The last post I wrote reminded me of another issue in area of international reproductive health. Safety of abortion procedures. It is clear that when abortion is made illegal, or at least severely restricted, abortion procedures become more unsafe. We know this was true in the US during the pre-Roe days, and it can be seen now in other countries. I found some interesting statistics on the Guttmacher website. *Taken directly from the website.*
Worldwide, 48% of all induced abortions are unsafe. However, in developed regions, nearly all abortions (92%) are safe, whereas in developing countries, more than half (55%) are unsafe.
More than 95% of abortions in Africa and Latin America are performed under unsafe circumstances, as are about 60% of abortions in Asia (excluding Eastern Asia).
(“Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide.” Guttmacher Institute. October 2008. Web. 08 July 2009. < http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html>.)
I remember reading an article about the danger of ectopic pregnancies in South America – that I now cannot find. I did find this one, which is similar, http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2006/11/26/nicaragua_abortion_ban_called_a_threat_to_lives/. Here is the third paragraph from this article.
In El Salvador, women who develop ectopic pregnancies -- when a fertilized egg gets stuck in a fallopian tube, giving it no chance of survival -- are kept under guard in a hospital. A prosecutor must certify that the embryo has died or the woman's tube has ruptured before doctors can intervene.
The article I wished I could put on here also stated that many doctors in these countries ,where abortion is banned and doctors are prosecuted, are so afraid of going to jail that some won’t end an ectopic pregnancy. How insane is that? Not only do women have to carry unwanted pregnancies, but some of them are forced to die from a pregnancy growing outside of the uterus – one that CANNOT be carried to term. SHE WILL DIE. Do they care? No. The religious talks an awful lot about the life of the fetus but doesn’t seem to care much about the life of the woman.
Now let’s look at the safety of abortions performed in the US. *taken directly from the Guttmacher Institute website*
The risk of abortion complications is minimal: Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization.
Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.
(“Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States.” Guttmacher Institute. July 2008. Web. 08 July 2009. < http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html>.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where all women could access safe abortion care? Let’s all see what we can do to make this a reality.