The term "abortion" actually refers to any premature expulsion of a human fetus, whether naturally spontaneous, as in a miscarriage, or artificially induced, as in a surgical or chemical abortion. Today, the most common usage of the term "abortion" applies to artificially induced abortion, which is the subject of this pamphlet.
In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion in all 50 states during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, medical, social, or otherwise.
The vast majority of all abortions performed today are done for social, not medical reasons -- because a woman doesn’t feel ready for a baby at the time, because her partner wants her to have an abortion, etc. Approximately 93% of all induced abortions are done for elective, non-medical reasons such as these.
Abortion ends a pregnancy by destroying and removing the developing child. That baby’s heart has already begun to beat by the time the mother misses her period and begins to wonder if she might be pregnant (about 31 days after the mother’s last menstrual period or LMP).  Surgical abortions are usually not performed before seven weeks, or 49 days LMP.  By that time, the baby has identifiable arms and legs (day 45) and displays measurable brain waves (about 40 days). During the seventh through the tenth weeks, when the majority of abortions are performed, fingers and genitals appear and the child’s face is recognizably human. 
Is Abortion Safe?
The argument used by many advocates of abortion -- that abortion is safer than childbirth -- is difficult to defend in light of medical evidence to the contrary. The Abortion Surveillance Branch of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains that induced abortion is safer than childbirth  and that the serious complication rate is less than one percent.  Yet there is no agreement among investigators as to what constitutes a major complication and no real national system for the reporting these kind of statistics,  making the accuracy of such assertions questionable. Furthermore, the experiences of private physicians and gynecologists do not seem to support the validity of the CDC’s claim. 
Daniel J. Martin, M.D., Ltd., clinical instructor at St. Louis University Medical School, St. Louis, Missouri, has said, "The impact of abortion on the body of a woman who chooses abortion is great and always negative. I can think of no beneficial effect of a social abortion on a body." 
Why is this so? Because induced abortion is the premature, willful, and violent penetration of a closed and safeguarded system -- a system in which nearly every cell, tissue and organ of a woman’s reproductive system has been specially transformed and activated to carry out the function of sustaining and nourishing the developing child. Not surprisingly, any violation of the integrity of that system can lead to serious complications. Physical problems range from hemorrhage and infection to sterility and even death. Psychological effects range from depression and mental trauma to divorce and even suicide.
NancyJo Mann is one of many who has experienced both kinds of complications. Infection and bleeding followed her abortion which eventually led to a hysterectomy. Recalling her experience, she said, "Beforehand, I liked myself. I had never entertained the idea of abortion. But the minute that needle went through my abdomen, I hated it, because I knew it could not be reversed. I wanted to scream, ‘Don’t do this to me!’" 
Alternatives to Abortion
Despite all their talk about "choice," those at abortion clinics who counsel women on their options often act as if abortion is a woman’s only realistic alternative. This simply isn’t so.
Throughout the United States, there are nearly 3,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers staffed by volunteers ready to provide real help to women facing unplanned or untimely pregnancies.  In addition to providing pregnancy tests and counseling, these centers often offer a full range of services, helping women obtain housing, maternity and baby clothes, baby equipment, pre- and post-natal medical care, legal assistance and financial support, information about adoption, and even advice on how a woman in school can continue her education.  Offering real and tangible assistance, these centers have helped thousands of women to realize that they didn’t have to choose between their own lives and the lives of their unborn babies.
Unlike their counterparts at the local abortion clinic, the volunteer counselors at your Crisis Pregnancy Center do not have a vested financial interest in the ultimate decision you make. Their concern and commitment are genuine, so you can count on them to stick by you through the tense and sometimes difficult months ahead.
If you picked up this pamphlet at your local Crisis Pregnancy Center, you already have some idea of the quality of people who work there. But if not, you can look in the Yellow Pages under the heading "Abortion Alternatives," or call, toll-free, 1 (800) 848-LOVE, any time, day or night, to find the nearest Crisis Pregnancy Center in your area. You’ll find someone who genuinely cares about what happens to you and your unborn baby.