October 2011

Confronting the challenge of unsafe second-trimester abortion

Harris L, Grossman D. Confronting the challenge of unsafe second-trimester abortion. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. October 2011; 115(1):77-9.

Unsafe abortion accounts for approximately 13% of maternal deaths worldwide-roughly 47,000 deaths per year. Most deaths from unsafe abortion occur in low-resource countries. Second-trimester abortion carries a higher risk of morbidity and mortality compared with first-trimester abortion and, although the former comprises the minority of abortion procedures worldwide, it is responsible for the majority of serious complications and death where unsafe abortion is prevalent. Therefore, improving access to safe second-trimester abortion must be a priority in low-income regions of the world if the majority of deaths from unsafe abortion are to be prevented. In the present paper, we consider a variety of barriers to second-trimester care, including healthcare provider training and abortion stigma, which may lead to neglect of unmet need for second-trimester services.