If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance
with the truth of things.
Confucius was entirely correct when he said thousands of years ago
that "If language is incorrect, then what is said is not meant. If
what is said is not meant, then what ought to be done remains
In order to avoid confusion and even more controversy than already
exists regarding the abortion issue, we must be certain that the terms
we use are as precisely and clearly defined as possible.
Confusion is a weapon used by pro-abortionists to cover their bloody
tracks. Hence, they refer to the early preborn with the entirely
unscientific term "pre-embryo" in order to dehumanize them and
blur the line between true contraception and abortifacient action. They
also refer to the abortion pill RU-486 and to the injectable
abortifacient NORPLANT as "contraceptives" and aggressively
try to confuse the public as to when human life begins by defining such
at the point of implantation or nidation.
It is our duty to educate the public regarding abortion and related
issues. We can only accomplish this mission by using correct terms.
This appendix provides definitions for more than 200 medical terms
that are often cause for confusion and are often used in discussions
about abortion and related topics. These terms should be clear in a
person's mind before he speaks or writes on the abortion issue.
GLOSSARY OF ABORTION-RELATED TERMS
ABORTIFACIENT: An agent whose sole or primary purpose is to
cause abortions. Such agents include low-dose birth control pills,
minipills, 'morning-after' pills, NORPLANT, Depo-Provera, true abortion
pills such as RU-486, and intra-uterine devices (IUDs).
ABORTION: Defined by Williams Obstetrics as "The
interruption of pregnancy before viability at the request of the woman,
but not for reasons of impaired maternal health or fetal disease. The
great majority of abortions now being done belong in this
category." This definition by an authoritative source confirms that
most abortions are performed for reasons that are considerably less than
compelling; i.e., basically convenience.
There are many different terms applied to abortion, most of which
overlap to some degree and are confusing to most members of the public
unless explained clearly. These terms are listed among others below.
ABORTION RATE: The number of abortions obtained by women of
childbearing age (15 to 44) over a given period. This rate is usually
expressed in terms of abortions per 1,000 women annually.
ABORTION RATIO: The number of abortions obtained by women of
childbearing age (15 to 44) over a given period compared to the number
of live births to the same population of women. This rate is usually
expressed in terms of abortions per 1,000 live births annually.
ACCIDENTAL ABORTION: An unintentional abortion (usually termed
a miscarriage) caused by a fall, blow, or any other accidental injury.
ACOG: Acronym for the American College of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, the national group of certified specialists in this field.
ACROSOME: The large head of the sperm cell that contains DNA
and releases enzymes to dissolve the protective surface of the ovum.
AFEBRILE ABORTION: A natural or spontaneous abortion resulting
from a tubal or abdominal pregnancy. Does not refer to a procedure
designed to remove the fetus from the Fallopian tube or abdomen.
ALPHAFETOPROTEIN (AFP) TEST: Maternal serum blood test
performed during pregnancy to detect various fetal abnormalities. For
more information on the AFP test, see Chapter 40 of Volume II, Tests
for Birth Defects.
AMENORRHEA: Absence or extreme modification of the usual
menstrual cycle. Amenorrhea is a generally temporary condition that may
be caused by disease, excessive exercise, or breastfeeding. Not related
AMNIOCENTESIS: This test is performed after the 16th week of
pregnancy on women who have abnormal alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
concentrations, have a genetic history of birth defects, or who are more
than 35 years old. A needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into
the uterus, and amniotic fluid is withdrawn and tested. Cells from the
fluid are grown under laboratory conditions for about two weeks, and the
cell DNA and chromosomes are tested for abnormalities. Abortions occur,
on the average, 32 to 45 days following the test. The risks to the baby
range from 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent miscarriages.
The major risks of amniocentesis include maternal hemorrhage and
infection, fetal puncture wounds, pneumothorax (injection of gas into
the mother's pleural cavity), laceration of the baby's spleen, damage to
the placenta and/or umbilical cord, and the baby's death from
exsanguination (loss of blood).
This test is described in more detail in Chapter 38 of Volume II, Tests
for Birth Defects.
AMNION: A thin membrane enclosing the preborn child,
containing the amniotic fluid in which the child is immersed. This is
the gossamer membrane depicted surrounding the preborn baby in some
photographs of midterm pregnancy development. This is often referred to
as "the bag of waters."
AMNIOTIC FLUID: The serous (thin and watery) fluid in which
the preborn baby swims and rests.
AMNIOTOMY: The rupture of the bag of waters by a physician for
the purpose of facilitating childbirth or late abortion.
