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Abortion

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Abortion can be performed on a pregnant woman to save her life, to terminate the pregnancy of a fetus that would be born with serious congenial birth defects, to selectively eliminate the number of fetuses a woman is carrying, to preserve a woman’s mental health, and it can happen spontaneously. The world ratio of abortions is 26 terminated pregnancies out of every 100 known pregnancies. That is just over ¼ of the annual known pregnancies every year that end in therapeutic or elective abortions.

ABORTION FACTS

Spontaneous abortions are abortions that the body induces due to rejection of the fetus for some reason. This is most often due to a deformity or unsurvivable malformation the fetus has developed, or it can occur when there is something medically wrong with the woman carrying the fetus. However, a very high percentage of pregnancies result in spontaneous abortion prior to the eight week gestational period. Eight weeks is a common time when women discover their pregnancy, and thus many women are unaware that their body has rejected a fetus.

Elective or therapeutic abortions can be performed in some cases as late as 30 weeks. From early pregnancy until the beginning of the second trimester, this is known as elective abortion. From the middle of the second trimester until the 30th week, this is known as partial birth abortion. It is illegal in the United States to abort a fetus after the 30th week, and in some states, earlier than that.

ABORTION SIDE EFFECTS

Abortions do carry a certain amount of risk. Abortions performed in the first trimester by a certified physician, nurse, mid-wife, or other health care professional are considered safer than carrying a fetus to term. Abortions performed in the second trimester are more dangerous, but are still considered safer than carrying an at risk fetus to term. Risks associated with abortions include lacerations of the bowel, bladder, or uterus, sterility, septic shock, and death. Some health care practitioners use general anesthesia, which has its own share of risks such as heart problems and death. This allows health care practitioners to remove the fetus without fear of the patient moving which can cause lacerations or accidental injury. Other health care practitioners do not feel that the risks associated with general anesthesia are worth the possible complications and use local anesthesia. This way the patient can discuss their physical condition and alert them to potential problems during the procedure.
Abortion
Image: Abortion


The age of gestation often determines the exact procedure used in an abortion. Abortions performed before the end of the first trimester are often done with suction aspiration. This method can be used very early and may or may not require dilation of the cervix. Any abortion performed after eight to twelve weeks requires cervical dilation.

Between fifteen and twenty six weeks, most abortions are performed using a method known as Suction Termination of Pregnancy, also called the STOP procedure. This method is used to dilate the cervix and use any one of a number of techniques to remove the fetus from the body.

Dilation and curettage is used when suction methods of abortion are unavailable or can not be used for other reasons, such as a progressed pregnancy or the need to check for problems within the uterine lining such as bleeding, cysts, and other uterine issues.


Abortions are a topic of great debate in the United States, and often abortion clinics are violated by protestors, making it difficult for a young woman to enter the building. Most physicians recommend counseling both before and after an abortion to avoid any emotional complications. Women who believe there won’t be emotional complications are at the greatest risk for having them. Terminating a pregnancy for any reason, including rape and incest, can lead to feelings of loss, worthlessness, hopelessness, and depression. These feelings are normal and valid and should be examined by a mental health professional in order to help a young woman through the process. Abortions are a physical and mental trauma and require follow up by both a physician and a mental health professional regardless of the reason for the termination of the pregnancy. Undermining this need is likely to result in emotional problems later if not right away.
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