These two factors combined - onset of cerebral cortical activity and cessation of spontaneous abortion - suggest that the medical decision on allowing abortions up to the 20th or 21st week of gestation is based on sound medical reasoning.
Religious issues also come into consideration in the abortion issue (Religious Tolerance "Abortion and Roman"). This has become a major issue with the widespread merger of public and private hospitals with the Roman Catholic hospital system. In the United States, hospitals affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church are the largest group of non-profit medical facilities, operating an estimated 621 hospitals and 62 healthcare systems. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document on "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic health Care Services" which forbids: abortions; provision of contraceptive information and services; issuing or providing information on emergency contraception; fertility treatments; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis; voluntary tubal ligations, vasectomies, and other sterilizations; and dissemination of AIDS and other STD prevention information involving condoms. This will make getting abortions extremely difficult for many women, including victims of rape and incest. It also does nothing to stem the tide of unwanted pregnancies, particularly among the teenage population.
However, despite all the reasons supporting a woman's right to choose, and reasons why abortions should be legal, are issues that are little discussed. Abortions are never truly "safe" ("World" 2003). Women suffer physical, psychological, and emotional damage from legal abortions, and in some cases, even lose their life. Pro-choice advocates like to point to the fact that legal abortions save mothers' lives, but the main effect of the legalization of abortion has been to incr