Unsafe Abortions in a Developing Country: Has Liberalisation of Laws on Abortions Made a Difference?
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Unsafe abortion is still a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in Africa. To assess whether the introduction of legal abortions in South Africa has decreased admissions resulting from mid-trimester abortions, a prospective study of abortion cases admitted to the King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, South Africa, over a four-month period was carried out. Two hundred and four women were admitted with incomplete abortion; 49% of which were spontaneous, 17% certainly induced, 10% probably induced, 18% possibly induced and 4.3% legally induced. A change in the laws on termination of pregnancy (TOP) has resulted in a decrease in cases of incomplete abortion being admitted to the gynaecological wards. However, illegal TOPs are still prevalent for a variety of reasons. There is need to place more emphasis on the delivery of efficient contraceptive services and reproductive health education for women.
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