Sexual and reproductive health

Safe abortion: Technical & policy guidance for health systems

Legal and policy considerations - Key messages


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Publication details

Number of pages: 10
Publication date: June 2015
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/RHR/15.04


Over the past two decades, the health evidence, technologies and human rights rationale for providing safe, comprehensive abortion care have evolved greatly. However, despite these advances, based on 2008 data, WHO estimates that there are approximately 22 million unsafe abortions annually, resulting in 47 000 deaths and 5 million complications resulting in hospital admission ( 1,2 ). Nearly all unsafe abortions (98%) occurred in low- and middle-income countries. One of the factors driving unsafe abortion is the lack of safe abortion services, even where they are legal.

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