Nearly Half of Abortions Worldwide Considered Unsafe

Nearly Half of Abortions Around the World Are Unsafe

Abortions: easier to obtain than ever, yet nearly half worldwide are deemed unsafe, study finds

According to research by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute, a US reproductive health think tank, nearly all of the 25.5 million unsafe abortions are happening in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"Even though it's hard to measure and estimate something like abortion where data is limited, trying to get a handle at least of figuring out what the burden of unsafe abortion might be is important to begin to address the problem", study author Dr. Bela Ganatra, a scientist at the WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research, told CBS News.

For the first time, the study includes sub-classifications within the unsafe abortion category as less safe or least safe. "But despite recent advances in technology and evidence, too many unsafe abortions still occur, and too many women continue to suffer and die".

Analyzing records for abortion globally, the research team deemed 55 percent of all terminations between 2010 and 2014 "safe".

The new analysis distinguished, for the first time, among three categories of abortion: safe, meaning a trained provider used a method recommended by World Health Organization; less-safe, meaning either the provider was untrained or the method was outdated; and least-safe, meaning an untrained provider used risky methods.

It says that in addition, there are eight million "least safe" abortions by untrained people using herbs or non-medical tools.

Unsafe abortions can lead to complications, such as heavy bleeding, infection, damage to genitals or internal organs, or an incomplete abortion, such as when all of the pregnancy tissue is not removed from the uterus, according to WHO.

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In developed countries, almost 88 percent of abortions were safe - meaning less-safe abortions also occurred in these nations, primarily in Eastern Europe.

Northern Europe and Northern America are now the safest places to get an abortion, but many are anxious that North America may become unsafe due to the current administration's view on the procedure.

The share of safe abortions exceeded 50 per cent in only three developing world regions: southeastern Asia (60 per cent), western Asia (52 per cent), and southern Africa (74 per cent).

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

The report defines two seperate categories of unsafe abortions.

September 28 marks the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.

And yet, "unsafe abortion is still a major problem in developing countries", they concluded. 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. "Now, these are very safe medicines but in these situations women have to use it without any guarantee about the quality of the drugs, without the appropriate information, or somebody to go to for support".

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

Abortion is illegal in Nigeria unless to save the life of the mother.

She pointed to Nepal, Ethiopia, and Uruguay as examples of countries that have made progress in expanding access to safe abortion procedures, she said.

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.

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.

The number of abortions around the world each year between 2010 and 2014. This law, known as the Global Gag Rule, forbids the US's federal funds from going towards any organisation that so much as mentions "abortion" in its documents.

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