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Birth control remains a highly controversial topic throughout the world. Birth control is any method that prevents birth; as such, it includes not only contraceptives and contragestives but also abortion—both chemical and surgical—and sterilization. Contraceptives are birth control methods that prevent the fertilization of an egg by a sperm (conception). Contragestives are methods that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg (embryo) after conception. Abortion is the removal from the uterus of an embryo or fetus (medically defined as beginning at the 11th week of gestation or 9 weeks after fertilization). Sterilization is a surgical procedure by which the male vas deferens or the female fallopian tubes are severed or removed. This entry focuses on the ethical dimensions of each type of birth control ...

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