Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_4


Miscarriage; Pregnancy loss


Abortion refers to the spontaneous (miscarriage, stillbirth) or induced termination of a pregnancy with expulsion of the embryo or fetus. Abortion may be induced either medically or surgically. Unsafe abortions are a major cause of maternal deaths around the world. Legalization of abortion reduces significantly the number of unsafe abortions and consequently the case-fatality rates.

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© Springer-Verlag 2008