Global, Regional, and Subregional Classification of Abortions by Safety, 2010-14

Global, Regional, and Subregional Classification of Abortions by Safety, 2010-14

Of the abortions performed worldwide between 2010 and 2014, 45 percent were "unsafe" — that is, not provided by a trained health worker using a WHO-recommended method — and involved risk of severe complications and/or death, a report from the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute finds. The report, Global, Regional, and Subregional Classification of Abortions by Safety, 2010–14: Estimates From a Bayesian Hierarchical Model (10 pages, PDF), found that 97 percent of the twenty-five million unsafe abortions performed every year over that period took place in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; that 31 percent of all abortions were performed by a trained provider using an unsafe or outdated method or by an untrained person using a safe method (e.g., misoprostol); and that 14 percent were performed by untrained persons using unsafe methods. The report also found that in countries where abortion is completely banned or allowed only to protect a pregnant woman's life or physical health, only one in four abortions were safe, whereas in countries where abortion is legal on broader grounds nearly nine ten were performed safely.