An attempt to evaluate the recent literature on somatic complications of induced abortion shows that a great amount of data of widely varying quality has been collected. Many areas of research are still not covered in a way that permits valid conclusions to be drawn. Two important points emerge from the review: first, there is a need for uniform definitions of complications and some uniformity in the analysis of data collected; secondly, carefully selected control groups are needed in this kind of research. The areas most urgently requiring further study differ from country to country. From a global point of view, the existence or inexistence of significant late sequelae and the influence of the patient's health status on the complication rate seem to be of the highest priority.