Sexual and reproductive health

Preventing unsafe abortion


Magnitude of the problem

  • 21.6 million women experience an unsafe abortion worldwide each year; 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries
  • 47 000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year.
  • Deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13% of all maternal deaths.

Estimated annual number of unsafe abortions per 1000 women aged 15–44 years, by subregions, 2008

World map showing the estimated annual number of unsafe abortion per 1000 women aged 15–44 years

Source: Unsafe abortion: global and regional estimates of incidence of unsafe abortion and associated mortality in 2008.

Related publication

Work in the area of prevention of unsafe abortion is done exclusively within the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP).