Abortion is a Public Health Problem, says Obstetrics Expert

The coordinator of the Working Group on Prevention of Unsafe Abortion in the International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (FIGO), Aníbal Faundes, said today that “induced abortion is a public health problem, due to its high frequency and consequences for women’s health”, during a panel on safe motherhood and universal access to health, held during the 51st Directing Council meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Faundes spoke on prevention of unsafe abortion and its consequences in Latin America and the Caribbean. He noted that mortality from abortions has declined from 30 per 100,000 in 1990 to 10 per 100,000 in 2008. Nevertheless, “we have one of the highest rates of unsafe abortions in the world.”

Faundes compared the situation in the Americas with that of Europe, where abortion is legal and accessible. “It has not worked to criminalize abortion,” he said, adding that there are various levels of intervention to prevent abortions. These include preventing unwanted pregnancies, facilitating legal abortions under safe conditions, and educating women to prevent future abortions.

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