International Safe Abortion Day - Doctors of the World

International Safe Abortion Day

Around the world, millions of women in need of an abortion are being forced to resort to backstreet clinics and life-threatening “alternative” methods.

In Burkina Faso, some women drink coffee mixed with antibiotics. In the Gaza Strip, some women breathe in harmful chemicals.

Doctors of the World’s medics see first-hand how women suffer when they can’t access safe and legal abortions. Today on #SafeAbortionDay, we’re calling for every woman to be able to get the medical care she needs. Almost 1 in 2 women live in countries where abortion is banned, restricted or not accessible. This year, US President Donald Trump also cut funding for several charities that provide or counsel women on terminations. Research shows that almost half of all abortions globally are unsafe, including 8 million terminations a year that use highly risky methods such as inserting wires into women’s bodies. It is estimated that unsafe abortions kill 47,000 women a year, and at least 7 million women end up in hospital. Giving women access to family planning services, which include safe abortions, avoids these health risks and also aids in boosting their economic independence.


“If you dare abort, you’ll die!” A nurse told Merlyne (pictured right) when she became pregnant in her late teens. Merlyne lives in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where abortion is illegal in most circumstances. As a result, Merlyne went on to have a baby for whom neither she nor her partner were ready. Merlyne often worries that she and her baby are now an extra financial burden on her parents. Our teams work in Kinshasa to educate adolescent girls like Merlyne about their sexual and reproductive health. We’ve run similar projects for women in Nepal for a decade. In Haiti, we also advocate for abortion to be decriminalized and train health workers to treat abortion-related complications.

Our network also supports the Family Planning 2020 partnership. In July, we committed to ensuring access to family planning services and information for 1 million women and girls in 13 developing countries.