Abortion - Pregnancy

What is Abortion?

Abortion meaning is the expulsion of a fetus from the uterus. This expulsion is done before the fetus has reached the stage of viability. The pregnancy abortion period in human beings is usually around the twentieth week of gestation. Abortion meaning is the same as miscarriage meaning in the case of spontaneous abortion. The main difference between miscarriage vs abortion is that abortion is the operation of the expulsion of a fetus from the uterus which can be either purposeful or accidental whereas a miscarriage is an accidental abortion. Under certain scenarios, pregnancy abortion is also brought purposefully. In such cases, abortion is known as induced abortion. 


Reasons for Abortion

Disease, trauma, genetic defects or biochemical incompatibility of mother and fetus are some of the reasons that cause accidental abortion or miscarriage. Sometimes, the fetus dies in the uterus but is failed to be removed from the uterus, in which case it is known as missed abortion. Other four main reasons for which induced abortions are carried out are: for preserving the life and both physical and mental well-being of the mother, prevention of the complete pregnancy period arising due to crimes such as rape and incidents such as incest, prevention of the birth of a child having serious deformity, mental deficiency, or genetic abnormality, or the prevention of a birth of a child due to social or economic reasons like a very young age of the female carrying the fetus or strained resources of the family. Some of these reasons for pregnancy abortion are justifiable like when abortion is necessary for the protection of the female’s life or pregnancy arising due to crimes such as rape. 


How is Abortion Done? or How to Terminate Pregnancy?

The pregnant definition is the development of a young fetus inside a woman or female animal. As mentioned above pregnancy abortion meaning is the termination of pregnancy by the expulsion of the fetus from the uterus of a female. Numerous medical abortion methods entail how is abortion done. Abortion in first trimester of pregnancy that is up to 12 weeks after conception, is generally carried out by endometrial spiration, caution or curettage. To remove the fetus from the uterus by endometrial aspiration, a thin and flexible tube is inserted up the cervical canal (neck of the womb) and then the lining of the uterus is sucked out by means of an electric pump. 


Another such abortion procedure is the dilatation and evacuation or the suction/vacuum curettage. The method for how to abort pregnancy using this method states that the cervical canal is enlarged by insertion of a series of metal dilators under the effect of anaesthesia, following which the rigid suction tube is inserted into the uterus for evacuating the contents. Usually, when a thin metal tool known as the curette is used in place of suction to remove the contents uterus, the procedure is called dilatation and curettage but when with dilatation both evacuation and curettage can be used up until the 16th week of pregnancy.


In the late 1920s, a drug was developed, known as RU 486 or mifepristone, which is closely related to the contraceptive hormone - norethindrone. It usually works by blocking the progesterone hormone which is needed for the development of the fertilized egg. When this medication is taken within a few weeks of conception, it aborts the fetus by triggering the menstrual cycle thus flushing out the fertilized egg from the uterus.  


Uterine contractions in the 12th and 19th weeks of pregnancy are triggered by injection of saline solutions or administration of prostaglandins but injection of such substances can cause severe side effects. To carry out pregnancy abortion during the second trimester or later, hysterotomy is used for surgically removing the fetus from the uterus. But an important thing to note is that the more advanced the stage of pregnancy the greater the risk of female mortality or serious complications following an abortion or even in cases fulfilling miscarriage meaning.


Ethical Concerns of Abortion

Abortion definition although scientific in nature, has multiple viewpoints in the context of social issues with different opinions of theologians, philosophers and legislators. Especially in a culture like India, certain old-age norms have a negative hysteria around abortion. Also, abortion is a critical issue in countries where there are gender disparity and societies following a patriarchal structure where a boy child is more valuable socially than a girl child. Hence, this gives rise to immense human rights viewpoints and legislative contexts. 


Abortion used to be a common and socially accepted practice of family planning or birth control in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Although, condemnation of abortion was a norm established by many theologians such as the Christian theologians the applicability of law towards abortion being a criminal act only grew commonly after the 19th century. In the 20th century, such sanctions were modified and applied by various countries. Examples of such applications include the application in 1920 in the Soviet Union, Scandinavian countries in the 1930s and Japan and other European countries in the 1950s. Certain examples of intensifying abortions include late 20th century China, where abortion was used on large scale for population control. In the early 21st century some jurisdictions such as the Roman Catholic populations like Portugal and Mexico City decriminalized abortion even when there was strong opposition from the church. On the other hand, Nicaragua increased the restrictions on abortion methods.


Intense public debates on the issue have been triggered by the public which although can give directions, can cause difficulties for the political institutions in making the laws regarding abortion. Opponents of abortions, with an exception on the life of the mother, argue that there can be no rational basis for the distinction between the fetus and a newborn infant. Each of the two is dependent and a potential member of the society and possesses a degree of humanity. While the ones who support abortion say that it should be regulated and state that the woman herself rather than the state or the society, has the right to manage the pregnancy and that when allowed within legal parameters it is still safe whereas in illegal cases it is dangerous if not deadly. Therefore, it is an ongoing debate with different sides holding different ethical concerns regarding abortion. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Abortion and How is Abortion Done?

Ans: Abortion is the expulsion of the fetus from the uterus of a female. This event can either be carried out intentionally or accidentally. When abortion occurs accidentally it is known as a miscarriage. But when abortion is carried out purposefully it is known as induced abortion. Induced abortion is usually carried out by medical practitioners using medical instrumentation or in some cases using drugs to effectively expel the fetus from the uterus. 

2. Are Abortions Illegal Now?

Ans: The ethical concerns of abortions have many polarized views in different societies and countries around the world. Where in many countries like Nicaragua the restriction on abortion methods are increased and abortions are illegal in many countries, there are countries like Portugal and Mexico city, where it is legal. The context for the legality of abortion is the choice of the mother. In countries where it is illegal, it may be performed in cases when pregnancy is life-threatening for the mother. 

Students Also Read