In general, abortion means the stoppage of any action
or process before it has been completed. The term is
often used in the medical community to refer to the
embryo or fetus leaving the uterus prior to the point
where it is viable (able to live in the outside world). An
embryo is a fertilized egg from the time of conception
until the 8th week of pregnancy. A fetus is a developing
human that is inside the mother from the end of the 8th
week to birth. The uterus is a hollow organ in a female's
body where the egg is implanted and the baby
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An embryo or fetus is typically assumed to be unviable at less than 20 weeks gestation
or if the weight is less than 500 grams. Premature birth is different from abortion
because it occurs after viability and prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. An abortion can
occur naturally and spontaneously or it can be performed as a purposeful medical
procedure (sometimes referred to as an artificial abortion or therapeutic abortion).

Abortion is legal in the United States. In 1973, the landmark Roe v Wade U.S. Supreme
Court decision disallowed many state and federal abortion restrictions. The court
decision ignited a national debate on abortion that is highly politicized and continues to
this day. Someone who interrupts a pregnancy is known as an abortionist.
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The terms aborticide, abortifacient, abortigenic, abortient, and
abortive all mean producing an abortion or something that produces
an abortion. Abortive also means not reaching completion (usually to
describe a disease stopping before it has fully developed or
completed its course). Abortive also means rudimentary, which
means reating to a rudiment. A rudiment is an organ or structure that
is not completely developed and b the first indication of a structure
in the course of the development of an individual. Abortus means
any product, or all products, of an abortion. Abort means to cause
an abortion but also means to stop a disease in its earliest stage or
to stop any action or process before its normal completion. Abortion
is sometimes abbreviated as AB. Abortion comes from the Latin
word “abortare” meaning “pass away.”