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Abortion

Termination of pregnancy by removal or expulsion of embryo or fetus is called abortion.

Spontaneoustermination is called miscarriage. Induced termination is the one that is abortion. It is the outcome of unintended and unwanted pregnancy. And the abortion can be medical by medical professionals under the law or unsafe by untrained non medical people which may be against the law.About 20 – 22 million such unsafe abortions annually around the world are responsible for medical emergencies and deaths.

Types of abortion

Spontaneous Abortion or Miscarriage

An unintentional expulsion of embryo or fetus before 24th week of pregnancy is called miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. After that time it is pre mature birth in case of alive birth and stillbirth in case of dead delivery. Less than 50% pregnancy goes beyond first trimester.

Causes of miscarriage:

  • Chromosomal defect
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Infection
  • Abnormalities of uterus
  • Vascular diseases
  • Trauma
  • High age of mother
  • Previous history of abortion

Induced Abortion

Induced abortion can be:

  • Legal or illegal
  • By trained and authorized medical professional or untrained person
  • Therapeutic (on health ground of mother or child) or elective (personal choice)

Choice of procedure depends on

  • Months of pregnancy (gestational age)
  • Legal acceptance of procedure
  • Availability of procedure
  • Choice of doctor
  • Choice of person

Types of induced abortion

Medical

These are done by certain pharmaceutical products like mifepristone, prostaglandin analog, methotrexate etc. This is preferred choice in early weeks of pregnancy.

Surgical

  • Vacuum suction aspiration, manual or electric
  • Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)
  • Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E)
  • Intact Dilatation and Extraction(IDX)
  • Hysterotomy abortion

First three are for first trimester and can be done under local anesthesia whereas later two are for second trimester done under general anesthesia.

Other methods

Some traditional but unreliable methods like herbs or causing trauma by force or non surgical instruments. They have side effects and can even cause death.

How safe are abortions?

Abortions are very safe if :

  • done at appropriate time
  • done in appropriate conditions
  • done by appropriate procedure
  • done under supervision or by appropriate people (medically trained)

Complications of abortion:

Though rare but if precautions are not taken, following complications can occur:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Uterine perforation
  • Complications due to retained products

Why unsafe abortion?

It is estimated that about 20 million unsafe abortions are done annually.

It causes:

  • medical complications
  • injury
  • secondary infertility
  • possible death

Why do women opt for unsafe abortions?  Some common reasons are:

  • Non availability of legal abortion
  • Need to hide identity
  • Choice of ‘easier method’
  • Lack of availability of effective contraception

Abortion debate:

Induced abortion raises debate on spiritual, religious, political, ethical, moral, legal, medical, biological, philosophic, value system, human rights and responsibilities issues.

Those against abortion see abortion as murder and talk about Right of fetus to live as human being. Those in favor talk about Right of woman to decide about own life, own body and reproduction. Some neutral factors like risk to mother’s life also play a role. Most countries now legally favors abortion as woman’s right.

Gender based abortion:

This refers to abortion determined by gender of fetus. Termination of female fetus is more common due to desire of son as symbol of power, protection, future care and successor. It is facilitated by sonography (ultrasound) and amniocentesis.  The bad impact of this is deterioration of sex ratio between male and female in society. Most countries have agreed to eliminate discrimination against girl child and have enacted laws to prevent and ban such abortions.

Termination of pregnancy by removal or expulsion of embryo or fetus is called abortion.

Spontaneoustermination is called miscarriage. Induced termination is the one that is abortion. It is the outcome of unintended and unwanted pregnancy. And the abortion can be medical by medical professionals under the law or unsafe by untrained non medical people which may be against the law.About 20 – 22 million such unsafe abortions annually around the world are responsible for medical emergencies and deaths.

Types of abortion

Spontaneous Abortion or Miscarriage

An unintentional expulsion of embryo or fetus before 24th week of pregnancy is called miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. After that time it is pre mature birth in case of alive birth and stillbirth in case of dead delivery. Less than 50% pregnancy goes beyond first trimester.

Causes of miscarriage:

  • Chromosomal defect
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Infection
  • Abnormalities of uterus
  • Vascular diseases
  • Trauma
  • High age of mother
  • Previous history of abortion

Induced Abortion

Induced abortion can be:

  • Legal or illegal
  • By trained and authorized medical professional or untrained person
  • Therapeutic (on health ground of mother or child) or elective (personal choice)

Choice of procedure depends on

  • Months of pregnancy (gestational age)
  • Legal acceptance of procedure
  • Availability of procedure
  • Choice of doctor
  • Choice of person

Types of induced abortion

Medical

These are done by certain pharmaceutical products like mifepristone, prostaglandin analog, methotrexate etc. This is preferred choice in early weeks of pregnancy.

Surgical

  • Vacuum suction aspiration, manual or electric
  • Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)
  • Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E)
  • Intact Dilatation and Extraction(IDX)
  • Hysterotomy abortion

First three are for first trimester and can be done under local anesthesia whereas later two are for second trimester done under general anesthesia.

Other methods

Some traditional but unreliable methods like herbs or causing trauma by force or non surgical instruments. They have side effects and can even cause death.

How safe are abortions?

Abortions are very safe if :

  • done at appropriate time
  • done in appropriate conditions
  • done by appropriate procedure
  • done under supervision or by appropriate people (medically trained)

Complications of abortion:

Though rare but if precautions are not taken, following complications can occur:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Uterine perforation
  • Complications due to retained products

Why unsafe abortion?

It is estimated that about 20 million unsafe abortions are done annually.

It causes:

  • medical complications
  • injury
  • secondary infertility
  • possible death

Why do women opt for unsafe abortions?  Some common reasons are:

  • Non availability of legal abortion
  • Need to hide identity
  • Choice of ‘easier method’
  • Lack of availability of effective contraception

Abortion debate:

Induced abortion raises debate on spiritual, religious, political, ethical, moral, legal, medical, biological, philosophic, value system, human rights and responsibilities issues.

Those against abortion see abortion as murder and talk about Right of fetus to live as human being. Those in favor talk about Right of woman to decide about own life, own body and reproduction. Some neutral factors like risk to mother’s life also play a role. Most countries now legally favors abortion as woman’s right.

Gender based abortion:

This refers to abortion determined by gender of fetus. Termination of female fetus is more common due to desire of son as symbol of power, protection, future care and successor. It is facilitated by sonography (ultrasound) and amniocentesis.  The bad impact of this is deterioration of sex ratio between male and female in society. Most countries have agreed to eliminate discrimination against girl child and have enacted laws to prevent and ban such abortions.