Others believe abortion should be allowed until the fetus reaches the viable stage.
Medical professionals have passed regulations through their state and provincial organizations which forbid abortions after 20 or 21 weeks of gestation, except in special circumstances ReligiousTolerance). The rationale for this is that primitive neurological activity of the cerebral cortex begins usually in the fifth month of gestation: death is considered the cessation of cerebral activity, and so life is defined as the beginning of cerebral activity. Also, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) typically occurs before the 15th week of gestation, suggesting that up to this time, the fetus is not a potential human life because "nature" can abort it if it detects serious defects prior to this stage of development. 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 ho