Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems
Over the past two decades, the health evidence, technologies and human rights rationale for providing safe, comprehensive abortion care have evolved greatly. Despite these advances, an estimated 22 million abortions continue to be performed unsafely each year, resulting in the death of an estimated 47 000 women and disabilities for an additional 5 million women (1). Almost every one of these deaths and disabilities could have been prevented through sexuality education, family planning, and the provision of safe, legal induced abortion and care for complications of abortion. In nearly all developed countries, safe abortions are legally available upon request or under broad social and economic grounds, and services are generally easily accessible and available. In countries where induced abortion is legally highly restricted and/or unavailable, safe abortion has frequently become the privilege of the rich, while poor women have little choice but to resort to unsafe providers, causing deaths and morbidities that become the social and financial responsibility of the public health system.