Six out of every ten unintended pregnancies end in a deliberate abortion. Undoubtedly, abortion is a basic healthcare need for anyone who can get pregnant. However, due to ethical, moral and religious constraints, access to safe abortion continues to be a challenge for many women all over the world. Meanwhile, when women do not have access to safe abortion, they very often resort to unsafe means if they want to terminate a pregnancy.
Safe and unsafe abortions
When the abortion process is done according to the WHO’s recommendation, or by someone who has the necessary skill, it is considered safe. The consequences of a lack of access to quality abortion care are seen in increased maternal disability and mortality and a high cost of post-abortion treatment.
There is very strong evidence that ties unsafe abortions to increased maternal deaths. Almost half of all abortions are unsafe. Apparently, up to 99.5% of these unsafe abortions take place in developing countries. It shouldn’t come as a shock that unsafe abortion is a common cause of maternal mortality with most of it occurring in developing countries.
Abortions and maternal mortality
When a woman dies while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, it is called maternal mortality. Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal deaths and as such, reducing maternal mortality requires a non-bias healthcare system and removal of restrictive abortion laws that contribute to a higher rate of unsafe abortions.
What are your reproductive rights?
Your reproductive right is your legal ability to make your own choices about pregnancy, birth control and having children. It includes access to sex education, birth control, assisted reproduction, and family planning.
The United Nations ICPD programme of 1994 stated that “every individual has the right to decide freely and responsibly – without discrimination, coercion and violence – the number, spacing and timing of their children, and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.
However, given the political and emotional arguments that surround the subject of abortion, your reproductive rights may depend on your age, country or state.
In a country such as Argentina, abortion is legal and can be carried out up until 14 weeks of gestation. In other countries, abortion is permitted only to save a woman’s life.
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, all countries fall under six categories according to their abortion laws.
Prohibited altogether. 5 percent of women of reproductive age live in such countries.
Only to save the woman’s life. 22 percent of women of reproductive age live in such countries.
To preserve health. 14 percent of women of reproductive age live in such countries.
Broad social or economic grounds. 23 percent of women of reproductive age live in such countries.
On request. 72 countries and 36 percent of women of reproductive age fall into this category.
Trusted sources online to learn more about abortion and contraception
safe2choose.org is an online counselling and informational platform that supports women who want an abortion with pills or surgical abortion, and when needed, refers them to trusted, trained and pro-choice healthcare providers. Our team includes multilingual counsellors, medical doctors and experts in public health and international development that work together to provide our audiences with accurate information about safe abortion. We support and respect women to make their own decisions regarding their bodies and reproductive health
Findmymethod.org (also known as guiadesexoseguro.org) is an online platform that provides accessible and inclusive sex positive contraception content and tools in 14 languages, as well as a supportive environment to discuss these topics worldwide. It helps find the right contraceptive method for each person and defends the idea that safe and healthy sex is for everyone, as every individual deserves a fulfilling, satisfying sex life.
HowToUse is a one stop online global resource for information and resources on medical abortions. Our website provides simple instructions on how to use the medical abortion pills including what to consider before and after an abortion with pills. We also provide free abortion multilingual eLearning courses, country-specific abortion information on 57 countries and is currently translated into 27 languages. Our support extends to WhatsApp with Ally, our safe abortion assistant, who’s equipped to answer all your abortion-related questions and queries in a private manner.