Unsafe Abortions On The Rise


Almost half of all abortions performed globally are done so without trained clinical assistance. That’s according to a new study by the World Health Organization.

Overall abortion rates have remained steady at 28 per 1,000 women a year. But the number of unsafe abortions rose significantly from 44% in 1995 to 49% in 2008. Unsafe abortion is one of the main contributors to maternal death and includes procedures outside hospitals, clinics and surgeries, or without qualified medical supervision.

Unsafe abortions are especially common in developing countries, particularly those countries with more restrictive abortion laws. In Africa, for example, 97% of the abortions performed are considered unsafe, compared to 95% in Latin America, 40% in Asia and 9% in Europe.

The WHO also found that countries with restrictive abortion laws did not have any corresponding decrease in the number of abortions performed. In fact, usually the opposite was true, proving yet again that criminalizing abortion does not end abortion, it just unnecessarily risks women’s lives.

Most disturbing from the report is the inescapable conclusion that the progress made during the 1990s in making abortions safer has not just stalled, it has reversed. Setting policy that stigmatizes women and criminalizes the need to end a pregnancy is nothing short of a complete failure of public health policy.

Family planning saves lives, especially in the developing world. Whether it is legal or illegal will will seek and obtain abortions because abortions are a fundamental component of women’s health care. It’s time we recognize it as such.


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Photo from Demion via flickr.

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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

Well said, Martha!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

very sad

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle3 years ago

Developing countries are most at risk, but the repubs are trying to turn America back to the time when poor women, who could not afford to travel outside the country for an abortion, died from infection from self-or poorly trained abortionists. We are coming to that, when some states do not have even one abortion clinic for women to go to. Tragic.

Suzanne Loewen
SuzanneAWAY L.3 years ago

Family planning not only saves lives but enriches the quality of family life. I grew up seeing parents who produced more kids than they could afford to house, feed or give any meaningful attention to. Neither parents nor children had a great life in these families.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

One to put on the account of the Republicans, quelle surprise?

Lika S.
Lika S.3 years ago

Yet radicals want to limit or ban these procedures to endanger even MORE lives...

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

harm nothing... that should be out motto.

Luvenia V.
Luvenia V.3 years ago

Joy D., NO one is asking for your sympathy. The only problem most people have with your attitude is that you want to dictate the lives of others. You see that is the difference between a Liberal and a Conservative, a Liberal will stand beside you and help you protect your rights and a Conservative will stand beside you demanding you give up your rights.

Don’t like abortions, don’t have one. Don’t like birth control, don’t take it and if you don’t want to have sex cross your legs and say no BUT stop shoving YOUR beliefs on others and for heaven’s sake lay off the CAP button. There are lots of countries that belief as you, meaning they have control from the cradle to the grave and some of them will surely take YOU!!!

Willie S.
Willie S.3 years ago

Many existing laws and regulations apply specifically to pregnant women. Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act offer new benefits for expecting mothers. Search online for "Penny Medical" if you need affordable insurance for yourself or your wife.

joe M.
joe MARTINEZ3 years ago

Tom: Logic and wisdom is on the side of right. Women must unite and spread the word to protect their rights. And allow no god damn religious ideologist to suceed in over turning Roe verus wade.