Monday, 11 December, 2017

Some 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year, United Nations health agency warns

Activists holding placards supporting safe and legal abortions take part in a pro-abortion demonstration in Santiago Chile Activists holding placards supporting safe and legal abortions take part in a pro-abortion demonstration in Santiago Chile
Jerome Frank | 29 September, 2017, 00:50

Another 31 percent fell into that less safe category, which would also include a woman who had her abortion with a trained, qualified professional who used an outdated method.

The least safe abortions were provided by untrained individuals using risky methods, including ingestion of caustic substances, insertion of foreign objects, or use of traditional concoctions like roots and herbs.

"Deaths from complications of unsafe abortion were high in regions where most abortions happened in the least safe circumstances".

Almost 88 percent of abortions in developed countries were safe, with the exception of Eastern Europe where the proportion of unsafe abortions was slightly higher, likely because of the use of outdated practices in that region, the researchers said.

"Despite that", Ganatra continued, "we still have one in two abortions that are unsafe because of all the other barriers that exist around the issue".

The researchers estimated that 54.9 percent of the 55.7 million abortions that occurred worldwide each year between 2010 and 2014 were safe, 30.7 percent were less safe, and 14.4 percent were least safe.

The percentage of abortions that were safe in low-income countries. In these countries, economic development, gender equality and contraceptive use are all high, suggesting a formula for making abortion safe and rare anywhere, the team wrote. In South-Central Asia, however, less than 1 in 2 abortions were safe.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on abortion. And in absence of legal abortions, women often put their lives at risk by seeking out abortions from those that are not trained to provide them.

Dr Bela Gunatra, lead author of the study, said that resources are no longer as much of a problem, owing to the availability - at least, in theory - of medical, pill-induced abortions.

The researchers themselves noted in the study that, in general, empirical data on abortions were scarce, especially in countries where abortions were legally restricted, stigmatized or less likely to be reported. In these countries, 49.5% of abortions were unsafe.

"Countries must make abortion legal to make them safe, " the World Health Organization said and called for policies that would improve sex education, access to contraception and family planning.

Unsafe abortion occurs when a pregnancy is terminated either by persons lacking the necessary skills/information or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both.

Provision of safe, legal abortion is essential to fulfilling the global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health (target 3.7). Similarly, it can be extremely hard for doctors to distinguish between complications caused by miscarriage and induced abortion.

Between 2010 and 2014, there were 55.7 million abortions per year, worldwide.

The database aims to promote greater transparency of abortion laws and policies, as well as to improve countries' accountability for the protection of women and girls' health and human rights.

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