The term abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy; this can either be induced purposefully or occur spontaneously (usually referred to as a miscarriage). In this definition we will only address induced abortions. Induced abortions can be performed either safely or unsafely, legally or illegally, using a variety of methods depending on the gestational age of the embryo/fetus, legal barriers, and resources available. Safe abortions are always performed by skilled and trained professionals in a formal medical setting (sterilized etc.) with modern equipment and medicine. In contrast, unsafe abortions are performed by unskilled individuals, using hazardous and non-sterile equipment or chemicals, often in unsanitary facilities. In addition, it is also important to distinguish between legal and illegal abortions. There are (still) a few countries in the world today where abortion is completely illegal, and some countries only legally allow abortion in restricted cases such as rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. At the same time, there are also countries where abortion is legal but not always accessible due to social/legal/economic barriers (e.g. long wait periods or high costs) so that for many people having an unsafe abortion is their only option.
CHOICE supports universal access to safe and legal abortions, without barriers imposed by law, policies and service provision, and free of stigma and discrimination. In cases where abortion is not available by law, people should still have access to confidential high-quality and modern post-abortion care without having to face any legal consequences.