The following use of the word "abortion" got my attention. It is from Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, published in 1951. Here is the context:
"...Listen. I met a man on the Common today with three legs."
"How terrible," Henry said seriously. "An abortion?"
Most definitions of "abortion" I've checked focus mostly or exclusively on the termination of pregnancy which, at least in North America, is the most common meaning. There are a few definitions given which appear to correspond to Henry's use:
Merriam-Webster: MONSTROSITY (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abortion)
Oxford Dictionaries: "2 an object or undertaking that is unpleasant or badly made or carried out."
And way down on this page on Dictionary.com: "6. a person or thing that is deformed"
But otherwise, as far as I can tell from the etymologies on the above links, and from this question, it looks as though the the word abortion has always referred to the early end to a pregnancy.
My question is, was Greene's usage ever common? I can't very well search Google Ngrams since it would be impossible to differentiate the intended meanings. Would a British reader in 1951 have made any association at all with an early termination to a pregnancy, when reading the exchange above?