ANENCEPHALY: Total lack of the cortex (upper brain),
accompanied by lack of skull closure. Usually, the hypothalamus is
malformed and the cerebellum is rudimentary or absent. This condition
includes the exposure of the cranial matter to the air and is almost
always fatal within hours or days (about 75 percent stillborn, with
mortality of birth survivors at 90 percent in the first week), although
some anencephalic babies live several years. For example, Andrew Vandal
of Richmond, Virginia, who was born with only a brain stem, celebrated
his fifth birthday in 1989 and, according to his mother, has an
"outgoing, bubbly personality that really draws people to
him." This condition is present in about 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies
in the United States, and parents who have given birth to an
anencephalic baby have a five percent chance of giving birth to another
such baby. This condition can be detected by the AFP test or by
ANOVULATORY: The absence of ovulation.
ANTENATAL: A term used to describe any event before birth.
ANTEPARTUM: A term used to describe any event that occurs
approximately at the time of birth. It is often used to describe the
labor and delivery strategy used by doctors, nurses, or midwives.
ARTIFICIAL EMBRYONATION: The procedure where a woman is
artificially inseminated and, five to seven days later, her fertilized
egg is flushed out of her body ("lavage"), then transferred to
another woman's uterus. May also refer to the transfer of a fertilized
egg or embryo from an infertile woman to a fertile one. A portion of
this procedure is called in-vitro fertilization and embryo
transfer (SET). For more information on in-vitro fertilization
and SET, see Chapter 55 of Volume II.
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION: Procedure by which the sperm donor
masturbates to collect sperm, which is then introduced into the woman's
vagina. AI is usually classified as AIH (artificial
insemination-husband, or homologous insemination) or AID (artificial
insemination-donor, or heterologous insemination). This is the method of
choice for some lesbian organizations. For more information on
artificial insemination and other reproductive technologies, see Chapter
55 of Volume II, "In-Vitro Fertilization."
ARTIFICIAL PLACENTATION: The process of providing for a
preborn baby's needs outside of his or her mother's uterus.
BAG OF WATERS: The double-walled fluid-filled sac that
encloses and protects the preborn baby in the uterus. The bag of waters
is frequently mechanically ruptured at the end of pregnancy to induce
BASAL TEMPERATURE: The body temperature of a person who has
been at complete rest long enough for the temperature to stabilize at a
BIOPSY: The surgical removal of a tissue sample for analysis.
BIRTH CONTROL: Abortion. Since methods of contraception by
definition prevent conception, the only means of preventing birth if
contraception is not used or fails is birth control and the only
means of eliminating a preborn baby that already exists is by surgical
or chemical abortion.
BIRTH RATE: The number of births during a given time (usually
a year) expressed as a percentage of the total population or the total
number of women of childbearing age in an area.
BLASTOCYST: Early stage in the development of the embryo. The
post-morula stage which consists of an inner cell mass and a thin layer
of cells enclosing a cavity called the blastocoel.
BRAIN STEM: The lower portion of the brain, located at the
upper end of the spinal column, that handles primarily involuntary
bodily functions, including respiration, swallowing, circulation,
digestion, and reaction to pain.
CANNULA: A hollow tube.
CEREBELLUM: A portion of the brain located forward of and
above the medulla, consisting of two lateral lobes and a median lobe.
The cerebellum coordinates the muscles and maintains balance.
CEREBRAL CORTEX: The surface layer of grey matter of the
cerebral hemisphere that functions chiefly to coordinate higher nervous
CEREBRUM: The forebrain and midbrain with their derivatives.
The expanded anterior portion of the brain that, in higher mammals,
overlies the rest of the brain, consists of two cerebral hemispheres,
and is considered to be the source of conscious mental functions.
CERVIX: The narrow outer end of the uterus. The position and
condition of the cervix is one of the three prime indicators of
fertility used in the sympto-thermal method of natural family planning.
CESARIAN SECTION ('C-SECTION'): The surgical removal of a baby
though the mother's abdomen and uterine wall. When this procedure is
performed in order to abort and discard a preborn baby during a
late-term abortion, it is referred to as hysterotomy.
CHORION: The outer embryonic membrane associated with the
allantois, which is the vascular fetal membrane that is initially formed
in the shape of a pouch.
CHORIONIC VILLI: Small hair-like projections extending from
the surface of the chorion that secrete human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
CHORIONIC VILLI SAMPLING (CVS): Thisprocedure is physically
similar to amniocentesis, but can be performed about eight weeks
earlier. A plastic catheter is used to clip villi (hairlike structures)
from the placenta, and the results of chromosomal tests are available
within a week. The risks to the baby are greater than with amnio,
however: from one to five percent miscarriages. For more information on
CVS, see Chapter 40 of Volume II, Tests For Birth Defects.
