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Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal of the embryo or foetus from the uterus. It is carried out differently depending on how far along the pregnancy is.

Abortion in the first nine weeks of the pregnancy is carried out by the mother taking a pill (mifepristone) and 36 to 48 hours later, a tablet (prostaglandin) is taken. These end the pregnancy in the following four hours. It feels like a heavy period.

Abortions up to 15 weeks of the pregnancy are carried out by vacuum aspiration. The woman is given either general or local anaesthetic. It is carried out through the vagina and takes 5-10 minutes. The cervix is stretched to allow a tube to go through into the womb. Once the tube is inserted, the foetus is removed by suction.

Abortion at 15-19 weeks is done by surgery. The cervix is opened using 3-4 osmotic dilators. Once the cervix is dilated and the foetus is sucked out. It takes 10-30 minutes but cramping will be severe.

Abortion carried out between 20-24 weeks can be done two ways, surgically or medically induced. The surgical option has two stages, stage one stops the heartbeat of the foetus and softens the cervix. Stage two is carried out the next day; it involves the foetus and surrounding tissue being removed. Both stages require general anaesthetic. The medically induced pregnancy is carried out by prostaglandin is injected into the uterus, making it contract strongly, the contractions can last up to 12 hours. The woman would remain awake during the procedure.

There are many reasons for and against abortion.

The arguments against abortion are: no civilized society permits someone to intentionally harm or kill another without punishment, so abortion should be no different. An abortion can lead to medical complications later in life, these include the risk of ectopic pregnancies, the chance of miscarriage and pelvic inflammatory disease increases. Abortion can cause psychological pain and stress. In the case of rape, the woman can get medical care to prevent her from getting pregnant; abortion punishes the un-born child who didn't commit the crime. Abortion is mainly used by young people who are too young to know what they are doing and that can lead to life-long regret. There is another option, adoption. There are many couples who are unable to medically have a baby and would want to adopt.

The reasons for abortion are: The baby should have love and care and sometimes that is unavailable so abortion should be allowed if the baby isn't going to be loved. A baby with a disability may have a poor quality of life if it is born. A family might be too poor to look after another person. Also, it's the mother's body so it should be the mother's choice. Most abortions are carried out on teenagers as they didn't know



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