How can an abortion fail? An abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. The term 'failed abortion' means the pregnancy was not terminated. If a fetus is removed, alive or dead, that terminates the pregnancy. If a live fetus is removed from the womb and later killed, that is murder and has nothing to do with a failed abortion. It has to do with a failed sense of values, a lack of morals, a disdain for life. From all accounts, Gosnell is a murder.