Safe abortion is a critical component of ensuring women have access to comprehensive reproductive health services that meet their needs and life circumstances. In many countries, safe abortion is not widely available due to: laws that restrict, or even outlaw, a woman’s ability to end a pregnancy; the high cost of abortion care and services; or social barriers that women face in their communities. In these countries, post-abortion care is an important intervention to decrease abortion-related maternal mortality and morbidity.
When women cannot access safe abortion, they often turn to unskilled providers or attempt self-inflicted abortions, increasing the risk of an incomplete abortion. Left untreated, an incomplete abortion can lead to the woman’s death or disability. In some developing countries, as much as 50% of obstetric complications and maternal hospital care expenditures are due to complications from unsafe abortion.
Post-abortion care (PAC) is treatment given to a woman who presents at a health center or hospital with complications, usually bleeding or infection, due to an incomplete abortion or miscarriage. Medical care, including medication or surgery, is given to the woman to evacuate the uterus and to save her life.
We implement comprehensive post-abortion care programs in nearly 20 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Comprehensive post-abortion care includes partnerships with communities and service providers, counseling, contraceptive and family planning services, and services and links to reproductive and other health services, in addition to life-saving treatment of incomplete abortion and associated complications.
Our programs focus on:
- Securing supplies of needed equipment and drugs and training providers to provide high-quality and comprehensive PAC services to women.
- Conducting interpersonal communications with women of reproductive age to educate them about the dangers of unsafe abortion, the importance of contraception and where they can go to access post-abortion care.
- Creating advocacy campaigns targeting key opinion leaders to educate them about the consequences of unsafe abortion and the importance of post-abortion care, which is legal under all circumstances.
- Misoprostol for post-abortion care: We distribute misoprostol and train providers to provide life-saving post-abortion care along with it.
- Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA): We procure manual vacuum aspiration equipment and train providers to provide life-saving post-abortion care along with it.
- Post PAC contraception: We ensure that women are fully informed of their contraceptive options post abortion and are able to get the method they want immediately or as soon as they are medically eligible.