Abortion: a public health issue
Abortion has always been an emotive subject. Sahaya Josephine explores the facts rather than the ethics
- By: Sahaya Josephine
Abortion can be either spontaneous or induced, the former is often referred to as miscarriage and the latter as termination or, less frequently, abortion. Termination of pregnancy or induced abortion applies to any pregnancy terminated at less than 24 weeks (Britain) or under 500 g (World Health Organization).1
Historical data show that induced termination of pregnancy has been performed since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.2 In Britain, abortion was illegal in the 19th century and a significant number of women were suffering and dying as a result of illegal abortions. However, this is still sadly the case in developing countries where healthcare services are inadequate or poorly resourced and inaccessible.
The 1967 Abortion Act was introduced in Britain (not Northern Ireland) to change the situation and took effect on 27 April 1968. This was amended in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which changed the