The debate regarding the practice and role of abortion has been an enduring and problematic area of discourse within the nursing literature, with a tendency towards a polarized and inevitably simplistic analysis of what, for many practitioners, women and families, remains a highly complex and morally fraught concept This paper attempts to explore the concept of abortion from within a feminist epistemology, to present a review of the literature as regards women's reproductive health and responsibilities, and thereby to contribute to the process of better understanding the role of abortion within contemporary health care practice In order to facilitate the study it has been necessary to explore the wide spectrum of historical, philosophical, legal, moral and political imperatives pertaining to the meaning of abortion as represented within contemporary society, not only in relation to women and then-reproductive health, but to feminism, women's well-being and self-determinism per se