A thorough attempt to answer the question of when a fetus becomes a person. The author, a free-lance nonfiction writer whose subjects have ranged from celebrity biography to computers, flying, and women's rights, quickly reveals that the answer is not clean cut, perhaps not even within the realm of science. The book offers a biological account of human fetal development; a description of spontaneous and induced abortions; methods/safety/aftereffects/complications; a history of the way abortion has been viewed (e.g., Aristotle and Plato for it, Hippocrates against). It also covers who seeks abortions (a majority in their 20s, then teens); misconceptions about birth control that lead to pregnancy; and religious viewpoints that are more complex than commonly believed--there are circumstances when abortion is acceptable to Mormons and Catholics, for example. This explosive topic is given the full attention it deserves, with the background of the Supreme Court decision, recent court challenges, the Reagan Administration's cutting of abortion funds for Medicaid patients and Federal workers, and the actions of the pro-life and pro-choice factions. Emmens seems to lean slightly toward the pro-choice mode, but this truly is a well. balanced, highly informative picture. Bibliography; index.