The first recorded evidence of induced abortion is from the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BC. A Chinese record documents the number ofroyal concubines who had abortions in China between the years 500 and 515 BC. According to Chinese folklore, the legendary Emperor Shennong prescribed the use of mercury to induce abortions nearly 5000 years ago. Many of the methods employed in early and primitive cultures were non-surgical. Physical activities like strenuous labor, climbing, paddling, weightlifting, or diving were a common technique.Others included the use of irritant leaves, fasting, bloodletting, pouring hot water onto the abdomen, and lying on a heated coconut shell. In primitive cultures, techniques developed through observation, adaptation of obstetrical methods, and transculturation. Archaeological discoveries indicate early surgical attempts at the extraction of a fetus; however, such methods are not believed to havebeen common, given the infrequency with which they are mentioned in ancient medical texts.
What is abortion?
Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy after conception. It allows women to put an end to their pregnancies, but involves killing the undeveloped embryo or fetus. For this reason, it is a very controversial subject in the world politics.
Supporters of abortion rightsargue that the embryo or fetus is not a person, or at least that the government has no right to ban abortion unless it can prove that an embryo or fetus is a person.
Opponents of abortion rights argue that the embryo or fetus is a person, or at least that the government has a responsibility to ban abortion until it can prove that an embryo or fetus is not a person. Although opponents of abortionoften frame their objections in religious terms, abortion is never mentioned in the Bible.
Abortions have been performed for at least 3,500 years, as evidenced by their mention in the Ebers Papyrus (ca. 1550 BCE).
Types of Abortion
Spontaneous abortion (also known as miscarriage) is the expulsion of an embryo or fetus due to accidental trauma or natural causesbefore approximately the 22nd week of gestation; the definition by gestational age varies by country. Most miscarriages are due to incorrect replication of chromosomes; they can also be caused by environmental factors.
Between 10% and 50% of pregnancies end in clinically apparent miscarriage, depending upon the age and health of the pregnant woman. Most miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy, inmost cases, they occur so early in the pregnancy that the woman is not even aware that she was pregnant.
The most common cause of spontaneous abortion during the first trimester is chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo/fetus, accounting for at least 50% of sampled early pregnancy losses. Other causes include vascular disease (such as lupus), diabetes, other hormonal problems, infection, andabnormalities of the uterus. Advancing maternal age and a patient history of previous spontaneous abortions are the two leading factors associated with a greater risk of spontaneous abortion. A spontaneous abortion can also be caused by accidental trauma; intentional trauma or stress to cause miscarriage is considered induced abortion or feticide.
A pregnancy can be intentionally abortedin many ways. The manner selected depends chiefly upon the gestational age of the embryo or fetus, which increases in size as the pregnancy progresses. Specific procedures may also be selected due to legality, regional availability, and doctor-patient preference. Reasons for procuring induced abortions are typically characterized as either therapeutic or elective. An abortion is medically...