Last reviewed 01/2018

Derived from the Latin term “aboriri” (to miscarry), the word abortion refers to the evacuation of a conceptus before it is viable (1).  

In general the term abortion describes

  • the spontaneous loss of the conception (spontaneous abortion), in layman’s term known as miscarriage
  • termination of pregnancy (TOP), the deliberate ending of the pregnancy, in layman’s term known as abortion.

In all cases, Rhesus prophylaxis should be considered.


  • (1) Cunningham, Gary, Kenneth J. Leveno, and Larry C. Gilstrap. Williams Obstetrics. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies 2009