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Acta Med Hist Adriat. 2013;11(2):291-8.

An investigation into the ancient abortion laws: comparing ancient Persia with ancient Greece and Rome.

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  • 1Research Office for the History of Persian Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


Since the dawn of medicine, medical rights and ethics have always been one of mankind's concerns. In any civilisation, attention paid to medical laws and ethics depends on the progress of human values and the advancement of medical science. The history of various civilisations teaches that each had its own views on medical ethics, but most had something in common. Ancient civilisations such as Greece, Rome, or Assyria did not consider the foetus to be alive and therefore to have human rights. In contrast, ancient Persians valued the foetus as a living person equal to others. Accordingly, they brought laws against abortion, even in cases of sexual abuse. Furthermore, abortion was considered to be a murder and punishments were meted out to the mother, father, and the person performing it.

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