Private Lives, Public Policies

In the Soviet Union, where contraceptives are both unpopular and hard to obtain, the average woman has six abortions in her lifetime. In Kenya, where a man's wealth is often measured by the number of his children, the average woman bears eight children. In Mexico City, where herbal abortifacients are sold in markets, four out of five beds in the Woman's Hospital are filled by women suffering complications after illegal abortions. In Italy, where abortion has been legal since 1978, Pope John Paul II condemns even contraception, fueling fierce political debate.

An endless variety of laws, restrictions, customs and traditions affects the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!