An estimated 55 million women terminated their pregnancy by abortion in 1971, according to a survey of 208 countries. Undoubtedly a good number of abortions occurred in India. Some are legal abortions performed under controlled conditions but most are illegal. The mortality and morbidity of illegal abortion are summarized. There is a need for evolution in attitudes toward abortion to eliminate these risks. Although a permissive abortion law was passed in India in 1972, there is a very great need to increase the number of adequately trained physicians to perform abortions and to increase the number of facilities at which abortions are made available.