Safe Abortion

The health, social, and economic consequences of unsafe abortion: Papers presented at an IUSSP Seminar, Mexico, 2010

Susheela Singh
Sandra G. García
Agnès Guillaume
Friday Okonofua
Ndola Prata

Unsafe abortion continues to be an important factor affecting women’s reproductive lives and survival in the developing world, where 98% of all unsafe abortions occur. It has not declined in recent years, continuing at an annual rate of 16 per 1000 women of reproductive age in the developing world according to updated information for 2008. Laws that are highly restrictive help to explain the prevalence of unsafe abortion; however, even in some countries where the law permits abortion under broad indications, difficulties in accessing legal and safe services mean that high proportions of...

Comprehensive Abortion Care Pilot Project in Tigray, Ethiopia

UC Berkeley Bixby Center

VSI, the Tigray Regional Health Bureau and the Bixby Center at UC Berkeley conducted a pilot program assessing the feasibility of providing comprehensive abortion care at all levels of the health care system in Tigray, Ethiopia, including by Health Extension Workers.

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Rwanda PAC Women’s Educational Booklet


Information, education and communication (IEC) campaign sample from a postabortion care (PAC) operations research project in Rwanda using the local Kinyarwanda language.

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Misoprostol Regimens Pocket Reference for Clinicians: Rwanda


A pocket reference for clinicians, this Misoprostol Regimens Pocket Guide from Rwanda details the dosage and route recommendations for the administraiton of misoprostol use in obstetrics and gynecology.

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Expanding Access to Postabortion Care in Zimbabwe through Integration of Misoprostol


This brief summarizes the final results from a collaborative postabortion care (PAC) operations research led by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care and VSI. The results demonstrate that misoprostol, a safe and effective treatment option for incomplete abortion and miscarriage, brings PAC services closer to women in need at all levels of the health system.

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Zimbabwe PAC Brochure: “Using misoprostol tablets to treat incomplete abortion”


Information, education and communication (IEC) campaign sample from a postabortion care (PAC) operations research project in Zimbabwe.

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Expanding Access to Postabortion Care Services in Angola with the Introduction of Misoprostol


The Angola Ministry of Health, in collaboration with VSI, conducted a demonstration project aimed at addressing maternal deaths due to complications from unsafe abortion. This research brief demonstrates that misoprostol is a safe, effective and feasible treatment method for incomplete abortion at all levels of the health system, including those facilities that do not have the capacity for manual vacuum aspiration or other surgical interventions.

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Establishing a Referral System for Safe and Legal Abortion Care: A Pilot Project on the Thailand-Burma Border

Meredith Walsh
Angel M. Foster
Grady Arnott
Margaret Hobstetter
Htin Zaw
Cynthia Maung
Cari Sietstra

Women from Burma living in Thailand are generally unable to access safe abortion care—even for cases that clearly fall within the legal exceptions—because of a lack of knowledge of the Thai medical and legal systems, restrictions on travel and movement, the costs associated with the procedure, a dearth of culturally and linguistically compatible providers, and stigma. As a consequence, women from Burma on both sides of the border suffer significant reproductive health morbidities as a result of unsafe abortion. This context motivated the pilot project described in this report. We...

Do perceived contraception attitudes influence abortion stigma? Evidence from Luanda, Angola

Ndola Prata
Madeline Blodgett
Karen Weidert
Benjamin Nieto-Andrade

Abortion stigma is influenced by a variety of factors. Previous research has documented a range of contributors to stigma, but the influence of perceived social norms about contraception has not been significantly investigated. This study assesses the influence of perceived social norms about contraception on abortion stigma among women in Luanda, Angola. This analysis uses data from the 2012 Angolan Community Family Planning Survey. Researchers employed multi-stage random sampling to collect demographic, social, and reproductive information from a representative sample of Luandan...

Medical society engagement in contentious policy reform: the Ethiopian Society for Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG) and Ethiopia’s 2005 reform of its Penal Code on Abortion

Sarah Jane Holcombe

Globally, but particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, health professionals have significant influence in shaping national health policy, including in the often sensitive field of reproductive health. Obstetrician-gynecologists have perhaps the most clout related to reproductive health policy, given their high levels of training, social standing and male gender. However, their ob-gyn professional societies have rarely supported abortion law reform, despite its promise for reducing women’s mortality and morbidity. This study of the contributions of Ethiopia’s ob-gyn society yields several...