ENG: 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 70,000 maternal deaths and 5 million hospital admissions 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, fetal defects, socioeconomic factors 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.
Reasons for abortion - When is abortion legal?
Some societies ban abortion almost completely while others permit it in certain cases.
Such societies usually lay down a maximum age after which the foetus must not be aborted, regardless of the circumstances.
At various times some of the following have been allowed in some societies:
- abortion for the sake of the mother's health - including her mental health
- abortion where a pregnancy is the result of a crime -such as crimes like rape, incest, or child abuse
- abortion where the child of the pregnancy would have an ' unacceptable quality of life' such as cases where the child would have - serious physical handicaps, serious genetic problems, serious mental defects
- abortion for social reasons, including: poverty, mother unable to cope with a child (or another child), mother being too young to cope with a child
- abortion as a matter of government policy - as a way of regulating population size, as a way of regulating groups within a population, as a way of improving the population
Most opponents of abortion agree that abortion for the sake of the mother's health can be morally acceptable if there is a real risk of serious damage to the mother.
Abortion for social reasons is usually least acceptable to opponents.