Soviet poster circa 1925, promoting hospital abortions. Title translation: "Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maimthe woman, they also often lead to death."
Main article: Unsafe abortion
Women seeking to terminate their pregnancies sometimes resort to unsafe methods, particularly whereand when access to legal abortion is restricted. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an unsafe abortion as being "a procedure ... carried out by persons lacking thenecessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both." Unsafe abortions are sometimes known colloquially as "back-alley"abortions. They may be performed by the woman herself, another person without medical training, or a professional health provider operating in sub-standard conditions. Unsafeabortion remains a public health concern due to the higher incidence and severity of its associated complications, such as incomplete abortion, sepsis, hemorrhage, and damage tointernal organs. It is estimated that 20 million unsafe abortions occur around the world annually and that 70,000 of these result in the woman's death. Complications ofunsafe abortion are said to account, globally, for approximately 13% of all maternal mortalities, with regional estimates including 12% in Asia, 25% in Latin America, and 13%in sub-Saharan Africa Although the global rate of abortion declined from 45.6 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003, unsafe procedures still accounted for 48% of allabortions performed in 2003. Health education, access to family planning, and improvements in health care during and after abortion have been proposed to address this phenomenon.
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