Stripped of moral, religious, and legal considerations, abortion is simply the termination of a pregnancy. But there is nothing simple about abortion or at least, debates over abortion, and the contest over whether and when abortion should be legally permissible has been at the center of the so-called culture war. The abortion debate has shaped party politics, electoral campaigns, legislative agendas, and judicial appointments. It has led to political rallies, protests, blockades, bombings, and the killing of abortion providers. The lasting conflict and the reach of the controversy into debates over stem cell research, sex education, fertility treatments, population control, and more ensure that abortion will remain newsworthy.

From some moral, religious, and cultural vantage points, abortion is murder. Others view abortion as a fundamental right ...

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