Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion)

  • Swati JhaEmail author
  • Lesley Regan


Abortion is the spontaneous or induced termination of pregnancy. Abortion in England, Scotland and Wales is regulated by the Abortion Act 1967. All abortions other than those performed as an emergency require approval by two registered medical practitioners and must be performed in facilities registered for this purpose. Prior to proceeding with an abortion it is imperative that an intrauterine pregnancy be confirmed to avoid missing an ectopic pregnancy. Women should be informed that there is a small risk of failure to end the pregnancy and a risk of further intervention after the initial treatment. For pregnancy less than 14 weeks either a surgical or medical abortion is a feasible option whereas after 14 weeks, a medical termination would be advisable.


Abortion Termination of pregnancy Abortion Act Uterine perforation Incomplete abortion Retained products of conception 


  1. 1.
    Abortion Act 1967. London: HMSO; 1967. Accessed 25 Oct 2017.
  2. 2.
    Scotland Act 2016. London: HMSO; 2016. Accessed 25 Oct 2017.
  3. 3.
    Department of Health. Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2016. Statistical Bulletin June 2017. London: DH; 2017.Google Scholar
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    Decriminalisation of abortion: a discussion paper from the BMA; 2017. p 16. Accessed 25 Oct 2017.Google Scholar
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    Best practice in comprehensive post abortion care. Paper No 3. RCOG; 2016.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyJessop Wing, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyImperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, St Mary’s HospitalLondonUK
  3. 3.Royal College of Obstetricians and GynaecologistsLondonUK

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