Report finds almost half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe

The headquarters of the World Health Organization are

That meant they were performed using a WHO-recommended method - medical abortion, vacuum aspiration, or dilatation and evacuation - and involved at least one trained person.

The number of "least safe" abortions. The further eight million were performed under desperate circumstances - named "least safe" - and included toxic pills and inserting wires to force a miscarriage, among other methods.

"Least-safe" abortions are performed by untrained individuals using unsafe methods. This is not how things are done in a medical or surgical abortion, but it is how some of the world's most disadvantaged women are treated in lieu of decent healthcare.

Safe abortion care is not impossible to achieve in developing countries, Ganatra said, pointing out that Nepal, Uruguay and Ethiopia have made great progress in expanding access to abortion services in recent years.

Less than 25% of abortions in most regions of Africa and Latin America were considered safe.

While working in Zambia, she saw many women with serious infections and suffering from heavy bleeding as a result of having an unsafe abortion.

"The vast majority of unsafe abortions in Africa were categorised as "least safe", and were associated with high rates of death", the researchers said in a statement.

They found that, in total, about 55.7 million abortions occurred annually worldwide between 2010 and 2014. Deaths are highest in west and central Africa, at around 450 women per 100,000 abortions.

"When women and girls can not access effective contraceptives and safe abortion services, there are serious consequences for their own health and that of their families".

Jašarević said that a lack of trained providers, stigma and legal barriers prevent many women from being able to access safe abortion procedures.

The new figures, from the World Health Organization with the Guttmacher Institute, are published in the Lancet medical journal at a time when global family planning organisations are deeply concerned over cuts to their budgets announced by the Trump administration in the United States.

And yet, "unsafe abortion is still a major problem in developing countries", they concluded.

Provision of safe, legal abortion is essential to fulfilling the global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health (target 3.7).

"In the high-income countries of North America and Western and Northern Europe, where abortion is broadly legal and health systems are strong, the incidence of unsafe abortions is the lowest globally". This is because these places, like northern Europe and northern America 'have less restrictive laws on abortion, high contraceptive use, high economic development, high levels of gender equality and well developed health infrastructures'.

In countries where abortion is available upon request, more than 87 per cent of abortions were deemed safe.

The research offers evidence that women around the world continue to have abortions even when they live in areas where trained providers are scant and where the procedure is illegal.

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