Though, strictly speaking, induced abortion is not to be considered as a method of contraception, it needs to be considered in the context of family planning, because the need to terminate an unwanted pregnancy arises only when contraceptive measures have not been used at all or have not been correctly used.
Abortion means the expulsion of the fruit of conception before the twenty-eight week of gestation, when the foetus is not viable, that is, when the foetus is not capable of independent existence outside its mother. Abortion may be either spontaneous (accidental) or induced.
Several countries today have laws which may be considered liberal with respect to induced abortion. The position varies from country to country.
It is available, virtually for the asking, in the U.S.S.R. and India, where the law is liberal enough to encompass most of the conditions under which a woman would seek abortion.
The choice of the technique for terminating a pregnancy is influenced primarily by the duration of the pregnancy, the size of the uterus and the general physical condition of the woman.
The methods of conventional curettage or vacuum aspiration are preferred prior to the twelfth week of pregnancy, after which other methods, involving either instillation of hypertonic solutions or abdominal hysterectomy, are preferred.