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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2010 Jul;110 Suppl:S13-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2010.04.003. Epub 2010 May 7.

Critical gaps in universal access to reproductive health: contraception and prevention of unsafe abortion.

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International Planned Parenthood Federation, Central Office, London, UK.


Unsafe abortion accounts for a significant proportion of maternal deaths, yet it is often forgotten in discussions around reducing maternal mortality. Prevention of unsafe abortion starts with prevention of unwanted pregnancies, most effectively through contraception. When unwanted pregnancies occur, provision of safe, legal abortion services can further prevent unsafe abortions. If complications arise from unsafe abortion, emergency treatment must be available. Recommendations made on this issue during the Precongress Workshop held prior to the 2009 FIGO World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, were part of a report that was adopted by the FIGO General Assembly. These recommendations address prevention of unsafe abortion and its consequences and support access to safe abortion care to the full extent allowed by national laws, along with 6 strategies for implementation, including integration of family planning into other reproductive health services, adequate training for providers, task-sharing with mid-level providers, and using evidence to discuss this issue with key stakeholders.

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