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Unsafe abortion.

Updated on January 2, 2015

Unsafe abortion, an issue of public safety.

Unsafe abortion or abortion illegal is the name for the termination of an unwanted pregnancy. This practice is performed by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking the minimal medical standards.

Unsafe abortion is a major cause of injury and death in women worldwide. It is estimated that each year about 20 million unsafe abortions are performed approximately. 97% of these occur in developing countries. This practice causes some 69,000 deaths of women each year and millions of injuries and serious illnesses.

Of the 4.4 million abortions performed in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008, 95% were deemed unsafe. The abortion with drugs such as misoprostol, obtained in various ways, is increasingly common in countries in these areas and has increased the insecurity of these clandestine procedures. The use of this method is particularly popular in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Women without resources or with other disadvantages, resort to unsafe methods and places or disabled or unsuitable people. Among Guatemalan women who have had abortions, the proportion who use traditional midwives is 3 times higher in rural women than in women who had a better economic situation. According to the World Health Organization, in 2008, 12% of all maternal deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean (1100 in total) were due to unsafe abortions. About one million women in Latin America and the Caribbean are hospitalized annually for treatment of complications from unsafe abortions.

The most used methods.

The methods used for the practice of abortion are very dangerous and can cause death of women, among them include:

  • The rupture of the amniotic sac or matrix with a sharp object. This method can lead to infection (which can result in septicemia) or injury to internal organs, causing death in 90% of cases.
  • The introduction of toxic mixtures, such as chillies and chemicals such as alum, disinfectants, cleaners or herbicides in the body of the woman. These methods can cause toxic shock syndrome or death. The use of herbs to abort is so widespread that in Brimingham, large amounts of products were found. These products are sold in health food stores as abortifacients. The plants act basically as purgatives, causing strong abdominal muscle contractions that expel the fetus.
  • Taking abortifacient drugs. These are counter drugs, drugs obtained through illegal or abortion listed for sale. These drugs cause or may cause miscarriage or cause uterine contractions. Drugs that cause uterine contraction include oxytocin, prostaglandin and ergot alkaloids. The risks include: uterine rupture, abnormal heart rate, hypertension, hypotension, anemia, bronchospasm, pulmonary edema and death.

Incidence of unsafe abortion by continent.

Number of unsafe abortions
Number of unsafe abortions per 100 births
Number of unsafe abortions per 1000 women
Latin America and the Caribbean.
North America
No data
No data
No data


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