Induced abortion is the intentional ending of a pregnancy by surgery or drugs.
A pregnancy may be ended by surgically removing the contents of the uterus or by taking certain drugs.
Complications are uncommon when an abortion is done by a trained health care practitioner in a hospital or clinic.
Worldwide, the status of abortion varies from being legally banned to being available on request. About two thirds of women in the world have access to legal abortion. In the United States, elective abortion (abortion initiated by personal choice) is legal during the 1st trimester (up to 12 weeks). After 12 weeks, whether elective abortion is legal varies from state to state. In the United States, about 50% of pregnancies are unintended, and about 40% of them are ended by elective abortion, making it one of the most common surgical procedures done.
In countries where abortion is legal, abortion is usually safe, and complications are rare. Worldwide, about 13% of deaths in pregnant women are due to abortion. Most of these deaths occur in countries where abortion is illegal.
On the day of the abortion and afterward, women are given antibiotics that are effective against microorganisms that can cause infections in the reproductive tract.
Contraception can be started immediately after an abortion.