The term induced abortion refers to a variety of medical procedures designed to terminate pregnancy and result in extraction of an embryo or fetus, depending on gestational age. The topic of abortion can be addressed from a physical, psychological, moral, legal, or cultural perspective. Addressing all aspects is beyond the scope of this relatively brief entry; therefore, the objective is to examine abortion from the perspective of women choosing abortion. Specifically, the relationship between decision-making variables and subsequent adjustment and mental health is the focus, with sensitivity to the individual experiences and needs of women.

The young woman in the following excerpt from Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story, Hills Like White Elephants, conveys appreciation of the psychological complexity of the decision to abort. The story, ...

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