The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 20 million unsafe abortions take place each year, the majority of which occur in developing regions. Lack of access to safe abortion is a leading cause of maternal death – every year, approximately 67,000 women die from unsafe abortion and an additional five million suffer long-term injuries or disabilities.
PSI provides a continuum of care and support to women and families, which includes information, products and contraceptive services to help couples prevent unintended pregnancies.
Providing safe abortion to women and couples who face an unintended pregnancy will reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. In some countries where abortion is broadly legal yet unsafe practices continue, PSI works to expand access to the WHO-approved medical abortion regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol. PSI distributes these drugs and trains providers on the correct and safe usage of medical abortion.
PSI also believes that women who have decided to have an abortion in legally restricted settings should not face disability or death as a result. In countries where abortion is restricted and women often resort to unsafe practices, PSI supports the provision of post-abortion care and works to expand access to high-quality, affordable misoprostol for the treatment of incomplete abortion. In addition, PSI works toward educating policy makers and stakeholders about the serious consequences of unsafe abortion.
Lastly, as part of its approach to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health services and prevent future unwanted pregnancies, PSI builds capacity of its network or providers to offer post-abortion contraceptive counseling and services.
- Abortion care: We train providers in offering safe abortion services that meet local legal requirements and support countries to ensure that all WHO-recommended methods of abortion are in national protocols and guidelines. These include:
- Post-abortion care: We ensure providers have the skills and supplies necessary to provide life-saving post-abortion care in cases of incomplete abortion or miscarriage.
- Post-abortion contraception counseling and services: 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 is medically advised.
- Barrier and Triggers to Early Detection of Pregnancy Among Women of Reproductive Age (20-34 Years) in Three States of North India
In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 permits medical abortion up to seven weeks (49 days) from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP). Therefore, timely detection of pregnancy is essential for ensuring that a woman has enough time to make decisions regarding the pregnancy, such as registering for antenatal care or terminating the pregnancy through medical or surgical abortion. The Women’s Health Project (Pehel), aims to prevent unintended pregnancies by increasing women’s access to both voluntary contraceptive services and safe and legal termination of pregnancy through medical abortion. PSI/India designed an intervention to educate women about early detection of pregnancy (EDP). As part of that intervention, a qualitative study was conducted to understand women’s perspectives about EDP.
- Improving Provider Behavior Change Communication and IPC: Best Practices from the Women’s Health Project
This brief describes the challenges faced, strategies developed, and lessons learned by the Women's Health Project. It also proposes a set of best practices for improving productivity of interpersonal communications (IPC) agents and increasing providers' skills and motivation.
- Expanding Access to Critical HIV and Reproductive Health Services to Low Literacy Youth in Liberia
Following a lengthy civil war and in a context of pervasive poverty, Liberian youth face major challenges in making healthy decisions. Lack of education is a significant factor in determining HIV protective behaviors and family planning (FP) use and intention. HealthyActions, a collaboration between PSI Liberia and EDC’s Advancing Youth Project (AYP), is funded by USAID and launched in October 2012. This presentation discusses lessons learned around the topic of expanding access to reproductive health services to low literacy youth in Liberia.
- Awareness and Accessibility of Medication Abortions among Women in India
Although the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act has been under implementation since 1972, unsafe abortions still account for 9% of maternal deaths in India. Medication abortion (MA) is a safe and effective means of early pregnancy termination that provides an alternative to a surgical abortion procedure.