Unsafe Abortions Defined

Women, Pregnant, Unsafe Abortions, Harm, Death, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice

One of the arguments made by pro-choice advocates is that making abortion illegal does not reduce abortions, but merely makes them less safe.

While this argument has been debunked elsewhere, here we will take a look at what exactly an unsafe abortion is.

According to the World Health Organization, an unsafe abortion is one that is performed by someone lacking sufficient skills and/or a suitable environment in which to carry out an abortion procedure [1].

Using this definition, it can be said that more than 95% of abortions in Africa and Latin America are performed under unsafe circumstances, as are about 60% of abortions in Asia (excluding Eastern Asia) [2].

At first glance, the definition of unsafe abortions sounds pretty good. If the person performing the abortion is poorly trained and/or operating in a bad environment, then it’s not a safe procedure.

So, this must mean that with a good doctor and a good environment, abortions will be safe, right?

Actually, the reality is far different.

It is true that procedures that meet the criteria for being “unsafe” are much more likely to result in immediate harm to women. However, using the term “unsafe” to refer to these abortions implies that abortions with good doctors and a good environment are “safe.”

Big problem here.

Not only does abortion always result in the death of an innocent, young life, but it has also been found to lead a long list of physical and psychological problems. These include an increased risk for breast cancer, anxiety disorders, and depression, among others [3].

The bottom line is that there is no such thing as a safe abortion.



[1] Grimes, David A., Benson, Janie., Singh, Susheela., Romero, Mariana., Ganatra, Bela., Okonofua, Friday E., and Shah, Iqbal H. (2006). “Unsafe Abortion: The Preventable Pandemic*.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Oct 2006. Web. 25 Jun 2011. www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/general/lancet_4.pdf

[2] Sedgh G, Henshaw S, Singh S, Åhman E, Shah IH. (2007). Induced Abortion: Rates and Trends Worldwide. Lancet 2007; 370: 1338–45. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)61575-X/abstract

[3] Elliot Institute. (1999). “Abortion as a Public Health Issue.” Elliot Institute, 1999. Web. 25 Jun 2011. http://afterabortion.org/1999/abortion-complications/


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