A Reproductive Lexicon


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Abortion is the termination of a human pregnancy by removal of the fetus or embryo from the womb before it has acquired the ability to survive on its own. There are two types of abortion: spontaneous and induced. A spontaneous abortion, often called a miscarriage, occurs naturally as the result of genetic, developmental, or physiological problems developed during pregnancy. An induced abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by medical or surgical methods. An induced abortion can be either therapeutic or elective. Therapeutic abortions are performed when continued pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. Elective abortions are performed at the mother’s request for other reasons.