Unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, especially in adolescent girls, may result in the woman resorting to an induced abortion (deliberate termination of the pregnancy). Under certain conditions in some countries, a legal abortion may be induced safely in a health facility by trained health professionals. This procedure will not usually endanger a woman's future pregnancies. The legal position in Ethiopia and the allowable methods of safe abortion are covered in Section 20.2.4 of this study session.
An unsafe abortion is a termination induced by the woman herself or by an unskilled person in an unhygienic environment (Figure 20.1).
A woman who was sick, injured or bled heavily after an abortion may have scars in her uterus that could cause problems for later pregnancies. Death from unsafe abortion is one of leading causes of mortality and morbidity globally and especially in developing countries. In Ethiopia it is an important cause of maternal death and needs to be addressed to reduce the high maternal mortality in the country.
Do you recall the Ethiopian maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from Study Session 1?
The 2005 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey reported that 673 women died in every 100,000 live births. That is at least 22,000 women dying from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth every year.