The world is strikingly divided on abortion rights, but a lot of people don't really even understand the procedure that takes place behind it.
There are a number of different abortion methods, which vary depending on what trimester you're in when you have one done. There are three trimesters, and the rule of thumb is the earlier the better.
In more than 90% of abortion cases, the first trimester is the way to go. You'll be given a special pill that blocks certain hormones, which blocks the pregnancy and allows the fertilized egg cell to safely pass through what appears to be a heavy menstrual cycle.
In the second trimester or even the third, a more physical approach is necessary. A surgical procedure is typically required, and tools must be used to extract the growing fetus from the cervix. This typically means dilating the cervix in various ways and then using suction or forceps to extract the fetus.
In terms of statistics, abortions are one of the safest medical procedures in the US, even safer than child birth itself. There is only 1 recorded death associated with abortions per 100,000 procedures compared to 14 deaths associated with child birth per 100,000 procedures.
That said, abortions need to be performed in a safe medical environment rather than by the mother's hand. Unsafe abortions are so much more dangerous, and lead to as many as 68,000 female deaths and 5 million temporary disabilities per year. These include ingesting unsafe chemicals, inserting foreign objects into the body, and using trauma to end the pregnancy.
Studies have also shown that laws that prevent legal abortions will simply increase the amount of unsafe abortions that occur instead, so regulating this practice is no less than a difficult task.
Despite all the wives' tales that abortions can cause problems with future pregnancies or that they increase your chances of developing cancer or other ailments, science has come a long way and proven these to be false.