Unsafe Abortion Effects: Dangers Associated with Unsafe Abortion
- Abortion is a common medical procedure, and its safety relies on adherence to WHO-recommended methods, pregnancy stage, and the competence of the healthcare provider.
- Approximately 60% of unintended pregnancies result in induced abortions.
- About 45% of all abortions are categorized as unsafe, with 97% of these taking place in developing nations.
- Unsafe abortion is a preventable contributor to maternal mortality, causing physical and mental health issues, and imposing social and economic burdens.
- The lack of access to safe, timely, affordable, and respectful abortion care is a significant public health and human rights concern.
- Globally, around 73 million induced abortions occur annually, with 61% of unintended pregnancies ending in induced abortion.
- WHO added comprehensive abortion care to its list of essential health services in 2020, highlighting its simplicity when managed appropriately.
- Comprehensive abortion care encompasses information, abortion procedures, and post-abortion care, focusing on induced abortion in this context.
The Extent of the Issue
- While safe abortion is achievable when recommended methods are followed, barriers often lead to unsafe abortion in cases of unintended pregnancy.
- Global estimates from 2010-2014 indicate that 45% of induced abortions are unsafe, with one-third considered highly unsafe, often performed by untrained individuals.
- Developing countries bear the brunt of unsafe abortions, with over 97% occurring there. Asia and Africa have the highest rates of unsafe abortions.
Unsafe Abortion Effects
- The lack of access to safe, affordable, and respectful abortion care, coupled with stigma, poses threats to women’s physical and mental health.
- This inaccessibility infringes on various human rights, including the right to life, the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to make choices about reproduction.
- Unsafe abortion contributes to maternal mortality, with developing regions experiencing a significantly higher death rate compared to developed regions.
Physical Risks Associated with Unsafe Abortion
- Unsafe abortion can result in complications such as incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, infection, uterine perforation, and damage to genital organs.
- Restrictive abortion regulations can add to the distress, stigma, and financial burden on women, potentially violating their rights.
Unsafe Abortion Effects: Economic Impact
- Complications from unsafe abortions cost developing country health systems $553 million annually, with households losing $922 million in income due to long-term disability.
- Greater access to modern contraception and safe abortion could lead to substantial monetary savings.
Expanding Quality Abortion Care
- Restricting abortion access doesn’t reduce abortion rates but increases the likelihood of unsafe abortions.
- Barriers include high costs, stigma, refusal by healthcare providers based on personal beliefs, and restrictive laws.
- An enabling environment for quality abortion care comprises respecting human rights, accessible information, and a well-functioning healthcare system.
Also read: Laws on Abortion in Ghana: Legal and Illegal
- WHO provides global guidance on contraception, abortion care, and related policies.
- It maintains the Global Abortion Policies Database, offering comprehensive information on abortion laws worldwide.
- WHO supports countries in adapting sexual and reproductive health guidelines and is developing a monitoring framework for quality abortion care.
- WHO collaborates with the HRP on research related to abortion care, regulation, stigma, and global unsafe abortion burden.
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