Abortion is a common health intervention. It is safe when carried out using a method recommended by WHO, appropriate to the pregnancy duration, and by someone with the necessary skills.
- Six out of 10 of all unintended pregnancies end in an induced abortion.
- Around 45% of all abortions are unsafe, of which 97% take place in developing countries.
- Unsafe abortion is a leading – but preventable – cause of maternal deaths and morbidities.
- It can lead to physical and mental health complications and social and financial burdens for women, communities, and health systems.
- Lack of access to safe, timely, affordable, and respectful abortion care is a critical public health and human rights issue.
- There are 16 countries where abortion is prohibited altogether, a list that includes Egypt, Iraq, the Philippines, Laos, Senegal, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
- About three dozen other countries allow it only to save the life of the mother, a list that includes Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. Around 40 percent of women of reproductive age live in places where abortion access is illegal or limited.
- Women in Malta are denied access to abortion, even if their lives are at risk. It is the only European Union member state that completely prohibits the procedure. Women who have abortions face up to three years in jail.
- Anti-abortion laws in the Philippines derive from its time as a Spanish colony. Abortion has been prohibited for more than a century. About 1,000 Filipino women die each year from complications.
- Spain is among more than 50 countries that have liberalized abortion laws over the past quarter-century.
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Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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