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Abortion is a controversial and sensitive topic. We believe that the following honest discussion will help answer questions and clarify misconceptions about abortion. As you read this guide, please keep in mind that our perspective is purely medical – not political.
Abortion is a subject wrought with political and religious controversy. This guide in no way aims to be political in its discussion, but it will briefly outline the debate. Abortion is presented here as one of three options a woman has when she experiences an unplanned pregnancy: she can have the baby, put the baby up for adoption, or terminate the pregnancy with an abortion.
Abortion is a term that embraces a number of meanings. In its broadest sense, an abortion ends a pregnancy before birth. In more precise and legal language, abortion is the termination of pregnancy before viability. Viability refers to the ability of the fetus to live outside the woman’s uterus. Most experts agree that a fetus cannot survive apart from the womb prior to 20 weeks of gestation.
To understand it more fully, we classify abortions into two general groups: spontaneous and induced. A spontaneous abortion is commonly known as a “miscarriage.” In comparison, induced abortion involves some sort of medical intervention or procedure. An induced abortion may be elective or it may be performed under medical advisement.
- Abortifacients - an agent or drug which causes abortion
- Cervix -“neck” or opening to the uterus or womb
- Ectopic – pregnancies that occur outside the uterus
- Embryo - the developing human organism from two weeks after conception to the eighth week
- Fetus - the developing human organism from nine weeks after conception to birth
- Gestation - describes pregnancy or the period of development from conception to birth
- POC - (Products Of Conception) this is a technical term that describes what is expelled from the uterus following an abortion. It may include an embryo or fetus, the placental tissue, and uterine lining.
- Trimester - a pregnancy is commonly divided into three periods of three months each called trimesters
- Uterus - pear shaped female reproductive organ in which the fetus develops, also called the “womb.”