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Abortion: By the numbers

Abortion: By the numbers
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: January 21, 2013
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KEY TERMS

• Abortion: A procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed physician or someone acting under the supervision of a licensed physician.

• Legal definition: Oklahoma law defines abortion as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device intentionally to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, to remove an ectopic pregnancy, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous miscarriage, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant female or her unborn child.”

• Medical abortion: The use of certain medications to end a pregnancy. Drugs used include mifepristone and misoprostol.

• Surgical abortion: Generally, uses a vacuum to remove the fetus and related material from a woman's uterus, or womb. The procedure is usually done six weeks after the woman's last menstrual period.

• Emergency contraception: A contraception pill that a woman can take generally for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent or delay an egg from releasing from her ovaries.

Sources: The Mayo Clinic; Princeton University; National Institutes of Health; Medline Plus; Oklahoma State Department of Health; Oklahoma State Courts Network.