Report finds almost half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe

DRCONGO-RELIGION-HEALTH

The results also show that countries with high proportions of safe procedures were also more likely to have less restrictive abortion laws.

For the first time, the study includes sub-classifications within the unsafe abortion category as less safe or least safe. 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.

When abortions are performed in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines and standards, the risk of severe complications or death is negligible it said.

"Like many other common medical procedures, abortion is very safe when done in accordance with recommended medical guidelines and that is important to bear in mind", says Dr Gilda Sedgh, co-author of the study and principal research scientist, Guttmacher Institute.

Nearly one-third (31percent) of abortions were "less safe", meaning they were either performed by a trained provider using an unsafe or outdated method such as "sharp curettage", or by an untrained person albeit using a safe method like misoprostol, a drug that can be used for many medical purposes, including to induce an abortion.

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.

In Africa, the least safe abortions were associated with higher rates of death, likely due to serious complications and poor health systems, the researchers said.

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Safe abortion care is not impossible to achieve in developing countries, Ganatra said, pointing out that Nepal, Uruguay and Ethiopia have made great progress in expanding access to abortion services in recent years.

The authors of the study have used a scale of three levels to assess as precisely as possible the practices of abortion: "safe", "less secure" and " less safe ".

Most abortions that take place in Western and Northern Europe and North America are safe.

The percentage of abortions that were safe in low-income countries.

Unsurprisingly, 87.5% all abortions in developed countries were safe.

About 55 percent of all abortions across the world are safe, the researchers found.

"When women and girls can not access effective contraception and safe abortion services, there are serious consequences for their own health and that of their families".

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The researchers cautioned that reliable abortion data are hard to obtain, especially in places where it is illegal or otherwise stigmatized. This is not how things are done in a medical or surgical abortion, but it is how some of the world's most disadvantaged women are treated in lieu of decent healthcare. This is because these places, like northern Europe and northern America 'have less restrictive laws on abortion, high contraceptive use, high economic development, high levels of gender equality and well developed health infrastructures'.

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

"I have studied women who are unable to get a legal abortion in six countries: the United States, Colombia, Tunisia, South Africa, Bangladesh and Nepal".

US President Donald Trump has reinstated a policy that requires foreign NGOs that receive US global family planning funds to certify that they do not perform abortions or provide abortion advice as a method of family planning.

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

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

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