WHO Releases Guidance on Safe Abortion

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released an update of the groundbreaking publication, Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems. Since the first publication of the guidance in 2003, updated data has emerged, leading to new methods, approaches and recommendations relating to safe abortion. 

The guidance includes four main topics:
•    The latest estimates on unsafe abortion worldwide and the public health, economic and human rights rationale for urgently addressing unsafe abortion;
•    Clinical recommendations for care before, during and after abortion based on recent systematic reviews of the medical literature;
•    New recommendations for service delivery and scaling up services;
•    Application of a human rights framework for policymaking and legislation related to abortion.

The guidance provides critical, life-saving information and advocacy pathways for legislators, civil society representatives and medical providers. Approximately 22 million unsafe abortions occur each year, leading to the death of about 47,000 women and the injury or disability of an additional five million. 98% of the world’s unsafe abortions occur in the developing world. According to the guidelines, new estimates show that legal restrictions on abortion do not prevent abortions from occurring; however, they do prevent women from accessing safe services from trained health providers. 

To read the guidance, click here.

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