It is often difficult for women to find any objective information about abortion because of the passionate controversy surrounding it. Abortion, however, is a much more complex subject than just pro-life or pro-choice. Some abortions are necessary for the health and safety of the mother, other times because of genetic problems with the fetus. Regardless of reason, all the facts still need to be considered in the case of abortion.
Within the medical community, abortion can denote many things. A spontaneous abortion, commonly referred to as a miscarriage, occurs when trauma inadvertently effects the fetus; the body naturally expels the pregnancy. This can also occur when the fetus has severe genetic problems or disease.
Induced abortion refers to abortions that are done consciously by medical means. This type of abortion is separated into two categories: therapeutic abortion and elective abortion. Therapeutic abortions occur when the mother’s health is at risk and the pregnancy must be terminated; a therapeutic abortion may also be the best option when fetus has a severe genetic abnormality that may inhibit development or even cause death. Another reason for therapeutic abortion is in the case of multiple births; sometimes the number of births may have to be reduced to preserve the mother’s own health.
The last category is elective abortion; this is the procedure often giving all of the others a bad rap. Elective abortion is done for personal reasons of the mother, and is the procedure surrounded by all of the controversy and scrutiny. There are three methods used in the case of an elective abortion: surgical, chemical, and herbal. While herbal isn’t often used anymore in the United States, it is most popularly associated with folk medicine or the abortions of times passed before Cytotec Bolivia it was legalized. Historically, herbs like black cohosh, pennyroyal, and tansy were used to expel the fetus from the body, although they are very dangerous and sometimes lethal.
Surgery is often the most popular method chosen for abortion and it depends on the stage of pregnancy during the procedure. In the first trimester a Manual Vacuum Aspiration, Electric Vacuum Aspiration, or Dilation and Curettage is performed. During the second trimester Dilation and Evacuation can be used. Also available during the second trimester are induced miscarriages where drugs are injected in the amniotic fluid, Intact Dilation and Extraction, or Hysterectomy abortions.
Chemical abortions are also an option that can be discussed with the doctor. Drugs such as methotrexate or mifepristone are used followed with prostaglandin and misoprostol if in the United States or gemeprost if in the United Kingdom or Sweden.
Regardless of the method chosen or the reason for which to terminate pregnancy, it’s important to remember the history of this medical procedure before it was legalized in the Roe vs. Wade case. Desperate women used knitting needles and hangers to puncture the uterus causing massive trauma and even death to themselves to induce miscarriage. It’s important that all of the facts and options be considered when considering abortion.