CHROMATID: One of the complex paired constituent strands of a
CHROMOSOME: One of the roughly linear nucleoprotein-containing
basophilic (easily stained with dye) bodies of the cell nucleus,
composed of chromatids.
CLEAVAGE: The stage of cell division that occurs immediately
after fertilization and that continues until the cells begin to
segregate and specialize and develop into a blastocyst.
COMPLETE ABORTION: An abortion in which all of the unborn
child's parts have been expelled or removed from the uterus and have
CONCEPTION: The creation of a new human life through the union
of egg and sperm. Sometimes referred to as fertilization. This is not to
be confused with implantation or nidation.
CONTRACEPTION: The practice of using drugs, procedures or
devices intended to prevent conception by one or more of three modes of
action; (1) thickening or altering of the cervical mucus, (2)
interference with implantation (an abortifacient action), and (3)
suppression or modification of ovulation. Some contraceptives may also
interfere with the natural development of ova and sperm.
CONTRAGESTION: The process of inducing an abortion.
CORPUS LUTEUM: The temporary structure that emits hormones
from within a ruptured ovarian follicle (after the egg is released
during ovulation). The purpose of the hormones is to sustain pregnancy
until the placenta matures to the point where it can assume this role.
CRIMINAL ABORTION: An abortion performed without medical or
legal justification. This definition varies widely all over the world.
CRYOPRESERVATION: The preservation of embryos, sperm, or other
biological matter by freezing at extremely low temperatures.
CYTOTEC: Prostaglandin prescribed for ulcers but under
investigation due to its ability to cause miscarriages. Therefore,
Cytotec may well become the primary ingredient of an abortion pill in
the near future. Cytotec is manufactured by the Searle Corporation. For
more information on Cytotec and other abortifacient pills such as
RU-486, see Chapter 34 of Volume II, "The Abortion Pill."
DANAZOL: A synthetic derivative of the male hormone
testosterone that is sometimes used to treat endometriosis.
DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID: See DNA.
DILATION: Sometimes called 'dilatation,' this is the process
of opening the cervix by use of laminaria or cannula of progressively
larger diameter in order to facilitate abortion.
DILATION AND CURETTAGE (D&C): Most common abortion
procedure. Also used for completing or checking miscarriage, it consists
of scraping the walls of the uterus with a knife-edged, spoon-shaped
instrument. For more information on this procedure, see Chapter 61 of
Volume II, "Methodology and Aspects of Abortion."
DILATION AND EVACUATION (D&E): Abortion procedure by which
the preborn baby is cut or torn apart by a sharp instrument and
withdrawn from the uterus.
DILATION AND EXTRACTION (D&X): A relatively new method of
abortion that is becoming more popular. Used from 24 to 36 weeks, it
involves delivering all of the preborn baby except for the head, then
punching a hole in the back of the baby's head and sucking out his
brains. The purpose of this procedure is not to ease delivery but to
guarantee the baby's death and avoid legal complications. For more
information on this particularly grisly procedure, see Chapter 61 of
Volume II, "Methodology and Aspects of Abortion."
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. Nucleic acids located in cell
nuclei and are the basis of heredity in most mammals. DNA is constructed
of a double helix held together by hydrogen bonds between purine and
pyrimidine bases which project inward from two chains containing
alternate links of deoxyribose and phosphate.
DOUBLE EFFECT: Bioethical theory holding that the death of a
developing embryo caused by a procedure designed to clear a tubal
pregnancy is allowable even when the death is expected to be
inevitable because the primary purpose of the surgery was not to
cause the death of the embryo, but to save the life of the mother. This
theory also applies to certain cases of sexual sterilization. More
information on the double effect is available in Chapter 43 of Volume
II, "Catholic Church Position on Abortion."
EARLY ABORTION: Usually defined as the natural expulsion
(miscarriage) of a fetus weighing less than 400 grams (14 ounces),
measuring less than 28 centimeters (11 inches) in length, and of less
than 22 weeks of gestation.
ECMO: Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. The exchange of
nutrients, oxygen, and waste products through an external artificial
placenta. ECMO is described in more detail in Chapter 55 of Volume II,
ECTOGENESIS: The process of fertilization outside the body.
While in-vitro fertilization strictly meets this definition, the
more classical meaning is the production of a blastocyst from a single
germ cell through genetic manipulation.
