Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2015 Oct;131 Suppl 1:S56-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.03.018.

Evidence supporting broader access to safe legal abortion

Faúndes A and Shah IH

Abstract: Unsafe abortion continues to be a major cause of maternal death; it accounts for 14.5% of all maternal deaths globally and almost all of these deaths occur in countries with restrictive abortion laws. A strong body of accumulated evidence shows that the simple means to drastically reduce unsafe abortion-related maternal deaths and morbidity is to make abortion legal and institutional termination of pregnancy broadly accessible. Despite this evidence, abortion is denied even when the legal condition for abortion is met. The present article aims to contribute to a better understanding that one can be in favor of greater access to safe abortion services, while at the same time not be "in favor of abortion," by reviewing the evidence that indicates that criminalization of abortion only increases mortality and morbidity without decreasing the incidence of induced abortion, and that decriminalization rapidly reduces abortion-related mortality and does not increase abortion rates.

Comment: Dr Faundes, one of the pioneers of safe abortion, shows again in this review of the literature that the legalization of abortion does not lead to more abortions. It leads to fewer unsafe abortions, fewer deaths and strongly reduces morbidity. (HMV)