Abortion is the willful premature ending of a pregnancy. The word usually is used to describe a voluntary case, while involuntary occurrences are called miscarriages. Abortion is a controversial subject and because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to find reliable abortion information. Abortion statistics paint a grim picture:
- 78 percent of all abortions take place in developing countries.
- 52 percent of all abortions are given to women who are below the age of 25.
- Although more white women have abortions (60 percent of all cases), black women are three times more likely to receive an abortion in their lives.
Currently, there are various methods of abortion that are used. There is the traditional method of abortion is abortion surgery. There are also abortion pills that cause a woman to have an artificially produced miscarriage. Most often, surgical methods of abortion are used. There are quite a few different types of surgical techniques used for abortions, such as:
- Suction aspiration
- Dilation and curettage
- Dilatation and evacuation
- Saline injections
- Prostaglandin chemical abortion
- Partial birth abortion
Suction aspiration is the most common method of abortion used during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is performed with a vacuum machine that is inserted into the womb that sucks out the fetus and placenta. The dilation and curettage method is similar to the vacuum method, but adds a knife which is used to aid the process.
Abortion was illegal in the United States and most of the rest of the world up until the late ’60s and ’70s. The case which made the process legal in the U.S. was the famous Roe v. Wade trial. Before abortion was legal, it was still performed outside of the medical establishment to some extent. Few documents remain to inform the public about how many there actually were, as the process was usually only promoted by word of mouth and few records were kept.
Margaret Sanger was largely responsible for the legalization of abortion and was the founder of Planned Parenthood, the most popular abortion clinic. She was a militant eugenicist who remains a controversial figure even today. There exist many other abortion clinics as well as standard hospitals that perform the operation.