Abortion is the ending of pregnancy by the removal or forcing out from the womb of a fetus or embryo before it is able to survive on its own. surgical methods appear to have a lower risk of side effects. Abortion in the developed world has a long history of being among the safest procedures in medicine when allowed by local law. Uncomplicated abortions do not cause either long term mental health or physical problems. Unsafe abortions, however, result in approximately 47,000 maternal deaths and 5 million hospital admissions per year globally. An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year, with slightly under half of those performed unsafely. Rates of abortions have changed little between 2003 and 2008,, forty percent of the world's women had access to legal induced abortions "without restriction as to reason".
Induced abortion has a long history. They have been performed by various methods, including herbal medicines, the use of sharpened tools, physical trauma, and other traditional methods since ancient times. The laws surrounding abortion, how frequently they are performed, and their cultural and religious status vary a great deal around the world. In some contexts, abortion is legal based on specific conditions, such as incest, rape, problems with the fetus, socioeconomic factors or the risk to a mother's health. In many parts of the world there is prominent public controversy over the moral, ethical, and legal issues of abortion. Those who are against abortion generally state that an embryo or fetus is a human with the right to life and may compare abortion to murder. Those who support abortion rights emphasize a woman's right to decide matters concerning her own body as well as emphasizing human rights generally. Most abortions result from unintended pregnancies. In the United Kingdom, 1 to 2% of abortions are done due to genetic problems in the fetus. Specific procedures may also be selected due to legality, regional availability, and doctor or patient preference.