|n.||1.||The act of giving premature birth; particularly, the expulsion of the human fetus prematurely, or before it is capable of sustaining life; miscarriage.|
|2.||The immature product of an untimely birth; a fetus which has been delivered prematurely due to spontaneous or voluntary abortion, and is dead.|
|3.||(Biol.) Arrest of development of any organ, so that it remains an imperfect formation or is absorbed.|
|4.||Any fruit or produce that does not come to maturity, or anything which in its progress, before it is matured or perfect; a complete failure; |
|5.||the removal of a fetus from the womb prior to normal delivery in a manner such as to cause the death of the fetus; also called |
|6.||something considered to be a repulsive or monstrous variant of a normal object; a monstrosity.|
|Noun||1.||abortion - termination of pregnancy|
|2.||abortion - failure of a plan|
ABORTION, med jur. and criminal law. The expulsion of the foetus before the
seventh mouth of utero-gestation, or before it is viable. q.v.
2. The causes of this accident are referable either to the mother, or to the foetus and its dependencies. The causes in the mother may be: extreme nervous susceptibility, great debility, plethora, faulty conformation, and the like; and it is frequently induced immediately by intense mental emotion. The causes seated in the foetus are its death, rupture of the membranes, &c.
3. It most frequently occurs between the 8th and 12th weeks of gestation. When abortion is produced with a malicious design, it becomes a misdemeanor, at common law, 1 Russell, 553; and the party causing it may be indicted and punished.
4. The criminal means resorted to for the purpose of destroying the foetus, may be divided into general and local. To the first belong vivisection, emetics, cathartics diuretics, emmenagogues &c. The second embraces all kinds of violence directly applied.
5. When, in consequence of the means used to produce abortion, the death of the woman ensues, the crime is murder.
6. By statute a distinction is made between a woman quick with child, (q.v.) and one who, though pregnant, is not so, 1 Bl. Com. 129. Physiologists, perhaps with reason, think that the child is a living being from the moment of conception. 1 Beck. Med. Jur. 291.
General References. 1 Beck, 288 to 331; and 429 to 435; where will be found an abstract of the laws of different countries, and some of the states punishing criminal abortion; Roscoe, Cr. Ev. 190; 1 Russ. 553; Vilanova y Manes, Materia Criminal Forense, Obs. 11, c. 7 n. 15-18. See also 1 Briand, Med. Leg. 1 ere partie, c. 4, where the question is considered, how far abortion is justifiable, and is neither a crime nor a misdemeanor. See Alis. Cr. L. of Scot. 628.