Induced Abortion -- a Global Health Problem
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 1997; 76(Suppl. 164): 43-45.
Every year around 500,000 women are estimated to die from pregnancy-related causes, the majority in the developing world and many as a consequence of unsafe abortion. Around 25 per cent of maternal deaths in Asia and 30-50 per cent of maternal deaths in Africa and Latin America occur as a result of induced abortion. Data on abortion related maternal morbidity is less reliable than mortality but suggests that for every maternal death 10-15 women suffer significant pregnancy-related morbidity, i.e. infertility, genito-urinary problems and/or chronic pain. Induced abortion occurs in practically every society in the world but only 40 per cent of the women in the world live in countries where abortion is legally free. A permissive legislation is an important prerequisite for medically safe and early abortion. Oppositely, with a restrictive law, abortion is difficult to obtain, costly and possibly unsafe, in particular to the least affluent women in the society. Induced abortion in a developed country with legal and easy access to services is a safe procedure with hardly any mortality and very low morbidity. The best strategy to reduce the number of unsafe abortions is prevention of unwanted pregnancy. The consequences of unsafe abortion on women's health need to be acknowledged by everybody in the society in order to improve abortion care. It is necessary to adjust legal and other barriers to medically safe abortion in order to follow the declaration at the UN conference on population in Cairo, 1994, which stated that abortion, wherever legal, should be safe. It is also necessary to introduce preventive measures where abortions are performed, i.e. good and easily accessible family planning services.
Abortion; Contraception; Death; Developing Countries; Economics; Education; Family Planning; Health; Health Education; Health Services; Illegal Abortion; Indigents; Infertility; Induced Abortion; Law; Legal Aspects; Legislation; Maternal Health; Morbidity; Mortality; Pain; Pregnancy; Resource Allocation; Social Impact; Statistics; Therapeutic Abortion; Women's Health; Women's Health Services;
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