Abortion has a long history and has been induced by various methods including herbal abortifacients, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma and other traditional methods. Modern medicine utilizes medications and surgical procedures to induce abortion. The legality, prevalence, and cultural views on abortion vary substantially around the world. In many parts of the world there is a divisive public debate over the ethical and legal aspects of abortion between the pro-life and pro-choice movements. The approximate number of induced abortions performed worldwide in 2003 was 42 million, which declined from nearly 46 million in 1995. Contents
Main article: Miscarriage
Spontaneous abortion (also known as miscarriage) is the expulsion of an embryo or fetus due to accidental trauma or natural causes. Most miscarriages are due to incorrect replication of chromosomes; they can also be caused by environmental factors. 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 between 20 and 37 weeks of gestation, if it results in a live-born infant, is known as a "premature birth". When a fetus dies in utero after about 20 weeks, or during delivery, it is termed "stillborn". 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 clinically apparent miscarriage,...