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  1. Alvin J. Schmidt

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0004

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Schmidt, A. J. 2011. Abortion. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


The widespread practice of abortion (along with other practices such as infanticide, suicide, and the “sport” of killing gladiators) was not regarded as a moral problem in pagan Greco-Roman society. Concerning abortion, Plato, the Greek philosopher, said it was the prerogative of the city-state to let women have abortions (Republic 5.461). Similarly, Aristotle argued that there was a “limit fixed to the procreation of offspring,” and when that limit was reached, “abortion must be practiced” (Politics 7.14). While there was the occasional opposition to abortion, the prevailing cultural view saw nothing immoral regarding it.


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