Abortion Methods

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Sociology ・APA ・11 Sources

Abortion has been a highly contentious subject in recent years. It is the act of ending a pregnancy before the birth of a child, resulting in an embryo or fetus (Cunningham, Leveno, & Bloom, 2010). Pregnancies are aborted for various causes, including unintended pregnancy, a change of job or other inconvenient circumstances, risks to fetal or maternal health, and multiple pregnancies. The decision to terminate or not abort a pregnancy should be taken only after considering the reasons. Abortion is a form of birth control, as shown by medical, philosophical, and legal support for professional abortion services.

Abortion methods

Abortion is through medical or surgical methods in the current day(Kulier, et al., 2011). Medical means include the use of prostaglandin analogs such as misoprostol. A combination of mifepristone (an antiprogesterone) and a prostaglandin is a safe and widely used technique, useful during the first and second trimester(Kulier, et al., 2011). Other combinations include methotrexate and misoprostol combinations(Kulier, et al., 2011).

Surgical abortion

Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) involves manual suction of uterine contents by pressure employing a syringe. Electric vacuum aspiration (EVA) makes use of an electrically powered pump. Dilation and curettage (D&C) method is a procedure utilized for several reasons such as examining uterine lining, investigation abnormal bleeding. Curettage refers to cleaning of uterine walls by use of a curette. Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is a procedure that includes widening the cervix and evacuating the fetus using surgical apparatus and suction techniques. Intact dilation and extraction (IDX) Includes decompressing the fetal head and then extracting the dead fetus. Labor induction abortion includes inducing labor and then causing fetal death if need be, and is rare in the United States(World Health Organization, 2008).

Reasons for abortion

Personal preference issues include postponing childbearing to a more convenient time in a marriage, unpreparedness to start a family, poverty, situations where pregnancy is undesirable circumstances such as rape or incest. Societal reasons include preference of a particular sex or race, avoiding single-motherhood, disability in the child, lack of contraception, population control such as in China. Maternal and fetal health if threatened may cause one to resort to abortion(The Guttmacher Institute, 2012)(Bankole, Singh, & Haas, 1998).


When done legally, abortion is among the most secure medical processes in first world nations(Grimes, et al., 2006)(Raymond, Grossman, Weaver, Toti, & Winikoff, 2014). When done safely within the law, it does not heighten the risk of mental and physical complications. Safe and legal abortions are recommendable by the World Health Organization (WHO). Unsafe abortions are those procedures performed by unqualified personnel, with unsafe apparatus, or in unhygienic conditions. The threat of death during abortion rises with gestational age.

Women are encouraged to get abortions in recognized facilities and under the care of qualified medical personnel.

Important statistics

An estimated 56 million abortions are done worldwide each year and a little under half of that unsafely (Sedgh, 2016). Abortion rates have decreased in recent decades, as access to family planning has increased. By the year 2008, 40% of women in the world could legally access abortion limitlessly (Culwell, Vekemans, U, & M, 2010).


Abortion has been present even in ancient history. In the past, it was performed by use of medicine, sharp objects, manual force and other techniques. China, ancient Egypt, Roman Empire. Arbotificent herbs have been found, use of sharpened tools, application of manual pressure on the abdomen, and more methods have been discovered to have been applied. It is widely prohibited in Christian and Islamic faith, among other religions.


Different countries have different laws regarding abortion. In some areas, it is only legal following specific conditions including rape, fetal medical complications, and risk to the mother's wellbeing, incest, and poverty. Numerous ethical, moral and juridical debates surround the situation. Those that oppose abortion claim term it as murder, while those who support it argue that a woman can rightfully decide what do with her body as she pleases. Countries that allow abortion have different time limits as to the lateness with which a pregnancy is terminated (Culwell, Vekemans, U, & M, 2010).

Types: induced and spontaneous

Over a third of all pregnancy in the world are inadvertent, and a fifth end up being aborted. Most people abort pregnancies due to cases where it is accidental.

Induced abortions are done either as therapeutic or elective procedures. Therapeutically, abortions are performed to save the lives of pregnant women or prevent physical or mental illness of the woman. Multiple pregnancies may also call for abortion to reduce deaths.

Spontaneous abortions, also known as miscarriages, are accidental removals of the fetus or embryo earlier than the 24th week of pregnancy. Most common causes of spontaneous abortion include chromosomal anomalies, vascular diseases like lupus, hormonal complexities, trauma, and stress(Sedgh, 2016).

Society and culture

Abortion has sparked serious ethical, moral and legal debates. Debates supporting abortion argue that women should be left to decide on whether to have their pregnancies to term or abort them by their will. To those against abortion, the fetus is considered as a human being with a right to life. Termination of gestation is seen as murder to them(Farrell, 2010). Therapeutic abortion is however widely accepted(WMA, 2015).


Abortion is spontaneous or induced. The term ‘abortion' is often used to refer to induced abortion(Cunningham, Leveno, & Bloom, 2010). Various techniques are used to abort pregnancies, depending on safety, the age of the gestation, available facility, and other elements. Opinions are diverse on the legality and the extent of the legality of abortion in various countries and states. It remains one of the most divisive causes of debate due to moral, religious, and ethical reasons.


Bankole, A., Singh, S., & Haas, T. (1998). Reasons why women have induced abortions: Evidence from 27 countries. International Family Planning Perspectives, 117-127; 152.

Culwell, K., Vekemans, M., U, d. S., & M, H. (2010). Critical gaps in universal access to reproductive health: Contraception and prevention of unsafe abortion. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, s13-16.

Cunningham, F., Leveno, K., & Bloom, S. (2010). Williams Obstetrics. McGraw-Hill Medical.

Farrell, C. (2010). Abortion Debate. ABDO Publishing Company.

Grimes, D., Benson, J., Singh, S., Romero, M., Ganatara, B., Okonofua, F., & Shah, I. (2006). Unsafe abortion: The preventable pandemic. The Lancet, 1908-1919.

Kulier, R., Kapp, N., Gulmezoglu, A., Hofmeyr, G., Cheng, L., & Campana, A. (2011). Medical methods for first trimester abortions. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Raymond, E., Grossman, D., Weaver, M., Toti, S., & Winikoff, b. (2014). Mortality of induced abortion, other outpatient surgical procedures and common activities in the United States. Contraception.

Sedgh, G. e. (2016). Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014. The Lancet, 258-267.

The Guttmacher Institute. (2012, April 4). The Limitations of US Statistics of Abortion. Retrieved from Issues in Brief.

WMA. (2015). Declaration on Therapeutic Abortion. WMA.

World Health Organization. (2008). Dilation and curettage. Managing Complications of Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Guide for Midwives and Doctors.

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