55 million worldwide every year. Of which almost half – 25 and a half million – is not performed safely. They are worrying figures emerging from a report published in the Lancet and coordinated by dell expert World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute in New York, relating to practices of abortions that are performed around the world. 

It is absolutely necessary, in light of the conclusions of the report,” says Bela Ganatra, “to ensure better access to contraceptive methods and safer practices for abortion, especially in the poorest and most disadvantaged countries. Where women and girls do not have the opportunity to access them, there are serious consequences for their health and for the well-being of their families. It should not happen, yet still too many women continue to suffer and die.” For the first time, a more accurate sub-classification of the safety of abortive practices was included in the study, taking into account all the possible side effects and consequences of the interventions.

An important element to underline, to avoid unjustified alarm, is that abortion, if performed in compliance with the guidelines and health standards, is a completely safe practice, with a very low risk of complications.

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The report showed that about 55% of the abortions performed worldwide were conducted safely, “that is by specialised medical personnel and using an appropriate method with respect to the progress of pregnancy”. About a third of abortions, on the other hand, have been classified as “less safe”, i.e. performed by specialised personnel using insecure or obsolete methods, or performed using pharmacological methods (safe) but by non-specialised personnel.

Lastly, 14% of abortions fall into the “unsafe” category, i.e. they were performed by unskilled personnel using dangerous methods such as the introduction of foreign bodies into the woman’s vagina or the use of substances not approved for this purpose. For the latter category, the highest complication rate (including incomplete abortions, bleeding, damage to the vagina, cervix or uterus and infections) and deaths was recorded.