Abortion has long been a contentious issue in modern medical ethics (Patil, Dode, & Ahirrao, 2014). Abortion, according to Cunningham, Leveno, and Bloom (2010), is the termination of a pregnancy before delivery that results in the death of the fetus or embryo. Abortion is performed for various reasons, including a change of employment, an unplanned pregnancy, fetal or maternal illness, or having multiple pregnancies. In this regard, a variety of factors must be weighed to include a basis for the termination. Abortion Methods
In the current context, abortion is achieved through surgical or medical methods. The medical technique includes the utilization of prostaglandin analogs like misoprostol. Additionally, combining prostaglandin and mifepristone anti-progesterone makes it a safe practice and a broadly used method that is imperative in first and second trimesters. Usage of misoprostol and methotrexate combinations is also used in terminating pregnancies as depicted by Kulier et al. (2010).

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion incorporates vacuum aspiration, which involves manual evacuation aspiration and electrical vacuum evacuation (WHO, 2014). Manual vacuum evacuation incorporates the use of a syringe to exert pressure in the suction of the uterine contents whereas electric vacuum aspiration ascribes to an electric powered pump to exert the required pressure. Similarly, dilation and curettage is a methodology to examine the uterine lining, and investigate abnormal bleeding; curettage is the cleaning of the walls of uterine by a curette while dilation and evacuation involves cervical widening and subsequent evacuation of the fetus by the help of surgical apparatus and techniques. On the other hand, intact dilation and extraction encompasses the decompression of the fetal heads and extracting dead foetuses. Labor induction abortion includes the initiation of labor and causing the fetal death (WHO, 2008).

Reasons for Abortion?

Biggs, Gould, and Foster (2014) connote three main reasons for abortion including personal preferences, societal influences, and fetal and maternal health. The personal preferences include the urge to postpone childbearing to convenient times, poverty, incest or rape, and unpreparedness to begin a family. The societal causes detail preferences for specific race or sex, lack of contraception, avoiding single-motherhood, disability in the children, and population control (Bankole, Singh, & Haas, 1998); further, the fetal and maternal ill-health can force individuals to practice abortion.


Legal abortion has been established as a secure medical process in the developed nations (Grimes at al., 2006). Safe and legal abortion declines the risks of complication related to physical and mental health; besides, it is recommended by the WHO. Unsafe abortion encompasses the procedures by unqualified personnel using unsafe apparatus and operating in conditions that are unhygienic. Death accentuates with gestational age during abortion.

Abortions should be conducted in recognized healthcare facilities by qualified medical practitioners Raymong, Grossman, Weaver, Toti, & Winikoff, 2014).

Important Statistics

Sedgh et al. (2016) state that there are 56 million estimated abortions in the world with about half done unsafely. Due to increased family planning services, the rates of abortions have declined in the recent epochs; by 2008, the abortion rate was 28 women out of 1000 who are aged 15-44 years (Lim & Singh, 2014). About 40% of the women had legal access to limitless abortion by 2008 as indicated by Culwell, Vekemans, de Silva, Hurwitz, and Crane (2010).


Ancient history recorded the act of abortion (McCormick, 2015). It was conducted by sharp objects, medicines, manual force and other methods. For instance, arbotificent herbs, sharpened tools, and use of manual pressure on the women’s abdomen have been recognized as ancient techniques. However, abortion is not advocated by Islamic, Christian, and other religious values.


The nations in the world have instituted varied laws pertinent to abortion. Some countries allow abortions based on particular conditions such as rape, risk of mother’s wellbeing, pregnancy complications, poverty, and incest. However, there are numerous moral, ethical, and judicial issues that surround the abortion debate. The proponents claim that women have rights and can do anything they wish to their bodies while the opponents assert that abortion is outright murder. Furthermore, those nations that permit abortion give limits to the lateness of execution regarding pregnancy terminations as denoted by Culwell et al. (2010).

Types of Abortion: Spontaneous and Induced

More than one-third of pregnancies in the globe are inadvertent while a fifth of these pregnancies undergo abortion. Additionally, more pregnancies are aborted due to accidental happenings.

With regard to induced abortions, they are either elective or therapeutic. In case of therapeutic, abortions are meant to save lives or avoid physical and mental illnesses. Moreover, multiple pregnancies also call for abortion to curb unwarranted deaths.