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY: Usually taken to mean the class of
pregnancies that occur outside the uterus. Although ectopic pregnancies
generally occur inside the Fallopian tube and are life-endangering to
the mother, cases have occurred where women have carried healthy babies
to term after they have implanted in various locations within her
ELECTIVE ABORTION: Generally defined as any abortion done for
any reason other than to save the mother's life.
EMBRYO: Preborn baby in the early stages of development that
are characterized by the laying down of fundamental tissues, cleavage,
and the initial formation of organs and organ systems. Usually taken to
mean the preborn child before eight weeks, and not to be confused with
the pro-abortion propaganda term "pre-embryo."
EMBRYO TRANSFER: Procedure by which a female volunteer is
impregnated by artificial insemination with sperm from an infertile
woman's husband. Five days after conception, the embryo is flushed out
("lavage") and transferred to the infertile woman's uterus.
ENDOCRINE SYSTEM: The system of hormone-producing glands in
the body, to include the thymus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid,
adrenal, ovaries, and testes.
ENDOMETRIAL ASPIRATION: The high-tech name for menstrual
extraction, an early abortion technique that is becoming more popular
among "abort-it-yourself" Neofeminists. More information on
this procedure may be found in Chapter 59 of Volume II, "Maternal
Deaths Due to Abortion."
ENDOMETRIOSIS: The growth of endometrial tissue outside the
bounds of the endometrium. Often associated with female infertility
ENDOMETRIUM: The inner uterine lining that is built up during
the menstrual cycle and is subsequently discharged if implantation has
not taken place.
ESTROGEN: A hormone that promotes the development of secondary
sexual characteristics in the female. This hormone is used in high-dose,
low-dose, and mini-combination contraceptive pills and abortion pills.
EUGENICS: The science of refining the characteristics of the
human race by manipulating individuals through enforced abortion,
sterilization, infanticide or genocide (negative eugenics) or through a
purposeful program of breeding (positive eugenics). Abortion for fetal
anomalies would therefore be called eugenic abortion. For further
information on eugenics, see Chapter 105.
EXTRACORPOREAL GESTATION: Conception and gestation of a child
entirely outside the mother in an artificial uterus. Many scientists and
doctors, including Dr. Bernard Nathanson, believe that an artificial
womb will be perfected and functioning before the year 2000. For more
information on extracorporeal gestation and other extrauterine
technologies, see Chapter 55 of Volume II, "In-Vitro
FALLOPIAN TUBE: The small vessels that conduct the egg from
the ovary to the uterus. Blockages in these tubes account for most cases
of female infertility. Surgical sterilization is usually performed by
cutting, burning, or tying off these tubes.
FERTILIZATION: The penetration of an oocyte by a sperm cell
and the subsequent process of the combining of maternal and paternal
DNA. The beginning of a new human being.
FETUS: The term (literally meaning "little one" in
Latin) referring to the preborn baby after eight weeks's gestation.
FOLLICLE: A small baglike structure in the ovary which
contains an immature ovum (oocyte).
FSH: Follicle-stimulating hormone. The hormone secreted by the
pituitary gland which stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles in
GAMETE: A mature germ cell possessing a haploid chromosome
set, which is capable of initiating the formation of a human being by
combining with a gamete produced by a person of the opposite sex.
GAMETE INTRA-FALLOPIAN TRANSFER (GIFT): In a GIFT procedure,
doctors incise the Fallopian tube and, using a laparoscope, place the
woman's egg and man's sperm inside the tube. If conception does occur,
the pregnancy will proceed in the usual manner the fertilized egg
will travel down the Fallopian tube and will hopefully implant in the
uterus. For more information on GIFT, see Chapter 54 of Volume II,
GENE: The portion of a DNA molecule that consists of an
ordered sequence of nucleotide bases and constitutes the basic unit of
GENETICS: The science of examining the basis of heredity.
GENOME: The complete set of genetic material carried within
the DNA molecule. The multi-billion dollar Genome Project, headed by Dr.
James Watson, is currently seeking to map all of the genes in human DNA.
GENOTYPE: The set of genetic instructions that dictate the
characteristics of an individual.
GESTATION: The time period between conception and birth.
GONADOTROPIN: The hormone that stimulates the gonads. Examples
are follicle-stimulating hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, human
menopausal gonadotropin, and luteinizing hormone.
GONADOTROPIN RELEASING HORMONE (GnRH): The hormone
manufactured by the hypothalamus that causes secretion of gonadotropins
from the pituitary gland.
GYNECOLOGY: The branch of medicine dealing with diseases of
the female reproductive system. Specialists in this field are referred
to as gynecologists.
