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RCOG/FSRH statement on access to safe and legal abortion care worldwide

28 September 2018

Today marks International Safe Abortion Day.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) strongly support universal access to safe, legal, high quality and compassionate abortion care for women and girls around the world.

Globally, it is estimated that 25 million of all abortions are unsafe. Around 5-13% of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion and around 7 million women are admitted to hospitals as a result of unsafe abortions in developing countries.

Unsafe abortions can be prevented by ensuring that women and girls are empowered to avoid unplanned pregnancies. This can be achieved by ensuring they have access to comprehensive relationships and sex education, high quality family planning and a choice of all available and effective contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives and emergency contraception. Crucially women and girls must also have access to safe, legal, timely and compassionate abortion and post-abortion care. Women and girls must be able to access abortion care without fear of criminal sanctions, stigma and harassment.

Access to these basic reproductive health care services upholds basic human rights and dignity, and is critical to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.

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