Abortion – Concept, types, debates and methods

We explain what abortion is and the types of abortions that exist. In addition, the debates about this practice and abortive methods.

Abortion refers to the forced termination of a pregnancy.

What is abortion?

The word abortion derives from the Latin abortus and its main meaning is to cut off the continuity of a particular activity. An example of the latter is the phrase «Abortar la operation», frequently used in activities of a military nature.

In its most common use, abortion refers to forced termination of a pregnancy. This interruption can be produced by various causes.

Spontaneous abortion

Miscarriage is when the pregnancy is terminated before 26 weeks of management. In this period of time, the fetus has not yet developed most of its organs, so it is not in a position to remain alive outside the mother’s uterus.

This type of abortion, as the name implies, occurs when the pregnancy is lost very suddenly. According to various sources, between 8% and 15% of pregnancies end the pregnancy due to spontaneous abortions, without taking into account a large number of people who have not participated in data collection.

Most of the interruptions in the gestation period occur in the first twelve weeks, spontaneously, either known or unknown. Also, in most cases no assistance or surgical action is needed to remove the fetus. Like miscarriages, induced abortions also occur within this time period (before 12 weeks)

This type of abortion can be caused by a chromosomal alteration produced by poor gamete disjunction involved in fertilization during the meiotic stage of sex cells. This leads to an alteration in the chromosome number, causing spontaneous abortions.

Recurrent miscarriage, known as AER, is the best known in clinical cases. Some epidemiological data indicate that after having undergone a spontaneous abortion (known by the letters AE), the risk of re-abortion is almost 25%Taking into account that after four spontaneous abortions, this possibility increases by 15%, that is, the new possibility of having spontaneous abortions is 40%.

Another probable cause of miscarriage can be a disturbance in an artery supplying the uterus, the uterine artery. There are also a variety of anatomical factors that can be the cause of these miscarriages. Fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis and adhesions inside the uterus are some of the causes of spontaneous abortions.

Endometriosis is a condition of the uterus, in which the endometrium (the endometrial tissue is the one that covers all surfaces, in this case the uterus in particular, and is the one that is expelled after menstruation or menstruation), grows outside its place.

It is necessary to take into account the family history, especially the mother’s conditions and the monitoring of her pregnancy in order to determine the causes of an abortion. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs greatly increase the chances that the pregnancy will be terminated.

Induced abortion

Induced abortion, according to the WHO definition, is that which results from various tactics performed on pregnant women with the aim of ending her gestation period, that is, her pregnancy. These actions or tactics can be carried out by someone other than the pregnant woman or by the mother herself.

Induced abortion laws were decriminalized in many countries, even from the first laws that began to be formulated at the beginning of the previous century. Induced abortion is decriminalized in first, second and third world countries, that is, both developed and underdeveloped.

Legal abortion

Legal abortion receives this name when performed under the decriminalized laws of the country in which it is applied. For example, in Spain it is considered legal when it is practiced with the consent of the pregnant woman and in a specialized medical center, as long as there is no risk to the health of the pregnant woman or her life, also due to violations and malformations.

Illegal abortion

Illegal or clandestine abortion is carried out against the laws of the country in which it is practiced. In general, this type of abortion is performed in very poor hygienic conditions and with little possibility of resorting to immediate professional medical assistance in case of an emergency.

Debate on abortion

Fight against abortion
Today, many countries are in the fight for legal abortion.

The debate is generated from the question When does life begin? This, legally speaking, is determined by the Constitutions of the countries and from there the regulation of the laws starts.

Those who are against this practice are, for the most part, people with strong religious convictions, claiming that life begins from conception, while doctors require a minimum of 22 weeks to consider that it is no longer a fetus and becomes a human being. Still, others argue that the fetus can only be considered human when it is born.

Nowadays many countries are in the fight for legal abortion, arguing that its correct legalization will not increase the abortion rate, but can be regulated and save lives, avoiding unsafe abortions, since the women who go to safe private clinics are those who belong to well-off social classes.

Abortion methods

Some of the most used methods are the following:

  • Suction. It is carried out through a special cannula that is inserted into the uterus, with previous application of anesthesia. It takes little time and the doctor can do it manually.
  • Scraped off. It is performed with a surgical instrument designed for the process. As the name implies, this element is used to “scrape” the uterus and perform it under total anesthesia.
  • Medicines. Depending on the number of weeks you are pregnant, your doctor will give you a dose of certain medicines.

Contraceptive methods to prevent abortion

Abortion - Contraceptive Methods
It is important to use protective methods to avoid possible illnesses.

It is important practicing safe sex to avoid reaching difficult and / or traumatic instances. However, it is also very important to remember that some of these methods do not protect the body against the possible contagion of a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS or hepatitis B, among others.

  • ‘Day After’ Pill
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Tubal ligation
  • Vasectomy
  • Monthly and quarterly injectables
  • IUD
  • Condom or condom, either female or male
  • Diaphragm

Continue in: Contraceptive methods.