Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term abortion is defined as an induced or spontaneous expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus of a pregnant woman. In the United States, abortion refers to a medical procedure that terminates a pregnancy, while spontaneous abortions are more commonly called miscarriages. This entry explores the procedures and political controversies of abortion and the abortion debate as generally understood in the United States. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court granted women the right to obtain “safe and legal abortions” in the landmark case, Roe v. Wade. A woman's right to abort a pregnancy was designated a right to privacy protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Under Roe v. Wade, women may seek legal abortions at any time during the first and second trimester of pregnancy, and in the third trimester (or after a fetus becomes viable) only if the life or health Roe ...