Important information about abortion

Abortion – this is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal/expulsion of the embryo resulting in its death. It’s simply a procedure that interrupts an established pregnancy.

  • ­An abortion is safe when carried out with an approved medical method that is appropriate to the pregnancy duration and when the person carrying out the abortion has the necessary skills set.
  • Young women ought to have access to legal, safe and comprehensive abortion care, including post abortion care as it is essential for the attainment of the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health
  • Unsafe abortion is a procedure for terminating an unintended pregnancy either by individuals lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards or both.
  • Oftentimes, unsafe abortion procedures may involve the insertion of an object/substance i.e. root, twig and traditional concoctions, ingestion of harmful substances and application of external force into the uterus.
  • Globally, 46 million pregnancies are terminated each year and 19 million of these are unsafe abortions.
  • In Africa, 99% of abortions are unsafe and 4 million abortions are carried out yearly, mostly on rural and young women lacking information on the availability of safe abortion care.
  • Complications of unsafe abortions have severity of consequences in the 10-19 years age group in some African countries such as Kenya.

Complications or Health risks of unsafe abortions

a) Haemorrhage (bleeding) – the release of blood from a broken blood vessel, either inside or outside the body.

b) Sepsis – a life threatening complication of an infection involving inflammation throughout the body. This can cause changes that damage multiple internal organs leading ultimately to death.

c) Trauma to the cervix, vagina, uterus and abdominal organs.

d) High fever

e) Long term complications affecting women’s physical and mental health and well-being throughout their course of life.

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