Perspectives on Safe Abortion in Africa

In the wake of Kelly Castagnaro’s recent post honoring the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that made access to safe abortion legal in the United States, I’d like to share two important new resources on safe abortion in Africa.

The first is a recent article from the Reproductive Health Matters journal entitled “Delay in the provision of adequate care to women who died from abortion-related complications in the principal maternity hospital of Gabon.” The article was highlighted in the International Planned Parenthood Federation‘s January newsletter on abortion. An excerpt:

“Deaths resulting from unsafe induced abortions represent a major component of maternal mortality in countries with restrictive abortion laws.”

The article also details the ways in which preventable delays in health care severely undermine women’s health:

“Delay in initiating care was far greater in cases of women with complications of unsafe abortion compared to other pregnancy-related complications. Such delays may constitute an important determinant of the risk of death in women with abortion-related complications.”

These unacceptable effects of unsafe abortion can be alleviated through the expanded availability and quality of safe abortion services as part of comprehensive reproductive health policies and programs around the world.

Also this month, AllAfrica reports that in Uganda, “Abortion is Legal but We [Ugandan Women] Just Don’t Know It“. This article provides an on-the-ground perspective regarding the myths, stigma, and misinformation that still surround abortion in many parts of the world, impeding women’s ability to access safe and comprehensive health care.

In partnership with our partners around the world, IWHC seeks to foster a better understanding of women’s experiences of unwanted pregnancy and subsequent abortion. For more information on increasing access to safe abortion worldwide, please click here.



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