HABITUAL ABORTION: A condition whereby a woman has three or
more consecutive spontaneous, or natural abortions (miscarriages).
HAPLOID: cell body containing half of the genetic information
in the chromosomes as the somatic or diploid cells, which contain the
full necessary body of information.
HCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin. This hormone is produced
by the chorionic villi and triggers the release of progesterone and
estrogen. It is measured during a pregnancy by use of a urine test.
HOMOZYGOUS: arising from the same zygote. Homozygous twins are
identical, and fraternal twins are heterozygous.
HUMAN CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN (hCG): A hormone secreted by the
embryo that maintains the corpus luteum when pregnancy occurs.
HUMAN MENOPAUSAL GONADOTROPIN (hMG): A hormone that can be
extracted from the urine of menopausal women and injected to stimulate
testes and ovaries.
HYDRANENCEPHALY: A purely descriptive term, not related to any
particular disease, which means that the cortex (upper brain) is
entirely replaced with spinal fluid. There is total or near-total
hemispherical destruction. There is great ventricular (brain cavity)
enlargement with little or no cerebral mantle. The brain stem,
cerebellum, and basal ganglia are present but may be abnormal. The brain
stem usually remains functional.
HYDROCEPHALUS: The obstruction of the normal accumulation or
drainage of cerebrospinal fluid from its points of production to its
areas of absorption. The head will accumulate an increased quantity of
this fluid under persistent or intermittent increased pressure.
HYPOTHALAMUS: A structure at the base of the brain that
controls, among other functions, the action of the pituitary gland. This
gland controls both the male and the female reproductive cycles.
HYSTERECTOMY: The surgical removal of the uterus.
HYSTERO-OOPHORECTOMY: Surgical removal of the uterus and one
or both ovaries.
HYSTEROSAPLINGOGRAM: Study of the female reproductive tract
via X-rays and the injection of radio-opaque material to make the organs
more visible to the operator.
HYSTEROSALPINGO-OOPHORECTOMY: The surgical removal of the
uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
HYSTEROSCOPY: The inspection of the uterus with a small
lighted television device called a hysteroscope.
HYSTEROTOMY: Basically a Cesarean section performed for the
purposes of abortion. The abdomen is opened and the baby is simply
lifted out and directly killed or allowed to die.
IATROGENIC: Produced or caused by a physician.
IDIOPATHIC: A pre-existing condition.
IMMINENT ABORTION: A threatened miscarriage, in which there
may be profuse vaginal bleeding, cramps, and a softened and dilated
IMPLANTATION: The exact point in time when the developing
blastocyst anchors itself in the uterine wall or, in the case of ectopic
pregnancies, in the Fallopian tube or somewhere else in the woman's
INCOMPLETE ABORTION: An abortion in which portions of the
unborn child or the placenta, remain in the uterus for an appreciable
period of time after miscarriage or abortion.
INDUCED ABORTION: An intentional abortion caused by drugs,
surgery, or other mechanical means.
INEVITABLE ABORTION: An unintentional abortion brought about
by the rupturing of membranes (breaking of the bag of waters), in the
presence of cervical dilation.
INFECTIOUS ABORTION: An abortion caused by an infectious
INTRA-UTERINE DEVICE (IUD): Device inserted into the uterus
for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. Although their exact mode of
action is not known, it is believed that they prevent pregnancy by
irritating the uterine wall and preventing implantation. Therefore, IUDs
are abortifacient. See Chapter 32 of Volume II for more information on
IN-VITRO FERTILIZATION (IVF): Literally, "in glass"
fertilization, this procedure mixes sperm and eggs from a donor and,
when fertilization has occurred, the resulting blastocyst(s) are
implanted into the women. For further information on IVF, see Chapter 55
of Volume II.
IN-VIVO FERTILIZATION: Fertilization inside the human body.
JUSTIFIABLE ABORTION: A term used in the narrow sense by
medical authorities to describe an abortion performed to save the life
of the mother. Used by other (pro-abort) persons to describe any
abortion whatever for any reason.
KARYOTYPE: A photographic display of a person's chromosomes
that shows the number, size, and shape of each human chromosome.
LACTATION: The production and expression of milk by the
LAMINARIA: Sticks of dried seaweed used to dilate the cervix
in preparation for abortion through the mechanism of absorption of
liquids and expansion.
LAPAROSCOPY: Examination of one or more organs in the pelvic
region by means of a small lighted television device known as a
LAPAROTOMY: The surgical incision of the abdomen for any
LAVAGE: The 'flushing' of a fertilized egg from a woman's body
before it implants, usually for the purpose of embryo transfer.
