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Every year, 40 million induced abortions occur globally (IPAS); and according to the 2000 estimates (WHO), 19 million unsafe abortions take place each year. According to WHO, approximately 68,000 women die annually as a result of complications of unsafe abortion; and between two million and seven million women each year survive unsafe abortion but sustain long-term damage or disease (incomplete abortion, infection (sepsis), haemorrhage, and injury to the internal organs, such as puncturing or tearing of the uterus).(IPAS) According to WHO statistics, one in ten pregnancies ends in an unsafe abortion. The risk rate for unsafe abortion is 1/270; according to other sources, unsafe abortion is responsible for one in eight maternal deaths.
In order to limit the number of deaths caused by unsafe abortion, WHO recommendations are priority for prevention of unplanned pregnancies, followed by improving the quality of abortion services and post-abortion care (when safe abortion services are not available, services to treat the complications of unsafe abortion can consume up to 50% of hospital resources).
- Unsafe abortion in the world
- where abortion is illegal: Abortion law
- where abortion is legal, but there is lack of provision of medical services
|Region||Unsafe Abortion Risk of Dying||<math>(Unsafe Abortion)/(Maternal Deaths)* 100</math>|
|Africa||1 in 150||13%|
|Asia||1 in 250||12%|
|Latin America||1 in 900||21%|
|Europe||1 in 1900||17%|
The wire coat hanger method was a popularly known back alley abortion procedure, although they were not the norm. In fact, Mary Calderone, former medical director of Planned Parenthood, said, in a 1960 printing of the American Journal of Public Health:
- "Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physician. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind…Second, and even more important, the conference [on abortion sponsored by Planned Parenthood] estimated that 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians…Whatever trouble arises usually arises from self-induced abortions, which comprise approximately 8 percent, or with the very small percentage that go to some kind of non-medical abortionist…So remember…abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians."
The back-alley abortion phenomenon received public attention leading up to the legal proceedings of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 United States Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in America. Since then, it has become a central argument on the part of some prominent legal abortion advocates. The publication in Ms. magazine of a photo of Gerri Santoro, who died of blood loss following a back-alley abortion, was used extensively to illustrate the dangers of illegal abortions.
Bernard Nathanson, a pro-life doctor who, by his account, formerly performed thousands of abortions, has renounced statistics of women who allegedly died from back-alley abortions in the United States. He has asserted on numerous occasions that he and several other colleagues, who later became instrumental in abortion's legalization, had fabricated and disseminated many statistics about back-alley abortions for the purpose of leading the public to adhere to their justification for abortion.
- ↑ Excludes Japan, Australia and New Zealand
- ↑ Primarily Eastern Europe
- ↑ Confession of an Ex-Abortionist by Dr. Bernard Nathanson
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