FSRH and RCOG publish key messages on safe abortion

Posted 1 March 2021

Date: 01 Mar 2021

Type: FSRH News and Information

FSRH and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have published a new document setting out key messages and positions regarding safe abortion care.

Unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide, with an estimated 25 million unsafe abortions being performed each year. However, abortion related deaths are largely preventable by providing access to contraception, safe abortion care, and timely post-abortion care.

The RCOG and FSRH are committed to advocating for safe abortion care globally for everyone who needs it. We have produced four key messages to promote safe abortion practices:

1. Abortion care is healthcare
Safe abortions are an essential part of sexual and reproductive health; they should be an integrated component of sexual and reproductive healthcare and be available as part of routine health services.

2. The role of healthcare professionals in providing safe abortion care
Healthcare professionals can be influential advocates to improve access to safe abortion around the world. In countries where abortion is lawful, healthcare professionals have a duty of care to women, girls and pregnant people who are seeking an abortion and must not allow their personal beliefs to delay access to abortion care.

3. Increasing access to safe abortion
There are a range of steps that all governments and national health services can and should take to expand safe abortion access in their countries. As a form of healthcare, abortion should never be subject to criminal sanctions and should not be regulated by criminal law. Governments have a responsibility to ensure adequate provision of medicine, supplies and equipment, must put in place infrastructure and ensure adequate financing to allow for safe abortion and post-abortion provisions.

4. Preventing unintended pregnancies reduces unsafe abortion
Unplanned pregnancies can be reduced by ensuring that everyone, including men and boys, are educated and equipped to avoid them. This can be achieved by ensuring they have access to a choice of contraception, including condoms, long-acting reversible contraceptives and emergency contraception, as well as comprehensive sexuality education.

To read the full document, click here.