LOW TUBE OVUM TRANSFER (LTOT): A surgical procedure which
relocates an infertile woman's egg past the damaged portion of her
Fallopian tube so that in-vivo fertilization takes place.
LUTEAL: Referring to the corpus luteum and its
LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH): A hormone produced by the pituitary
gland that stimulates the production of progesterone in women and of
testosterone in men.
MATERNAL SERUM ALPHA-FETOPROTEIN (AFP): AFP is a maternal
blood test performed from the 13th to 20th weeks of pregnancy. Neural
tube defects in a baby may cause its kidneys to release elevated levels
of AFP into the mother's bloodstream, or lower levels, which signal
possible Down's Syndrome. The blood test must be confirmed by ultrasound
and/or amniocentesis. The risk to the baby or mother is nil for the
blood test alone.
MEGALENCEPHALY: The baby's head is enlarged due to abnormal
enlargement of the brain. This condition is frequently accompanied by
convulsions, retardation, and hypotonia (localized low osmotic
pressure). It is usually present in the later stages of Tay-Sachs
Disease and Alexander's Disease.
MEIOSIS: Cell division occurring during the development of
gametes, lessening the number of chromosomes in each cell.
MENARCHE: First menstruation.
MENOPAUSE: The permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle.
MENSTRUAL EXTRACTION: This procedure is a Neofeminist
favorite. They allege that it is used to accelerate the time span of the
natural menstrual period from several days to a few minutes. Supposedly,
menstrual extraction may also help alleviate the symptoms of a painful
menstrual period. However, the real purpose is to produce early
abortion. This procedure is also referred to as endometrial aspiration.
For more information, see Chapter 59 of Volume II, "Maternal Deaths
Due to Abortion."
MENSTRUATION: Beginning of the menstrual cycle, where the
oxygen-rich lining of the uterus is sloughed off and discharged.
MICROCEPHALY: Abnormally small head size, usually (but not
always) associated with brain disease and/or mental retardation. The
baby's head circumference falls into the category of being more than two
standard deviations (about the smallest five percent) below normal for
all babies. The baby has a small or missing front fontanel (soft spot)
and a recessed and/or sloping forehead. This condition is usually
present in babies with Trisomy 13-15 and Trisomy 17-18.
MINIPILL: A low-dosage oral 'contraceptive' that functions
more as an abortifacient than as a contraceptive.
MISCARRIAGE: The natural and unintentional loss of a preborn
child. Miscarriage is also referred to as "natural" or
"spontaneous" abortion. If repeated three or more times within
an interval of five years, usually referred to as "habitual"
MISSED ABORTION: An abortion by which the fetus dies but is
retained in the uterus for a significant period of time (usually two or
MORBIDITY: The state of suffering from illness or disease.
MORNING-AFTER PILL: Pill specifically designed to cause early
abortion by preventing implantation or nidation. Usually contains an
extremely large dose of estrogen within 24 to 72 hours after
MORTALITY: Statistical term referring to death and its causes.
NATAL: Referring to anything having to do with birth.
NATURAL ABORTION: An abortion not artificially induced, i.e.,
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING (NFP): The avoidance of artificial
contraceptive means by using the female body's natural fertility signs
to avoid or achieve pregnancy. See Chapter 128 for an explanation of the
various aspects of natural family planning.
NEONATE: A newborn baby or a baby less than about a month old.
NEURAL TUBE DEFECT: The failure of the neural tube (the tube
formed from the fusion of the neural folds from which the spinal cord
and brain are formed) to close during fetal development, sometimes
leading to various degrees of spina bifida or anencephaly.
NORPLANT: A Wyeth-Ayerst abortifacient inserted into the arm
of a woman inside six matchstick-sized silastic (silicone-rubber) rods.
The primary active ingredient is a low-dosage progestin called
levonorgestrel. NORPLANT has an effective period of about five years.
See Chapter 33 of Volume II for further information on NORPLANT.
OBSTETRICS: The branch of medicine dealing with pregnancy and
childbirth. Specialists in this field are referred to as obstetricians.
OLIGOGENICS: The spacing or limitation of childbearing through
some use of artificial contraception, natural family planning, or
OLIGOMENORRHEA: Scanty or infrequent menstruation.
OLIGOSPERMIA: A temporary or permanent deficiency of the sperm
level in seminal fluid.
OOCYTE: A female gametocyte, or premature egg.
OOGENESIS: Formation and maturation of the egg.
OOPHORECTOMY: The surgical removal of one or both ovaries.
ORCHIECTOMY: The surgical removal of one or both testicles.
