My mother died because she refused to have an abortion. There were many factors affecting her life; in my opinion she was brainwashed. I was 12 when she died, but my life is a lot less traumatic than others who live in abject poverty. Read on if you want to be part of the solution.
An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions-four of every ten abortions worldwide-are performed every year by unskilled practitioners or by women themselves. (An unsafe abortion is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one that is performed by an unqualified provider and/or in unsanitary conditions, whether or not it results in complications.) Ninety-eight percent of these unsafe abortions take place in developing countries with highly restrictive laws.
Abortion is legal on broad grounds or without restriction as to reason in almost all developed countries and in some developing countries, such as Cambodia, China, Cuba, Guyana, India, Mongolia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and Vietnam. Important reforms have been recently achieved in Colombia, Ethiopia, Mexico (DF) and Nepal. Experience has shown, however, that these liberalized laws cannot be taken for granted. Anti-choice forces are highly organized almost everywhere, and advocates must be vigilant in preventing setbacks such as those that have occurred recently in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Indonesia from happening elsewhere.
This IWHC information brief highlights four messages about safe abortion and presents a selection of advocacy “tools”- resources with information, evidence and ideas for strategic action that can be accessed online. Advocates at every level-local communities, state and national levels, and international forums-must convince policy makers and health care providers that ensuring every woman’s access to safe services for preventing and terminating unwanted pregnancies is an urgent public health priority and a basic human right.
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