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What is a Therapeutic Abortion?

Abortions are medical procedures that are performed to end a pregnancy. People decide to have abortions for many different reasons, including for medical purposes. When the main reason for ending a pregnancy is a medical issue, then the procedure is known as a therapeutic abortion.

Therapeutic Abortion

The term therapeutic abortion refers to a pregnancy termination that is performed for medical reasons. Having an abortion can save a woman’s life or prevent her from experiencing serious health problems. Abortions can also be the safest or most ethical option when the foetus has a severe abnormality.

Abortions can also be performed in the UK for other reasons, for example in order to protect the mental wellbeing of the mother or for the benefit of any existing children in the family. The term therapeutic abortion wouldn’t be used in these cases.

Reasons for Having a Therapeutic Abortion

Therapeutic abortions are performed when there is a medical need. Doctors may recommend ending the pregnancy for any of the following reasons:

  • The mother’s life is in danger if she continues with the pregnancy
  • The woman needs treatment such as chemotherapy that cannot be performed while she is pregnant
  • There is a risk of severe physical or mental harm to the woman if the pregnancy continues
  • A fatal foetal abnormality has been detected that will result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or death soon after birth
  • The foetus has a serious abnormality
  • Selective reduction of multiple pregnancies may be performed if continuing to carry all of the foetuses would be too risky

All of these can be reasons for choosing a therapeutic termination, but it is a very personal choice. Some women may decide to continue with the pregnancy under circumstances that others would not. It is important to discuss the risks with a doctor in order to make the right choice. The best choice for you will depend on how you feel about the options as well as the potential effects of continuing with the pregnancy.

Why is Therapeutic Abortion So Important?

While there is considerable debate about other types of abortion, most people agree that therapeutic abortion should be legal and easily accessible. Abortion can play a vital role in women’s healthcare. In countries where abortion is illegal or difficult to access even when there is a medical need, women’s lives are at risk. Women can die, suffer serious complications, or be left with long term disabilities because they were forced to continue with their pregnancies. It can also be both physically and emotionally harmful for women to be made to continue with pregnancies when the foetus has a fatal or serious abnormality.

Having a therapeutic abortion can be the best option to protect the life and wellbeing of the mother. However, it is never an easy decision to end a pregnancy for medical reasons, especially when it was planned. It is essential for women to get all of the advice and support they need before, during and after the termination.

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