OVA: The woman's egg or gamete. Plural: ovum.
OVARY: The female reproductive organs that store the ovum, or
OVARIOTOMY: The surgical incision of an ovary. An ovariectomy
is the surgical removal of an ovary.
OVIDUCT: Another name for a Fallopian tube.
OVULATION: The release of an egg from an ovary after the
rupture of an ovarian follicle.
PARTHENOGENESIS: Reproduction by direct development of an
unfertilized gamete. Some Neofeminist groups hope to someday eliminate
even the need for a man's sperm by growing female children only from
their own eggs.
PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID): The inflammation of the
female reproductive organs, often resulting in inhibited fertility or
sterility through scarring of the Fallopian tubes.
PERINATAL: The period from the 28th week of pregnancy to one
week after birth.
PERINATOLOGIST: A doctor who specializes in maternal-fetal
PERITONITIS: Inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the
smooth, transparent membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.
PITUITARY GLAND: A gland located at the base of the brain that
discharges hormones that control various body functions.
PLACENTA: The temporary organ that acts as a metabolic
exchanger between the mother and her preborn baby. The placenta also
produces hormones that protect and maintain pregnancy.
POST-ABORTION SYNDROME: A cluster of psychological symptoms
associated with the regret caused by having an abortion. See Chapter 45
of Volume II for further information on PAS.
POSTMATURITY: A baby born after full term. Extreme
postmaturity may cause a cluster of serious birth defects due to the
deterioration of the placenta, and most postmature babies are induced
after about two weeks after term.
POSTPARTUM: After birth.
PRE-EMBRYO: This is an entirely unscientific and misleading
term created by pro-abortionists specifically for the purposes of
dehumanizing the preborn and obscuring the facts in the debate over
PREGNANCY REDUCTION: An abortion performed to reduce a
multiple pregnancy to only one or two preborn babies. Also referred to
as "selective abortion."
PREMATURITY: Usually refers to the birth of an infant between
the limit of viability and nine months.
PRENATAL: The period before birth.
PROGESTERONE: A female steroidal hormone secreted by the
corpus luteum, which is the name for an ovarian follicle after it has
released its egg (ovum).
PROGESTIN: A progestational (preceding pregnancy) female
hormone. Used in high-dose, low-dose, and mini-combination abortion and
contraceptive pills. It is also the sole hormonal ingredient in
PROLACTIN: A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that
stimulates milk production and supports gonadal function.
PROSTAGLANDIN: An artificial hormone injected into the uterine
muscle to induce premature labor in later abortions. Also emitted by
some intra-uterine devices (IUDs) as part of their mode of action.
PROSTATE GLAND: Male sexual organ that produces the fluid in
which sperm are suspended.
REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST: A doctor who specializes in the
diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
RHYTHM METHOD: Estimating the extent of fertile periods by use
of data gathered on the length of previous cycles. 'Rhythm' has been
replaced by the more scientific and accurate sympto-thermal method (STM)
of natural family planning. However, in order to discredit all methods
of natural family planning, no matter how effective, pro-abortionists
clump all NFP methods under the contemptuous classification of 'rhythm.'
RNA: Ribonucleic acid. Nucleic acids that contain ribose and
uracil as structural components and are associated with the control of
cellular chemical reactions.
RU-486: A true abortion pill manufactured by the French firm
Roussell-Uclaf. See Chapter 34 of Volume II for more information on
RU-486 and other abortion pills.
SALPINGITIS: Inflammation of the Fallopian tubes, sometimes
caused by pelvic inflammatory disease.
SALT POISONING: Abortion performed by the injection of a salt
solution into the amniotic sac. The preborn baby breathes and drinks
this solution, and dies within one to two hours from seizures,
hemorrhage, and suffocation. The baby is then usually born dead in 24 to
SELECTIVE ABORTION: An abortion performed to reduce a multiple
pregnancy to only one or two preborn babies. Also referred to as
SEPTIC ABORTION: An abortion caused by or causing infection in
and around the uterus; may be complicated by fever, endometriosis, and
SEX-LINKED: Any genetic characteristic or disease controlled
by the genes in sex chromosomes.
SEX SELECTION ABORTION: An intentional abortion performed
solely for the purpose of eliminating an unborn baby because of its
gender. Ironically, the vast majority of sex selection abortions are
directed against preborn girls.
SEXUALLY-TRANSMITTED DISEASE (STD): Any one of a cluster of
diseases transmitted through various types of intimate sexual contact.
SPERM: The male germ cell that combines with the ova to
produce a new human being.
SPERMATOGENESIS: The production of sperm.
