Hesperian Health Guides
Preventing Unsafe Abortion
Family planning education can prevent the need for abortion.
Here are some things any woman or group of women can do in a community to help prevent illness and death from abortion:
- Educate men, women, and the community about how family planning can help prevent the need for abortion. Get training to provide family planning services to women in your community.
- Educate women and girls in your community about the dangers of unsafe abortion.
- Visit the people in your community who do abortions to make sure they are doing them safely.
- Learn about the complications of abortion and what to do for them. Find out where are the safe places to take a woman in your community for emergency treatment of complications.
- Find out who could transport a woman who needs emergency care. If there is no emergency medical transport, is there someone in the community with a car or truck? Store extra containers of fuel prevent the need for abortion. (gas or petrol) for emergencies.
- Keep some lifesaving medicines in a village pharmacy or clinic to treat emergency abortion problems.
If you are a health worker, here are some more suggestions:
Encourage women who are sick to seek help after an abortion, not to hide from it.
- Keep on hand the medicines needed for medical abortions.
- Try to get trained to do MVA, for women who need abortions or need help after unsafe abortions. Perhaps someone can train health workers at your local hospital. Do not do MVA unless you have been trained and have the instruments to do it safely.
- Organize health workers in your community to talk with health authorities about the risks of unsafe abortion. Even where abortion is not legal, treatment for abortion complications should be available to save women’s lives.