The practice of abortion—the termination of a pregnancy—has been known since ancient history. Various methods have been used to perform or attempt an abortion, including the administration of abortifacient herbs, the use of sharpened implements, the application of abdominal pressure, and other techniques.
Abortion laws and their enforcement have fluctuated through various eras. In many western countries during the 20th century abortion-rights movements were successful in having abortion bans repealed. While abortion remains legal in most of the West, this legality is regularly challenged by anti-abortion groups.