Almost half of all abortions each year worldwide are unsafe, study says

29 September, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Colin Gill
  • Activists holding placards supporting safe and legal abortions take part in a pro-abortion demonstration in Santiago Chile

Yet in South-Central Asia, less than one in two abortions were safe.

The study was conducted by World Health Organization in partnership with the american institute Guttmacher, specialized in birth control.

The number of "less safe" abortions around the world each year.

Slightly more than 14% of abortions performed worldwide were classified as the least safe, which meant they were provided by someone who was untrained and used unsafe methods like sharp curettage. "Complications from "least-safe" abortions can include incomplete abortion (failure to remove all of the pregnancy tissue from the uterus), haemorrhage, vaginal, cervical and uterine injury, and infections", the study stated. These were abortions that were done by a trained provider but with an outdated method, or if the abortion was done with a safe method but without the support of a trained person.

The study also found that women who die from abortions - most often in west and central Africa - often die as a result of complications from risky methods used in the the aforementioned "least safe" abortions and a lack of medical care. However, if we take the numbers at face value, the question arises: if there are so many unsafe abortions, why are these bodies campaigning for this medically unnecessary procedure in the very places in the world where complications are more likely, whether the abortion is legal or not?

Among developing regions, the proportion of abortions that were safe in Eastern Asia (including China) was similar to developed regions.

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The study also found that in countries where abortion is completely banned or permitted only to save the woman's life or preserve her physical health, only one in four abortions were safe; whereas, in countries where abortion is legal on broader grounds, almost 9 in 10 abortions were done safely. These regions also have some of the lowest abortion rates.

SPUC researcher Fiorella Nash has written before about how it is misleading to talk about "safe" and "unsafe" abortion.

In Latin America, only 1 in 4 abortions were safe, though the majority were categorized as "less safe", as it is increasingly common for women in the region to obtain and self-administer medicines like misoprostol outside of formal health systems. In these countries, 49.5% of abortions were unsafe.

The research offers evidence that women around the world continue to have abortions even when they live in areas where trained providers are scant and where the procedure is illegal. "Progress towards safer abortion is needed, even in some developed countries".

The solution? Dr Gunatra says: 'Increasing the availability, accessibility and affordability of contraception can reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancies, and therefore abortions, but it is essential to combine this strategy with interventions to ensure access to safe abortions.' First things first, though, let's sort out the stigma and laws surrounding women's abortion rights.

They found that, in total, about 55.7 million abortions occurred annually worldwide between 2010 and 2014. It simply makes it less safe for women.


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