Fatal abortion in sub-Saharan Africa: ‘She dilated my cervix with a cassava root and the fetus fell out’

A study by Doctors Without Borders and others warns of the proliferation of complications suffered by women following a terminated pregnancy in conflict-affected regions

SEP 11, 2023

“I arrived at a hospital in Bangui and a 25-year-old woman had just died in my colleagues’ arms from complications following an abortion,” says Estelle Pasquier, a researcher with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). “This can happen several times a month, but it is a preventable death with the right measures. The doctors there have their hands tied by legal and social impediments, but the vast majority consider that the healthcare in these circumstances is a right for all women because they see the damage wreaked on a daily basis when that right is ignored.” What Pasquier is describing prompted a pioneering study, of which she is co-author, on the complications suffered by women after abortion in particularly volatile regions of sub-Saharan Africa, a corner of the world where 70% of deaths related in some way to maternity occur.

Continued: https://english.elpais.com/international/2023-09-11/fatal-abortion-in-sub-saharan-africa-she-dilated-my-cervix-with-a-cassava-root-and-the-fetus-fell-out.html

Abortion: Women more at risk of death in fragile and conflict-affected settings

5 September 2023
Médecins Sans Frontières

Complications following unsafe abortions are up to seven times more severe in fragile or conflict-affected settings: these are the findings of one of the very first studies on the subject, carried out in two referral hospitals in Bangui in the Central African Republic and Jigawa State in northern Nigeria. Behind the statistics, real stories of real women – and a universal vulnerability.

“I was distraught. I had drunk the traditional medicine. Before that, someone had shown me how to insert a piece of iron into my vagina... It was a piece of iron like this [she shows the interviewer the size],” says Rasha*, a 32-year-old woman admitted to Bangui referral hospital with potentially life-threatening abortion-related complications.

Continued: https://www.msf.org/abortion-women-more-risk-death-fragile-and-conflict-affected-settings

Are Abortion Pills Safe? Here’s the Evidence.

By Amy Schoenfeld Walker, Jonathan Corum, Malika Khurana and Ashley Wu
April 1, 2023

More than 100 scientific studies, spanning continents and decades, have examined the effectiveness and safety of mifepristone and misoprostol, the abortion pills that are commonly used in the United States. All conclude that the pills are a safe method for terminating a pregnancy.

In consultation with medical researchers, The New York Times reviewed these 101 studies, which together covered more than 124,000 abortions in the first trimester.

Unlocked: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/04/01/health/abortion-pill-safety.html

Poor Access to Safe Abortions Is Killing South Asian Women

Even in countries where abortion is legal, access to safe abortions remains challenging

By Bansari Kamdar
June 15, 2021

One in every four maternal deaths around the world happens in South Asia. Lack of access to safe and legal abortions and contraceptives is a leading reason for the region’s high maternal mortality rate. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than half the abortions in South and Central Asia were safe.

In Bhutan, which has a 1.4 percent case fatality rate, one of the main reasons for maternal mortality is abortion complications. Section 146 of Bhutan’s Penal Code legalizes abortion only if it is to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy resulted from incest and rape or the mother is not of sound mental condition. Denied access to safe abortion, many Bhutanese women cross the border to neighboring India, where abortion, while legal on most grounds, remains dangerous.

Continued: https://thediplomat.com/2021/06/poor-access-to-safe-abortions-is-killing-south-asian-women/

Kenya – Unsafe abortion: The problem nobody wants to talk about

Unsafe abortion: The problem nobody wants to
talk about

August 31st 2020

The images still sneak up to her when she least expects. They come unannounced,
and they torture her. Eve never imagined that the process of trying to get rid
of an unplanned baby could leave her with physical and emotional scars that
have refused to go away.

When she speaks of abortion, she whispers. The shame she feels lingers in every
word she utters.

“I get bad dreams and I am haunted by the
act,” she says.

Continued: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/the-standard-insider/article/2001384569/unsafe-abortion-the-problem-nobody-wants-to-talk-about

USA – Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Want the State to Know Everything About Your Abortion

Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Want the State to Know Everything About Your Abortion
Dozens of states require abortion providers to submit data that's not necessary for public health purposes. Experts say the requirements intimidate patients and providers, and could even be used to criminalize abortion.

by Garnet Henderson
Oct 10 2019

Brent Blue has been practicing medicine in Jackson, Wyoming, for 38 years. At his family medicine and urgent care practice, he also provides abortions. As of July 1, each time he performs an abortion he must submit a report to the state including information about the patient’s age, race, county of residence, and previous pregnancies, including the patient’s number of past abortions, miscarriages, births, and number of children living or dead. It also requires details of the termination, including the type of procedure used, complications, and gestational age of the fetus—including fetal weight and length.

Continued: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwe59n/abortion-reporting-laws-lawmakers-want-the-state-to-know-everything-about-your-abortion

Explained: Abortion Rights in Mexico and Latin America

Explained: Abortion Rights in Mexico and Latin America
Here are some key facts and figures for specific countries

By Amy Guthrie
Published Sep 29, 2019

Mexican women on Saturday marched for abortion rights, highlighting increased efforts across Latin America to lift some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws.

Efforts to legalize abortion have emerged in the region as some societies become more liberal and the Roman Catholic Church loses sway amid clerical sex abuse cases. Mexico City, along with Cuba and Uruguay, are the only places in the region where women can undergo abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the circumstances.

Continued: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Explained-Abortion-Rights-Mexico-Latin-America-561721361.html

UK – What Happens When an Abortion Doesn’t Fully Work

What Happens When an Abortion Doesn't Fully Work
I had an incomplete abortion last year. This is what I wish I'd known about them.

by Rose Stokes
Aug 15 2019

Last year, I had an abortion. My reasons for doing so are deeply personal, painful, and nobody’s business but mine. Once I'd decided to terminate the pregnancy, a woman from British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) asked me over the phone if I wanted a medical abortion—which was still possible at my stage of pregnancy (nine weeks)—or a surgical one. I had no idea.

“What’s the difference?” I asked.

“Well, one you take a pill and the other is more invasive."

Continued: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7x5pqz/what-is-incomplete-failed-abortion

Kenya – Unsafe abortion complications eat into health budget

Unsafe abortion complications eat into health budget
Money spent on treating these complications could have been used to provide family planning services

by Daniel Otieno, Star Blogs
18 June 2019

Treatment of complications of unsafe abortion consumes a disproportionate amount of health systems resources in Kenya including staff time and acquisition of medical supplies.

Last year, severe complications from unsafe abortion accounted for 54 per cent of the total health costs. Post-abortion care also consumes a significant amount of resources that would otherwise be spent on other areas of health including reproductive, maternal and child health.

Continued: https://www.the-star.co.ke/opinion/star-blogs/2019-06-18-unsafe-abortion-complications-eat-into-health-budget/

Nigeria – Chemist remanded for allegedly performing abortion

Chemist remanded for allegedly performing abortion

Published March 4, 2019

An Ado-Ekiti Magistrates’ Court on Monday remanded a 40-year-old chemist, Folake Oluwafemi, who allegedly performed an abortion that led to death.

The defendant, whose address was not provided, was charged with manslaughter before Magistrate Omolola Akosile

Continued: https://punchng.com/chemist-remanded-for-allegedly-performing-abortion/