances in medical knowledge played a significant role in influencing anti-abortion opinion. Quickening, which had previously been thought to be the point at which the soul entered a human was discovered to be a relatively unimportant step in fetal development, causing them to rethink their position of early term abortions.[14] Ideologically, the Hippocratic Oath and the medical mentality of that age to defend the value of human life as an absolute also played a significant role in molding opinions about abortion.[14]

Meanwhile, feminists tended to regard abortion as an undesirable necessity forced upon women by thoughtless men.[15] The "free love" wing of the feminist movement refused to advocate abortion and treated the practice as an example of the hideous extremes to which modern marriage was driving women.[16] Marital rape and the seduction of unmarried women were societal ills which feminists believed caused the need to abort, as men did not respect women's right to abstinence.[16]


South Africa[edit]

In South Africa there is an anti-abortion organization called Pro-Life Generation.[17][third-party source needed]


In Australia, the anti-abortion movement is represented by a number of organizations including Cherish Life, Right to Life Australia, and Australian Christian Lobby. These organizations undertake various campaigning actions including political campaign fundraising.[18]


Abortion is legal in Russia as an elective procedure up to the 12th week of pregnancy, and in special circumstances at later stages.[19] The abortion issue gained renewed attention in 2011 in a debate that The New York Times says "has begun to sound like the debate in the United States".[20] Parliament passed and President Dmitri Medvedev signed several restrictions on abortion into law to combat "a falling birthrate" and "plunging population".[20] The restrictions include requiring abortion providers to devote 10% of advertising costs to describing the dangers of abortion to a woman's health and make it illegal to describe abortion as a safe medical procedure. Medvedev's wife Svetlana Medvedeva has taken up the pro-life cause in Russia in a weeklong national campaign against abortion called "Give Me Life!" and a "Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness" by her Foundation for Social and Cultural Initiatives in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of ABORTION".
  2. ^ Outshoorn, Joyce (1996). "The stability of compromise: Abortion politics in Western Europe". In Marianne Givens; Dorothy M. Stetson. Abortion politics: public policy in cross-cultural perspective. Routledge. p. 161. ...parliamentary decision are sustained by political parties which, in comparison to the United States, are deeply rooted in European society. The political parties have managed to regulate and pacify the political reform process, which in the decision-making stage marginalized opposition outside parliament.
  3. ^ "Thousands take part in Paris anti-abortion march". Euronews. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  4. ^ "In Liechtenstein bleiben Abtreibungen verboten". Focus. 2011-09-18. Retrieved 2014-12-17.
  5. ^ "Radikal für das Leben!, 08 September 2012". Zukunft CH. 2012-09-28. Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2014-12-17.
  6. ^ "Agence France Presse, 17 October 2009". 2009-10-17. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
  7. ^ "Spanien: Mehr als eine Million unterschreiben gegen Abtreibung, 23 February 2010". Blaue Narzisse. 2010-02-23. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-17.
  8. ^ "Gift of Life website". 10 June 2017. Retrieved 2 Feb 2019.
  9. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan; editor, education (2012-03-23). "Revealed: what children are being told about abortion". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  10. ^ Quinn, Ben (2012-03-13). "Anti-abortion activism escalating, warns clinic targeted by vigil". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  11. ^ "Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  12. ^ "How Efrat Saves Lives". Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Bachelet to Redact Chile's Abortion Prohibition before End of 2014". PanAm Post. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  14. ^ a b James C. Mohr (1978). Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy. Oxford University Press/. pp. 35–36.
  15. ^ Mohr, James C. (1978). Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy. Oxford University Press. p. 110.
  16. ^ a b James C. Mohr (1978). Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy. Oxford University Press/. p. 112.
  17. ^ "ProLife Generation". ProLife Generation
  18. ^ Allan, Lyle (November 30, 2010). "Margaret Tighe. The most powerful woman in Victoria". Tasmanian Times. Archived from the original on July 10, 2018.
  19. ^ (in Russian) Федеральный закон Российской Федерации от 21 ноября 2011 г. N 323-ФЗ
  20. ^ a b c Sophia Kishkovsky, July 15, 2011 Russia Enacts Law Opposing Abortion
  21. ^ Unplanned Movie, Unplanned Official Trailer - In Theaters March 29, retrieved 2019-02-04

External links[edit]