SPERMATOZOON: The mature male sex or germ cells formed within
the seminiferous tubules of the testes.
SPERMICIDE: Any chemical that kills sperm cells.
SPERM MOTILITY: A measure of the rate of speed of sperm in
SPONTANEOUS ABORTION: A natural abortion, or miscarriage.
STERILIZATION: A surgical or chemically-induced procedure that
permanently or temporarily ends fertility in the male or female. For
more information on sterilization, see Chapter 102.
STILLBIRTH: Generally refers to fetal death after viability.
SURROGATE EMBRYO TRANSFER (SET): The procedure where a woman
is artificially inseminated and, five to seven days later, her
fertilized egg is flushed out of her body ("lavage"), then
transferred to another woman's uterus. May also refer to the transfer of
a fertilized egg or embryo from an infertile woman to a fertile one. A
portion of this procedure is called in-vitro fertilization. For
more information on in-vitro fertilization and SET, see Chapter
55 of Volume II.
SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD: Procedure in which a woman agrees to
carry a baby to term for another woman who may be infertile. This baby
may have two mothers and one father or two mothers and two fathers.
TESTES: The male reproductive glands located in the scrotum. These
produce sperm and the male hormone testosterone.
TESTOCTOMY: The surgical removal of one or both testicles. Also
referred to as castration.
TESTOSTERONE: A steroid hormone, or androgen, produced in the testes
that affects sperm production and male sex characteristics.
THERAPEUTIC ABORTION: Usually defined as an abortion performed for
any reason other than to save the mother's life, i.e., an elective
THREATENED ABORTION: An imminent spontaneous abortion (miscarriage)
that usually takes place during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy.
TRIMESTER: The division of pregnancy into three roughly equal time
periods. The first trimester usually means up to 12 weeks, the second
trimester usually means from 13 to 24 weeks, and the third trimester is
usually from 25 weeks to the end of the pregnancy at birth.
TROPHOBLAST: A strand of cells ringing the blastocyst that will
eventually become the placenta.
TUBAL ABORTION: The termination of a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy
through the rupture of the fallopian tube, an extremely serious and
TUBAL CAUTERY: Sterilization of the Fallopian tubes by burning them.
TUBAL LIGATION: The tying-off of the Fallopian tubes during a female
sterilization procedure. For more information, see Chapter 102.
TUBAL PREGNANCY: When implantation occurs inside the Fallopian tube
instead of in the uterus. A type of ectopic pregnancy.
TUBECTOMY: A removal of all or part of a Fallopian tube during the
extraction of a tubal pregnancy or female sterilization. For more
information, see Chapter 102.
ULTRASONOGRAPHY: Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create
an outline of the baby on a sonography screen. Sonograms are sometimes
used by abortionists to position the baby for a kill. At the 20th week,
ultrasonography can be used to spot various defects in the spine,
kidney, heart, and skeleton. The short-term effects of sonograms on
unborn babies is unknown, but the long-term effects may be profound.
Research into this field is ongoing. Of course, considering the
deleterious effects of sonography on a baby slated for extermination is
UTERUS: Muscular female organ within which the preborn child grows.
Often referred to as the womb.
VACUUM ASPIRATION: The induction of abortion using a powerful suction
machine to remove the developing preborn baby, the amniotic sac, and the
placenta from the uterus.
VAS DEFERENS: Tubes that conduct sperm.
VASECTOMY: Male sterilization or neutering consisting of the excision
of a portion of the vas deferens, the tube which conveys sperm
cells. For more information on male and female sterilization procedures,
see Chapter 102.
VIABILITY: Refers to the point in time when a fetus is capable of
surviving outside the womb with or without heroic measures. The
definition of viability varies from place to place and depends strongly
on the mother's health, but is now 90 percent certain at 24 weeks in the
United States. See Chapters 69 to 75 of Volume II for more information
on fetal development and the status of the unborn.
X-CHROMOSOME: The sex-determining chromosome carried by all ova and
about one-half of all sperm.
Y-CHROMOSOME: The sex-determining chromosome that produces a male
child and is carried by about one-half of all sperm.
ZYGOTE: The fertilized ovum, or individual, created by the fusion of
the father's sperm cell and the mother's egg cell. This is the earliest
stage of human individual development. The zygote is also defined as the
diploid cell resulting from the fusion of a sperm cell and an ovum.
Reference: Glossary of Abortion-Related Terms.
 Confucius, quoted in Henry Fairlie. "The Language of
Politics." The Atlantic, January 1975, pages 25 and 28.
© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111
This is a chapter of the
Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia published by American Life League.