WHO report: 25 million unsafe abortions performed each year

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

The World Health Organization (WHO) has shed light on the continued prevalence of unsafe abortions in many parts of the world.

Research from WHO and the Guttmacher Institute published in The Lancet has shown that 45 percent of all abortions carried out year between 2010 and 2014 were unsafe, equating to around 25 million unsafe abortions a year on a global basis.

“An estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year, according to new research from the World Health Organization.“

Developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America accounted for 97 percent of these cases, in which pregnancies are terminated by persons lacking the necessary skills or information, or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards.

In countries where abortion is completely banned or permitted only to protect the woman's life or physical health, only one in four abortions were safe, compared to nine in ten in countries where abortion is legal on broader grounds.

Given that restricting access to abortions was not shown to reduce the number of abortions, this underlines a potential need for legal reform in many areas.

Study leader Dr Bela Ganatra, of the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said: "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."

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