Unsafe abortion

Every woman has the recognized human right to decide the number, spacing and timing of their children, freely and responsibly without coercion and violence. The right to have the information and means to space their children, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health have been recognized at the historical International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. Access to legal and safe abortion is essential for the realization of these rights. However, based on data from 2010–2014 there are approximately 25 million unsafe abortions annually. Among these, one third or approximately 8 million were performed under the least safe conditions by untrained persons using dangerous and invasive methods. Unsafe abortions lead to an estimated 7 million complications(*1).

In developing regions, it is estimated that 220 women die for every 100,000 unsafe abortions, whereas 30 women die per 100,000 unsafe abortions in developed regions. No women should die of unsafe abortions, but again the situation disproportionately affect women in developing regions especially Sub-Saharan Africa, where 520 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions occur. While Africa accounts for 29% of all unsafe abortions, it bears 62% of unsafe abortion-related deaths. Women’s rights to choose and receive the provision of family planning services are critical, but when pregnancy ends in abortion, the service needs to be legal and safe.

*1 Source: WHO 2020