Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy.
Abortion, when induced in the developed world in accordance with local law, is among the safest procedures in medicine. However, unsafe abortions result in approximately 70 thousand maternal deaths and 5 million disabilities per year globally. An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year, with slightly under half of those performed unsafely. The incidence of abortion has stabilized in recent years, having previously spent decades declining as access to family planning education and contraceptive services increased. Forty percent of the world's women have access to induced abortions (within gestational limits).
Induced abortion has a long history and has been facilitated by various methods including herbal abortifacients, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma, and other traditional methods. Contemporary medicine utilizes medications and surgical procedures to induce abortion. The legality, prevalence, cultural and religious status of abortion vary substantially around the world. Its legality can depend on specific conditions such as incest, rape, severe fetal defects or the mother's health being at risk. In many parts of the world there is prominent and divisive public controversy over the ethical and legal issues of abortion.
Famous quotes containing the word abortion:
“... abortion opponents love little babies as long as they are in somebody elses uterus.”
—Joycelyn Elders (b. 1933)
“[The Republicans] offer ... a detailed agenda for national renewal.... [On] reducing illegitimacy ... the state will use ... funds for programs to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, to promote adoption, to establish and operate childrens group homes, to establish and operate residential group homes for unwed mothers, or for any purpose the state deems appropriate. None of the taxpayer funds may be used for abortion services or abortion counseling.”
—Newt Gingrich (b. 1943)
“It is always the moralists who do the most harm. Abortion is the logical outcome of civilization, only the jungle gives birth and moulders away as nature decrees. Man plans.”
—Max Frisch (19111991)