Report reveals true cost of unsafe abortions

A report has been released by BJOG, the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, about how many women in the developing world require hospital treatment following an unsafe abortion

Complications following unsafe abortions have caused more than seven million women per year in the developing world to be hospitalised, a study has found.

The research published by BJOG, which is an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, used data from 26 countries and included those who received private medical care. However, those treated following a miscarriage were excluded.

It found the country with the highest rate of treatment (14.6 per 1,000 women aged 15-44) following unsafe abortion was Pakistan while the lowest (2.4 per 1,000) was in Brazil.

The study was commissioned to expand on previous work which had revealed around 800 women a day die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Unsafe abortion accounted for around 8-15% of these.

Additionally, an estimated $232 million - equivalent to £148 million - is spent each year by healthcare providers on post-abortion care in the developing world.

Dr Susheela Singh, of the Guttmacher Institute and lead author of the study, said: 'We already know that around 22 million unsafe abortions take place each year, resulting in the death of at least 22,000 women.

'These latest statistics represent only part of the problem as they do not include women who need care, but do not visit health facilities.'

John Thorp, deputy editor-in-chief of BJOG, added: 'This study demonstrates the importance of understanding the scope of the global problem in providing appropriate emergency care and counselling for these women, and in providing better reproductive healthcare to reduce unsafe termination of pregnancy.'

Read the full report online here 

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