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Estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year globally

29 September 2017

Based on the World Health Organization definition, an unsafe abortion results from a pregnancy that is terminated either by someone who lacks the necessary medical skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both. For the first time, it includes sub-classifications within the unsafe abortion category as less safe or least safe. Abortions performed by trained providers through evidence-based approaches are safe, she said.

At the bottom of the scale, we find abortions "less safe" (up 14.4 % or $ 8 million), as made by people who are not trained and use methods that are unsafe and/or invasive procedures (ingestion of caustic substances, insertion of foreign bodies, use of concoctions-traditional).

About 8 million abortions, or 14 percent, were classified as "least safe".

The lead author of the report told United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian: "Safe abortion is a very safe procedure".

In developed countries, 87.5% of abortions are considered " safe ".

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Majority of unsafe abortions, or 97 percent, occurred in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency said.

Bela Ganatra, a WHO expert who is the lead author of the study, said when women and girls can not access effective contraception and safe abortion services, there are serious consequences on their health and that of their families.

The researchers themselves noted in the study that, in general, empirical data on abortions were scarce, especially in countries where abortions were legally restricted, stigmatized or less likely to be reported. These regions also have some of the lowest abortion rates.

This has meant that this region has seen fewer deaths and fewer severe complications from unsafe abortions.

The study called for less restrictive laws on abortions as this will go a long way in saving women's lives and also encourage women who have to perform the act seek the help of trained officers. "Now, these are very safe medicines but in these situations women have to use it without any guarantee about the quality of the drugs, without the appropriate information, or somebody to go to for support".

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Overall, nearly all abortions in developed countries were deemed safe, whereas roughly half of those in developing countries were safe, according to the findings.

To prevent unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, countries must make supportive policies and financial commitments to provide comprehensive sexuality education; a wide range of contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception; accurate family planning counselling; and access to safe, legal abortion.

Unsafe abortion occurs when a pregnancy is terminated either by persons lacking the necessary skills/information or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both.

The report authors say that in order to address the high numbers of unsafe abortions around the world, more efforts are needed to ensure that unsafe methods are replaced with up-to-date methods, and more monitoring is needed to address gaps in care.

Between 2010 and 2014, there were 55.7 million abortions per year, worldwide.

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Estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year globally