Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 5-7


  • Lacy AllenAffiliated withClinical Psychology, Floride Institute of Technology Email author 


Abort; Dilation and Evacuation (D&​E); Miscarriage; Termination


(1) The spontaneous or induced termination of pregnancy after conception. (2) To miscarry a nonviable fetus [1].


An abortion is a legal, safe, and effective medical method to stop or interrupt the growth and development of a fetus. Even though abortion is a legal medical procedure, the availability of services has been under political and ethical debate for quite some time [5]. In fact, the availability of abortion services depends on federal and state policies. However, in the United States, abortion has not always been under ethical and political debate. As a matter of fact, up until the second half of the nineteenth century, abortion was not viewed as morally wrong if it was performed before 4–5 months of pregnancy. During the second half of the nineteenth century, abortion was preformed quite frequently using drugs, special potions, and techniques espoused by popular medical guides. Additional ...

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