The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the dangers of restricting access to legal abortion, which causes 25 million unsafe abortions worldwide each year, with a high risk to women’s health.
14% of abortions are performed with dangerous techniques such as herbs or unfit instruments.
According to WHO data’s, every year between 2010 and 2014, 25 million dangerous abortions were carried out worldwide, and 97% of them take place in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
These figures have been obtained by the WHO and the Guttmacher Institute in a study that has been published in The Lancet, which also indicates that 55% of the abortions performed each year were safe (ie the risk of death or complications was insignificant).
In contrast, 31% of voluntary terminations of pregnancy were “less safe,” says the WHO, because they used either a dangerous method such as instrumental uterine curettage , performed by a qualified doctor, or a safe procedure, but in the hands of a person without medical knowledge.
Finally, in 14% of abortions, dangerous techniques such as herbal blends, or the introduction of unsafe objects into the vagina, which may lead to incomplete abortions, vaginal lesions, bleeding or infections, among other complications.
Restrictive laws raise the number of unsafe abortions
The study also took into account the position of countries against voluntary termination of pregnancy and, it says, restricting access to abortions does not reduce their number. Bela Ganatra, lead author of the study, has stated that when women can not have access to contraception or a safe abortions, they can have serious consequences for their health, and even death.
In addition, the paper shows data stating that countries in Western Europe and North America that have legal abortion policies and free access to contraceptives are those with the highest rates of safe procedures – over 90%, and the lowest rates of voluntary termination of pregnancy. Unlike in countries where it is banned, such as Africa, Latin America or South West Asia, where rates are higher and only one in four abortions are performed in safe settings and with qualified doctors.
For this reason, WHO recommends countries to support sex education , contraceptive methods, family planning, and access to abortion safely and legally.