Therapeutic abortion

The therapeutic abortion is induced abortion justified for medical reasons. Most legislation regulating abortion , both permissive and restrictive, distinguish, to varying degrees, the total or greater admissibility of therapeutic abortion from voluntary termination of pregnancy .

There are only seven states in the world where therapeutic abortion is not allowed in any case: Vatican City , El Salvador , Malta , Nicaragua , Chile and the Dominican Republic . 1

It should not be confused with the indirect abortion that occurs when a necessary therapy is carried out with the mother and also produces the death of the fetus . A specific case is that of ectopic pregnancy , but there are also others as a result of, for example, therapies against maternal cancer .

Medical justifications

The basic medical reasons for which therapeutic abortion is justified are 5 forms:

  • Serious risk to the mother’s life , when the continuation of pregnancy or childbirth poses a serious risk to the mother’s life.
  • To safeguard the physical or mental health of the mother , when they are threatened by pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Risk of congenital or genetic disease , to prevent the birth of a child with a serious genetic or congenital disease that is fatal or that condemns to very serious conditions or disabilities, which put his life in mortal danger.
  • Reduction of embryos or fetuses in multiple pregnancies , up to a number that makes the risk acceptable and pregnancy viable.
  • Serious risk to the child’s life , when the continuation of pregnancy or childbirth means a serious risk to the child’s life, either because it comes with a malformation or has a very high risk of painful death at the time or shortly after birth .

Abortion by medical-legal indication

Ectopic pregnancy , one of the pathologies of pregnancy .

Abortion is understood by medical-legal indication to the medical or surgical act that consists in the voluntary interruption of the gestation in cases in which the domestic law of each country foresees the non-imposition of a sentence for such reason, although the abortion, in General, is considered a crime.

The importance of abortion by medical-legal indication is that it facilitates that these interruptions are practiced within the institutional health field, eliminating unnecessary risks for women. 2

Elective abortion in situations of force majeure

It should not be confused with therapeutic abortion, even though the right to abortion may legally be exercised . There is talk of elective abortion when the pregnancy is the result of a crime of a sexual nature ( rape ) or the application of an assisted reproduction technique not consented to by the mother.

Also included as reasons for elective abortion: the minority of the mother, the inability to care for a child for economic or social reasons and the desire to hide the stigma that represents in certain social contexts a pregnancy outside of marriage. 3


  1. Back to top↑ United Nations. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division (2012). World Abortion Policies 2011 . Retrieved on December 20, 2012 .
  2. Back to top↑ Rodríguez, H., Berro, G .: “Guidelines for the institutional practice of abortion by medical-legal indication.” Rev Med Urug , 2006; 22 : 157-161
  3. Back to top↑ Elective Abortion, in Scribd