Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo before viability. An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year, with slightly under half of those performed unsafely. Forty percent of the world's women have access to legal induced abortions .
Induced abortion has a long history and has been performed by various methods, including herbal abortifacients, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma, and other traditional methods. Contemporary medicine utilizes medications and surgical procedures. 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, a high risk of disability, 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 moral, ethical, and legal issues of abortion. Those who are against abortion generally posit that an embryo or fetus is a human with the right to life and may equate abortion with homicide, while proponents of abortion rights emphasize a woman's right to decide about matters concerning her own body.
Approximately 205 million pregnancies occur each year worldwide. Over a third are unintended and about a fifth end in induced abortion. Most abortions result from unintended pregnancies. A pregnancy can be intentionally aborted in several ways. The manner selected often depends upon the gestational age of the embryo or fetus, which increases in size as the pregnancy progresses. Specific procedures may also be selected due to legality, regional availability, and doctor or patient preference.
Reasons for procuring induced abortions are typically characterized as either therapeutic or elective. An abortion is medically referred to as a therapeutic abortion when it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman;...