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Postabortion Care

The Global Need for Postabortion Care

Each year, millions of women in developing countries suffer serious infection, chronic pain and infertility due to complications after miscarriages or unsafe abortions; an estimated 80,000 of these women die, and many others are left with permanently compromised health. Mortality is highest in Africa, where the estimated risk of death from unsafe abortion is 1 in 150 (as opposed to 1 in 3,700 in developed countries). In some countries—Kenya and Uganda, for example—hospital-based studies find that more than one-third of all maternal deaths result from postabortion complications. Unsafe abortion is estimated to cause one-quarter of all maternal deaths in Latin America and account for 12% of maternal deaths in Asia, where more than 9 million unsafe abortions occur annually. The number of reported deaths worldwide would be dramatically higher if it included the legions of women and adolescent girls who never make it to a hospital, who die at home far from hospital care. Making matters worse, each maternal death affects the well-being of a family and community, often compromising the health of now motherless young children.