Spontaneous abortion or miscarriages are often accidental removal of embryos or foetuses before pregnancy reaches 24 weeks. This results due to chromosomal anomalies and vascular diseases such as trauma, stress, lupus, and hormonal complications (Sedgh et al., 2016).

Society and Culture

Abortion has attracted staid debates cognizant of the moral, ethical, and legal aspects. The proponents of abortion allude that women should be allowed to decide the course of their lives regarding abortion. The opponents, however, suggest that life arises at conception; hence, terminating pregnancy equals murder, which is against the right to live (Farrell, 2010). However, due to therapeutic reasons, abortion is accepted across several nations (WMA, 2015).

Sociological Aspects in Light of Abortion


The economic and political controllers have taken severe steps to privatize the issue of abortion for personal gains.

Neoliberalism and Globalization

The neoliberalism ideologies have it that people should be left free to hold to that which they; in fact, if abortion is good to them, then they should be left to do that which pleases them. Globalization is also pushing the nations to adopt policies that conform towards the global intentions.

Role of the State

The state has a role to play in empowering the populace to eradicate poverty, offer education, enhance social integration, and provide work for all the people to reduce the causes of abortion (Gree, 2013).

Social construction

The society should be in a position to showcase the aspect of abortion as not warranted; however, as the laws regulate, there are those circumstances that abortion should be allowed such as under medical advice relating to the mothers’ wellbeing.


Abortion is either induced; however, abortion is often connoted as being induced (Cunningham et al. 2010). There are several methodologies that are used in executing abortion regarding the safety, age of the pregnancy, and availability of the facilities. However, diverse opinions exist on the legal grounds to support abortion in varied countries. Abortion remains the most divisive cause of public debate in the religious, moral, legal, and ethical situations.


Bankole, A.. Singh. S., & Haas, T. (1998). Reasons why women have induced abortions: Evidence from 27 countries. International Family Planning Perspectives, 24(3), 117-127; 152

Biggs, M.A., Gould, H., & Foster, D.G. (2013). Women are encouraged to get abortions in recognized facilities. BMC Women’s Health, 13(29), 1-13.

Culwell, K. R., Vekemans, M., Upeka de Silva, U., Hurwitz, M., & Crane, B. B. (2010). Critical gaps in universal access to reproductive health: Contraception and prevention of unsafe abortion. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 110, s13-16.

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

Farrell, C. (2010). Abortion debate. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Publishing Company.

Green, D. (2013). The role of the state in empowering poor and excluded groups and individuals. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/egms/docs/2013/EmpowermentPolicies/Background%20Paper.pdf

Grimes, D., Benson, J., Singh, S., Romero, M., Ganatara, B., Okonofua, F., et al. (2006). Unsafe abortion: The preventable pandemic. The Mancet, 368(9550), 1908-1919. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69481-6

Kulier, R., Kapp, N., Gulmezoglu, A., Hofmeyr, G., Cheng, L., & Campana, A. (2011). Medical methods for first trimester abortions. Cochrane Database of Systematic reviews, 11, CD002855. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002855.pub4

Lim, L.M., & Singh, K. (2014). Women are encouraged to get abortions in recognized facilities. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 4, 924-929.

Mccormick, L. (2015). No sense of wrongdoing: Abortion in Belfast 1917-1967. Journal of Social History, 49(1), 125. doi:10.1093/jsh/shv002

Patil, A.B., Dode, P., & Ahirrao, A. (2014). Medical ethics in abortion. Indian Journal of Clinical Practice, 25(6), 544-548.

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, 90(5), 476-9. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2014.07.012

Sedgh, G.E. (2016). Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014. Lancet, 388(10041):258-67. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30380-4

The Guttmacher Institute. (2012, April 4). The limitations of US statistics of abortion. Retrieved from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib14.pdf

WMA. (2015). Declaration of therapeutic abortion. Retrieved from http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/a1/

World Health Organization (WHO). (2014). Clinical practice handbook for safe abortion. Geneva, Switzerland: Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization.

World Health Organization. (2008). Managing complications of pregnancy and childbirth: A guide of midwives and doctors. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43972/1/9241545879_eng.pdf

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