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Abortion safety a global problem

Thursday September 28th, 2017

Nearly half of all the abortions performed worldwide are unsafe, researchers warn today.

The problem lies with the uses of unsafe methods in some countries, even when the procedure is legal, according to the study in The Lancet.

According to the analysis, some 25 million unsafe abortions take place annually out of a total of 55 million. Most of the unsafe procedures are in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Of the unsafe procedures, two thirds are done by trained providers using out-dated methods – or by safe methods, such as mifoprostol, with a trained practitioner being involved.

About eight million procedures are performed by untrained people using dangerous or invasive methods, according to the analysis.

The research found that 14% of procedures were unsafe in Eastern Europe, usually because of the use of out-dated methods.

The researchers say the proportion of safe procedures is highest in countries with the least restrictive laws.

Researcher Dr Bela Ganatra, of the World Health Organisation, said: "Our findings call for the need to ensure access to safe abortions to the full extent of the law, particularly in low income regions of the world, and efforts are needed to replace the use of unsafe methods with safe methods.

“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.”

Lancet 28 September 2017 [abstract]

Tags: Africa | Asia | Childbirth and Pregnancy | South America | Women's Health & Gynaecology | World Health

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