Half of world's abortions deemed unsafe by WHO

29 September, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Wilson Dawson
  • DRCONGO-RELIGION-HEALTH

Worldwide, 25 million unsafe abortions occurred every year between 2010 and 2014, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Guttmacher Institute.

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

"Our findings call for the need to ensure access to safe abortions to the full extent of the law, particularly in low income regions", said Ganatra.

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. The further eight million were performed under desperate circumstances - named "least safe" - and included toxic pills and inserting wires to force a miscarriage, among other methods. These were abortions that were done by a trained provider but with an outdated method, or if the abortion was done with a safe method but without the support of a trained person.

Some 14.4 per cent of all recent abortions - more than eight million per year - fell into the "least safe" group, meaning those provided by untrained individuals using risky or invasive methods. Overall, the vast majority of "less safe" and "least safe" abortions take place in Africa, Asia and Latin America - areas that tend to have the most restrictive laws.

Eastern Asia, including China, had a distribution similar to developed regions, Ganatra said.

The percentage of the world's unsafe abortions that occurred in developing countries.

"And that is surprising because safe abortion is a simple intervention, scientifically speaking", said Dr Bela Ganatra of WHO department's of reproductive health and research.


The researchers cautioned that reliable abortion data are hard to obtain, especially in places where it is illegal or otherwise stigmatized. "It is also a tragedy, and a scandal, that resources are being diverted from providing essential maternal health care to the provision of abortion, under the guise of decreasing unsafe abortion".

A separate study found that in 2012 nearly 7 million women were treated for complications of unsafe abortions in the developing world.

And yet, "unsafe abortion is still a major problem in developing countries", they concluded.

"This study gives us the first global estimates of how often women are able to find safe abortions, even if they are not getting legal abortions".

The number of "least safe" abortions.

Ms. Ganatra said to prevent unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, countries must make supportive policies and financial commitments to provide comprehensive sexuality education; a wide range of contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception; accurate family planning counselling; and access to safe, legal abortion.

Indeed, complications from in-clinic and medication abortions (when done following the correct procedures and under the guidance of a trained individual) are extremely rare. Only 25.2% of abortions were safe in countries where abortion is banned or allowed only in cases where it is necessary to save a woman's life or preserve her health.

Differing laws around the world had an impact on abortion safety around the world, according to the study.

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