An abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death. This can occur spontaneously or accidentally as with a miscarriage, or be artificially induced by medical, surgical or other means. "Abortion" can refer to an induced procedure at any point during human pregnancy; it is sometimes medically defined as either miscarriage or induced termination before the point of viability.Throughout history, abortion has been induced by various methods and the moral and legal aspects of abortion are subject to intense debate in many parts of the world.
The incidence and reasons for induced abortion vary regionally. It has been estimated that approximately 46 million abortions are performed worldwide every year. Of these, 26 million are said to occur in places where abortion is legal; the other 20 million happen where the procedure is illegal. Some countries, such as Belgium (11.2 per 100 known pregnancies) and the Netherlands (10.6 per 100), have a low rate of induced abortion, while others like Russia (62.6 per 100) and Vietnam (43.7 per 100) have a comparatively high rate. The world ratio is 26 induced abortions per 100 known pregnancies. Spontaneous abortion
Spontaneous abortions, generally referred to as miscarriages, occur when an embryo or fetus is lost due to natural causes before the 20th week of gestation. A pregnancy that ends earlier than 37 weeks of gestation, if it results in a live-born infant, is known as a "premature birth". When a fetus dies in the uterus at some point late in gestation, beginning at about 20 weeks, or during delivery, it is termed a "stillbirth". Premature births and stillbirths are generally not considered to be miscarriages although usage of these terms can sometimes overlap.
Most miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy. Between 10% and 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, depending upon the age and health of...