A Joint news released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Guttmacher Institute published on Thursday has revealed that 25 million unsafe abortions are performed annually with 31% performed using sharp curettage between 2010 and 2014.
The study further states that about 14% “least safe” abortions are provided by untrained persons using dangerous methods, including herbal concoctions especially in Africa and Asia.
Bela Ganatra, lead author of the study and a scientist in the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research said, “Increased efforts are needed, especially in developing regions, to ensure access to contraception and safe abortion,”
“When women and girls cannot access effective contraception and safe abortion services, there are serious consequences for their own health and that of their families. This should not happen. But despite recent advances in technology and evidence, too many unsafe abortions still occur, and too many women continue to suffer and die.” Bela said.
Complications from “least-safe” abortions can include incomplete abortion (failure to remove all of the pregnancy tissue from the uterus), haemorrhage, vaginal, cervical and uterine injury, and infections.
The study also looks at the contexts that commonly result in women seeking unsafe abortions, including countries’ laws and policies on abortion, the financial cost of accessing safe abortion services, the availability of safe abortion services and trained health providers, and societal attitudes toward abortion and gender equality.
In countries where abortion is completely banned or permitted only to save the woman’s life or preserve her physical health, only 1 in 4 abortions was safe; whereas, in countries where abortion is legal on broader grounds, nearly 9 in 10 abortions were done safely.
Gilda Sedgh, co-author of the study and principal research scientist Guttmacher Institute 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,”
“In the high-income countries of North America and Western and Northern Europe, where abortion is broadly legal and health systems are strong, the incidence of unsafe abortions is the lowest globally,” Gilda said.
It noted that “the problem is especially acute in 62 countries where women are forbidden to end their pregnancies early, or where they can only do so if their health is at risk.”